Meaning of Empathy

Empathy is one of the base characteristics of being human. All humans are empathetic by nature, some more than others, but everyone shows empathy at some point in their life. However, there are some people who cannot feel empathy and those are psychopaths and sociopaths.

Empathy is basically the ability to understand the feelings of another and to share it. There are times when you see a friend or family member feeling sad, and you feel sad at the same time when you see them, even though you were perfectly content before. Or when you are hanging out with a friend and start feeling happy, because they were happy and their happiness in contagious. These are all time when you felt empathy.

Empathy is the imaginative projection of a state, feeling or emotion, onto another, so that the object appears to be infused with it. Empathy is the action of understanding, of being aware, of being sensitive to, and of experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another. Basically, empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings.

Empathy encompasses a broad range of emotional states. This includes caring for other people, having a desire to help them, experiencing emotions that match another person’s emotions, discerning what another person is thinking or feeling, and reducing the differences between the self and the other person.

Some people believe that empathy means to feel the other person’s feelings, while others define it as being tenderhearted towards another person by taking their feelings into consideration. Contemporary researchers define two different types of empathy: “Affective empathy” refers to the sensations and feelings we get in response to others’ emotions, which could mirror their feelings, or just a feeling that is in response to their feelings, such feeling stressed when seeing their anxiety; the other is “Cognitive empathy,” which is sometimes called “perspective taking.” This refers to our ability to identify and understand other peoples’ emotions, and react accordingly.

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