The Concept of Empathy

08 January 2015

Everybody knows what empathy is, right? If not, let me quickly just define it for you... Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of someone else. It's such a simple concept, it something we can all understand, yet for some reason, we, as humans, cannot seem to get it.

Everyday as we go through our life, we are mainly just thinking about ourselves. It's not bad, and I'm not calling anybody out, it's just human nature. That's just the way we were made. We live our lives thinking about how to get through our hardships and our problems. We can sit in a room full of people, listen to them talk, and still only be thinking about our problems. We can sit there for hours thinking about what is wrong with our lives, we can tell our best friends all about what's going on, and we expect them to just drop everything and be able to understand what we are going through. Yet, why can we not do the same for them? The reason is - it's simply just too hard for us to accept that somebody else's problems just might be greater than ours. 

Sure, humans are made to be sympathetic and empathetic, but humans are also made to be selfish and wild. We are made to look out for ourselves, and that's just the way it is. How do we fix this? How do make it so that empathy prevails? Before you can feel empathetic for somebody I believe (now, this is just my opinion) that you have to truly be able to listen to them and care about what they are saying. You have to be ready to 100% forget about whatever you are dealing with. It's not something that you can just do. That's the difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is feeling for someone, and empathy is feeling with someone. 

I'm not a genius on the subject, and I definitely don't know the science behind empathy and sympathy at all... This post was just inspired by something one of my professors said in class, and I thought it was interesting. 

What do you guys think?

Leave a Comment

  1. Great post. Everyone should read this.

  2. This is such wonderful insight! Thank you.

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  4. this is a great point and something that is hard for me not because I think of myself but because in some situations my sympathy outweighs my empathy and I take on the struggle that others go through.

  5. Awesome post and wonderful thoughts :) I definitely agree!

  6. Great post and it's totally true!