Empathy is the ability to understand or feel the feelings of others who are in pain or unhappy. It enables you to feel things from others' points of view or by imagining yourself in their place and feeling their feelings.
When an individual feels empathy for another person, he has the same intensity, situations, or mental conditions as the other person has with whom he communicates. Although it is often applied to situations in which one is in pain or suffering, one can feel empathy by recognizing the emotions. The person who feels empathy aims to connect with others people on the inner emotional level possible. Connecting at this level can benefit mental health and maintain a healthy relationship between the two parties.
History of Empathy
The word empathy is the Greek phrase that means "passion from feelings or physical affection." It comes from the roots en, which means "in, at," and pathos which means "passion" or "suffering." The term was modified in the 1850s to translate to the German word Einfühlung ("feeling into") by Hermann Lotze and Robert Visher. Then in 1909, Edward B. Titchener changes Einfühlung into an English word as "empathy." Philosopher Martin Buber added a deeper texture to the concept of empathy by describing the concept of empathy as "I and Thou," with I and This as a form of irreverent disrespect.
Types of Empathy
Advantages of Empathy
There are a few advantages of empathy:
Obstructions to empathy
Blaming Victim: When a person has gone through a dreadful experience, people make the fault of criticizing the victim for their conditions. The victims are usually questioned that why they did not do anything to stop the crime.
Cognitive prejudices: People look at the world around them which is sometimes determined by several cognitive biases. For instance, people usually think that a person's failure is due to his or her shortcomings.
Dehumanization: Many people think that people who are different from them don't feel and behave the same way as they feel. This is also a barrier to empathy.
Signs of empathy