Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another semi-sentient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.
Do we live with Empathy?
This afternoon as I was picking my kids up from school I told them that I wanted to go home right away as I was starving from not having time to eat lunch. My kids wanted ice cream, but I was in no condition to handle three boys at an ice cream shop. When I said that we were going straight home my oldest (almost 8 yrs old) said; "It doesn't matter if you are hungry, let's go for ice cream." After a few seconds of silence, he apologized.
This was my opportunity to teach a lesson!!!
I went on to ask if he knew the definition of the word empathy. He didn't so I explained. As I was explaining I realized how important this word should be in everyone's lives and how it should be part of our daily behavior.
Without empathy their is no compassion. If we are killing each other now, imagine the world without the few individuals that live with empathy?
To show empathy is to identify with another's feelings. It is to emotionally put yourself in the place of another. The ability to empathize is directly dependent on your ability to feel your own feelings and identify them.
If you have difficulty with your own feelings, it will be hard for you to understand how another person is feeling. This holds equally true for pleasure and pain. If, for example, you have never put your hand in a flame, you will not know the pain of fire.
Among those with an equal level of innate emotional intelligence, the person who has actually experienced the widest range and variety of feelings -- the great depths of depression and the heights of fulfillment, for example, -- is the one who is most able to empathize with the greatest number of people from all walks of life. On the other hand, when we say that someone "can't relate" to other people, it is likely because they haven't experienced, acknowledged or accepted many feelings of their own.
For this process to work, the first step is that we must be able to experience our own emotions. This means we must be open to them and not distract ourselves from them or try to numb ourselves from our feelings through artificial, man-made substitutes.
The practice of developing of understanding our feelings and emotions is achieved when we are able to deal with our thoughts and can sit with ourselves without the need for distractions. The benefits I achieve from these moments of sitting with myself in silence are more positive than any other wellness activity I have been able to practice. Even my physical being changes after spending time with myself in silence.
Next, we need to become aware of what we are actually feeling -- to acknowledge, identify, and accept our feelings. Only then can we empathize with others. That is one reason it is important to work on your own emotional awareness and sensitivity-- in other words, to be "in touch with" your feelings. -- and to help children stay in touch with their feelings.
Teaching empathy and developing empathy should be one of our main tasks as human beings.
...start from Within
Several years ago I began my spiritual journey. Throughout this journey I knew that this was going to change me completely and that it was for a bigger purpose extending outside of my home.
I am a 42 year old mother of three children; the oldest is seven, a five year old and a 3 year old. I have been married for 11 years and I live on creating a holistic atmosphere in my home while keeping everything that is natural as part of our lives. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico by outstanding and very highly evolved parents. Every day I continue to amaze myself at the great Wisdom they possess. I have a wonderful and extremely successful sister. She has been a guiding angel in my life as I have been following her since I can remember being here. She has always been a step ahead of me and with outstanding qualities as a human being.
I hold a BS in Marketing from Bentley University in Boston and a Master in Communications from Boston University. I am a certified Life Coach and Meditation Master. I have also been trained in The Power of Intention, Positive Affirmations, Self-healing, Instant Inner Power, Theta DNA Healing and Living your own Success.
Aside from everything mentioned, I worked for 10 years in the television industry with Telemundo Network and NBC Network as producer and entertainment news anchor. After my years in the TV industry in went on to take the position of Communications Director for Cartier Jewelers International in charge of the Latin American markets. After four years at Cartier I began my own business while training in the areas of Self-Empowerment and Living in a Positive Existence.
I am a Master in Meditation and Certified Realization Coach. I have my own practice specializing parent to children relation and personal goal achievement. I work with individuals, families and children.
Founder of EmpowerPeace.com spreading techniques on how to achieve happiness in live. I currently have my own EmpowerPeace line and yoga wear.