What is Empathy?

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For years and years, people have talked about sympathy and being sympathetic. We all know what that is. Sympathy is generally used interchangeably with empathy. In lay man’s language, sympathy refers to having a feeling towards someone’s sorrow and so does empathy but this is where most of us go wrong.

Sympathy is not empathy. Empathy simply stands for putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and understanding what they are going through and how they must be feeling.

In a fast moving world of technological advancement and urbanization, people have forgotten what empathy is and more importantly, to use their feeling of empathy towards others. Countries are developing and changing to become individualistic societies, forgetting the outcomes of their ignorant behaviors.

People suffering from not just physical illnesses but also with mental and emotional illnesses require someone to listen to them and someone who puts the effort in understanding them; someone who acts a curative person. For example, people with depression have a lot of hidden feelings inside them and as per Freud these feelings are there in the unconscious and subconscious parts of the mind and can be brought out by talking, if depression patients find someone who is not just listening to them but also understanding what they must be going through, they might just pour a bit of their heart out which might actually help. Not just in curing some illnesses, empathy also acts a trait of a nice friend or a trustworthy person.

How to be more empathetic? Just follow the below mentioned steps!
-Be sensitive towards other people’s issues
-Listen without judgement
-Try to imagine the other person’s pain or situation
-Be supportive and encouraging
-Put aside your viewpoint, and try to see things from the other person’s point of view
-Validate the other person’s perspective
-Examine your attitude
-Ask what the other person would do

Being empathetic not only helps others but you as well; it also helps build stronger interpersonal and intra-personal relationships. Empathetic people are always ready to listen and be there for people and thus, have a stronger relationship than those who are not empathetic. More than anything else, just be there for people who need you.

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