Because a world without it would be chaotic and uncivilized. We probably wouldn’t survive it. Empathy creates connections between people, bringing them together and helping to forge friendships and love. It makes us feel as if someone cares for us: without it we would likely feel vulnerable and lonely.
Empathy “allows us to create bonds of trust, it gives us insights into what others may be feeling or thinking; it helps us understand how or why others are reacting to situations, it sharpens our ‘people acumen’ and it informs our decisions.” (www.mindtools.com)
Although other species have the capacity for empathy, the human ability to relate to another person’s feelings and to even act on it is what brings us together, spreads humanity and makes our world a much nicer place to live. Through empathy, we understand each other’s experiences and are more prone to help each other. Here’s how:
Empathy helps us connect with each other. When we can relate to how other people feel, then we are more likely to connect and connections feel good! Have you ever said, “OMG, I can totally relate to that!” and then inside you feel like you just bonded with someone.
Empathy also means that we care about each other. Having someone show you empathy feels good and tells you that someone noticed you and valued how you felt. Can you remember the last time someone showed you empathy? How did you feel? When someone makes you feel that you are valued and cared for, you likely feel good about yourself and then you are more likely to show that you care in return. This builds connections between people: It’s a cycle!
Empathy means that we create a better world. As we connect and care about each other, the world becomes a nicer place to live. Empathy is contagious. Pass it on!
In fact, empathy is thought to be so important to the future of our society by some people that whole organizations have been built around the concept of generating more empathy in the world (See startempathy.org, Ashoka.org, Rootsofempathy.org). These organizations believe that if we can support empathy in people, we can change the entire world into a better place.
Post Question: Can you remember the last time someone showed you empathy? How did you feel?