When we can understand someone’s feelings from their perspective and don’t stand in judgment, we have the ability to empathise.
Empathy isn’t something we’re born with, but it’s something we can learn and practise. But it’s not something we will all have in our lifetime. To have empathy, we must put ourselves in another person’s shoes and feel what that person feels.
Some of us have natural empathetic tendencies, whilst others don’t. Some of us don’t notice, while others simply can’t be bothered to notice, but most of us will be somewhere in the middle and will understand in part how someone else feels. In the main, we tend to ignore how others feel when we’re not coping well ourselves.
Empathy is usually self-taught. If our parents have empathy, we will learn about it. But even if our parents don’t have empathy, there is no reason why we can’t learn it. Empathy comes from within us, from what we see around us.
As a child growing up with physical and emotional difficulties, I automatically understood what empathy was. I could see and feel someone else’s suffering through my own and that enabled me to relate to them easily.
But it’s important we have empathy. Although that part will always be up to us, when we use empathy, we will always get the best out of each other.