Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling and show compassion towards them. It is the ability to imagine what someone else’s life is like, to stand in their shoes and feel what they feel, from their point of view. When we have genuine empathy, it facilitates authentic, deep human connection like nothing else can.
Just think about Princess Diana’s charity work with underprivileged children. You could see and feel her empathy for those children and a whole nation fell at her feet as they never had for other royals. She allowed herself to feel others’ pain and responded to them not just with exchanges of flowers, but with hugs, time, empathy and true connection. This made her magnetic to the British people at the time. We could feel her authenticity and warmth.
Generally, empathy is learnt in childhood, but we CAN develop it in adulthood. I will follow up with some ideas on how to do this in upcoming posts.
Much love, Jen