Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions. It can also be the ability to imagine what other people might be thinking or feeling. Empathy can also mean trying to understand or being sensitive to the actions, feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others. A writer could also show empathy towards a particular topic or subject by looking through other writers’ views. In this article, we will be looking at the common signs and examples of empathy in relationships
Though empathy is a lot more about actions than words, once you put yourself in other people’s shoes, then it will be easy to understand how they feel.
Examples of Empathy
Here are the various examples or ways empathy can be expressed or shown.
#1. Share in their pains:
When you connect with someone else’s pains or struggles, it helps them feel supported. It shows you understand or you feel their pains.
#2. Share how you feel:
Sometimes it’s very nice to let them know you are speechless and you really don’t know what to say, that you trying to bring yourself into the same experience and you can probably feel it.
#3. Show interest:
The best way to connect with someone is not by talking but by listening to what they have to say. Shows you care by asking them questions and showing interest too.
#4. Show gratitude that the person opens up to you:
Many people find it very hard to open up about their pains, so it means he trusts you and believes in you. And it’s your honor to respond with care.
Signs of Empathy
There are common signs of empathy that show a person tends to be an empath, and we shall be listing some of them below.
1. People often telling you about their problems is a sign as well.
2. You are good at listening to what others have to say or tell.
3. If you are good at picking up on how other people are feeling, that’s also a sign.
4. Other signs of empathy include when others come to you for advice.
5. You often think about other people’s problems.
6. If you feel overwhelmed by tragic events.
7. If you care deeply about other people they are also a sign of empathy.
8. Try to help others who are suffering or going through pain.
Having a great deal of these signs of empathy makes you more concerned for the well-being and happiness of others. However, you can sometimes get overwhelmed, and burn out from always thinking about other people’s emotions.
Types of Empathy
So, let take a look at the types of empathy. According to my research, we have three types of empathy which will be list below.
#1. Cognitive empathy:
This is trying to understand someone else view or perspectives.
#2. Emotional empathy:
This is trying to physically understand another feeling about something.
#3. Empathic concern:
This is the ability to sense or know what someone else needs from you.
Why is Empathy Important?
Empathy is important because it helps us understand how other people are feeling so we can appropriately respond to the situation. It is mostly associated with social behavior and also research shows that great empathy leads to more helping behaviors. It can also inhibit social actions or even lead to moral behavior. For instance, if you happen to be at an accident scene and are overwhelmed by emotions, witnessing the victim in pain might be less likely to help that person.
People who are good at reading other people’s emotions, such as psychics, fortune-tellers, or manipulators, can also use their excellent empathic skills to their benefit by deceiving other people.
How can we Measure Empathy?
Empathy is often measured with self-report questionnaires for example Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) or Questionnaire for Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE) according to research. They typically ask people to indicate how much they agree with statements that measure different types of empathy.
Impacts of Empathy
Empathy is not always experienced by everyone in every situation. Some may be more naturally empathic in general, but people also tend to feel more empathetic toward some people and less so towards others.
Let’s see different factors that play a role in this tendency;
- Past experiences and expectations
- How do people attribute other people’s behaviors
- What people blame for the other person’s predicament
- How people perceive the other person
There appear to be two main factors that contribute to the ability to experience empathy, this is; genetics and socialization. Parents can also pass down genes that contribute to overall personality, including the propensity toward sympathy, empathy, and compassion.
Barriers of Empathy
The few reasons why people sometimes lack empathy include cognitive biases, dehumanization, and victim-blaming.
#1. Cognitive Biases
Sometimes the way people perceive the world around them is influenced by several cognitive biases. These biases can make it difficult to see all the factors that contribute to a situation and make it less likely that people will be able to see a situation from the perspective of another.
This is particularly common in cases when other people are physically distant. Also many fall victim to the trap of thinking that people who are different from them also don’t feel and behave the same as they do.
#3. Victim Blaming
People make the mistake of blaming the victim for their circumstance when another person has suffered a terrible experience. This tendency stems from the need to believe that the world is a fair and just place, people want to believe that people get what they deserve, and this could fool them thinking that such terrible things could never happen to them.
Tips for Practicing Empathy
Empathy is a skill that you can learn and strengthen. There are a few things you can do if you want to build your skill in empathy:
- Try to understand people even when you don’t agree with them.
- Pat attention to body language and other types of nonverbal communication.
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes
- Ask questions to learn more about them and their lives
- Listen to people without interrupting them when discussing with you.
Related Articles: EMOTIONAL NEGLECT: Signs of Emotional Neglect in Relationships & How to deal with it
EMPATHY VS SYMPATHY
Sympathy is defined as compassion for someone else who is going through a difficult situation. The ability to empathize with others is a big part of what makes us human, and it’s what drives us to help others. So sympathize with those who mix up this word with empathy – the two are very similar in connotation. Sympathy is when you feel sad for someone else’s predicament, even though you’ve never been in it, while empathy refers to the ability to genuinely comprehend and experience what another person is going through.
Examples of Sympathy
Nonverbal expressions of sympathy include:
- Patting someone on the shoulder during a funeral.
- Placing a hand on someone’s arm when they break bad news.
- Speaking in a lowered tone of voice.
Causes of sympathy
For people to experience sympathy towards someone else, several elements are necessary:
#1. You need to be focused on the other person:
Our ability to feel pity is hampered when we are distracted.
#2. In some way, the other person must appear to be in need:
The level of sympathy we feel is determined by our assessments of the level of need. Someone with a graze on their knee, for example, will receive less pity than someone with a shattered leg.
We are also more ready to sympathize with someone who looks to have done nothing to deserve their bad luck.
The youngster who falls while hurrying towards a parent will receive more pity than the child who fell as a result of doing something they were specifically instructed not to do.
What is the difference between Empathy and Sympathy?
These two nouns are rarely used interchangeably, although they frequently appear in settings where their nuance is lost or irrelevant, leaving no clear indication of why one was chosen over the other. It’s easy to distinguish between sympathy and empathy if you remember this:
- Sympathy is an emotion that you and another person share.
- Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings.
To put it another way, the difference between empathy and sympathy is a distinction between the head (empathy) and the heart (sympathy).
Examples of Sentences with Sympathy and Empathy
Take a look at these examples of words in phrases to see how they might be used to convey sympathy and empathy.
The word sympathy is used correctly in the following sentences.
- I was heartbroken to learn of his death and sent my condolences to his family.
- They expressed sorrow for the earthquake victims after seeing the news.
- When her father died, everyone in the workplace signed a sympathy card and sent it to her house to let her know we cared.
- When the teacher’s spouse died, the class wrote a touching letter of condolences to her.
The word empathy is used correctly in the following sentence.
- Stella told the teacher that she didn’t enjoy the book’s problematic protagonists because she didn’t feel sorry for them.
- Surprisingly, her parents listened to her version of the story with empathy.
- The cops showed a high level of empathy for the people who had been involved in the accident.
- Serving on a jury is difficult; I had no sympathy for the offenders in this case.
- The assailant lacked empathy for his victims and their families.
In Conclusion, empathy might fail sometimes, most people are able to empathize with others in a variety of situations. This ability to see thing from another person’s perspective and sympathize with another’s emotions play an important role in our social lives. It allows us to understand others and quite often compels us to take action to relieve another person’s suffering.
Why do people lack empathy?
When something goes wrong in their brains, they lose normal empathy, or the ability to feel what others are feeling. It could be the result of a genetic defect, physical damage caused by trauma, or a reaction to their environment.
Can a person without empathy love?
When it comes to the survival of intimate relationships, no matter how much love you and your partner share, there’s no guarantee that you’ll both be able to empathize—even if you believe you’re “soulmates.” So without it, your relationship’s love will be like “love” in tennis—a big zero.