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Chalk 2 Cheese, a Personality Development and enhancing soft skills Academy is more like a Grooming School. It helps you become the best version of yourself.

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.

The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than self kind of understanding

Empathy is a word that is used often by many people. It is commonly known that empathy is a good thing to have, but it is not always a priority in people’s lives. While a large majority of the population is capable of empathy, sometimes the practice of it is limited.

Empathy is a key component in emotional intelligence which involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of others and imagine yourself in their place. By empathizing with others, a person can better understand the impact of their decisions on others and make more ethical choices. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position to realize what they are feeling.

Empathy means that when you see another person suffering, such as after they have lost a loved one, you are able to instantly imagine yourself going through that same experience and feel what they are going through. It permits people to understand the emotions that others are feeling.

If you are wondering whether you are an empathetic person, here are some signs that show that you have this tendency.

You are good at really listening to what others have to say. You often feel about how other people feel. Other people come to you for advice. You try to help others who are suffering. You are good at picking upon how other people are feeling. You often feel overwhelmed by tragic events. You care deeply about other people. You sometimes feel drained or overwhelmed in social situations. You find it difficult to set boundaries in your relationships. You are good at telling when people are not being honest.

Understanding other people’s emotions is a key in the workplace. It can enable us to resolve conflicts, to build more productive teams and to improve our relationships with co- workers, clients and customers.

But, while most of us are confident about learning new technical skills, we may feel ill equipped to develop our interpersonal skills and many people are self-conscious about discussing their own feelings.

In its simplest form, empathy is the ability to recognize emotions in others and to understand other people’s perspectives on a situation. Empathy enables you to use that insight to improve someone else’s mood and to support them through challenging situations.

Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but they are not the same thing . Sympathy is a feeling of concern for someone and a sense that they could be happier. Unlike empathy, sympathy does not involve shared perspective or emotions.

There are several types of empathy that a person may experience. Emotional empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another person and so to understand that person on a deeper level. It is sometimes called affective empathy because it affects you or changes you. It is not just a matter of knowing how someone feels, but of building genuine rapport with them. This kind of empathy can be overwhelming for some of us. People with strong empathic tendencies can become immersed in other people’s problems or pain, sometimes damaging their own emotional well-being. You can avoid this kind of emotional burnout by taking breaks, checking your boundaries and strengthening your ability to cope in such a demanding role. Anyone leading a team will benefit from developing at least some emotional empathy. Empathy is most valuable when it is combined with action.

Cognitive empathy involves being able to understand another person’s mental state and what they might be thinking in response to the situation. It is the ability to understand what another person might be thinking or feeling. It need not involve any emotional engagement by the observer. Cognitive empathy is a mostly rational, intellectual and emotionally neutral ability. This means that some people use it for negative purposes.

Compassionate empathy is the most active form of empathy. It involves not only sharing emotional pain for another person and having concern for them, but also taking practical steps to reduce it.

Somatic empathy involves having a physical reaction in response to what someone else is experiencing. People sometimes physically experience what another person is feeling.

Uses of Empathy

Empathy allows you to build social connections with others. Social connections are important for both physical & psychological well being. By understanding what people are thinking and feeling, you are able to respond appropriately in social situations.

Empathy promotes helping behaviors. Other people are likely to help you when they experience empathy and you are more likely to engage in helpful behaviors when you feel empathy for other people.

Empathize with others helps you learn to regulate your own emotions. Emotional regulation is important as it allows you to manage what you are feeling in times of great stress.

Having a great deal of empathy makes you concerned for the well-being and happiness of others. It also means that you can sometimes get overwhelmed from always thinking about other people’s emotions. This can lead to empathy fatigue. You might feel numb, isolate yourself and have a lack of energy. Empathy fatigue refers to the exhaustion you might feel after repeatedly being exposed to stressful or traumatic events. It can even affect your judgment, causing you to go against your morals based on the empathy you feel for someone else.

Your ability to experience empathy can impact your relationship. Siblings have less conflict and more warmth towards each other when empathy is high amongst them. In romantic relationships, having empathy increases your ability to extend forgiveness.

Some people may be more naturally empathetic in general as not everyone experiences empathy in every situation but people tend to feel more empathetic towards some people and less towards others. It has been found that there are gender differences in the experience and expression of empathy. Studies suggest that woman tend to feel more cognitive empathy than men.

There are two main factors that contribute to the ability to experience empathy which is genetics and socialization.

Parents pass down genes that contribute to overall personality, empathy and compassion. People are also socialized by their parents, communities and society. How people feel about others, how they treat others is often a reflection of beliefs and values that were instilled at a very young age.

Barrier to Empathy

Some people are not able to understand what another person may be experiencing or feeling as they lack empathy. This can result in behaviors that seem uncaring or sometimes even harmful. A lack of empathy is also one of the defining characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder.

A few reasons why people sometimes lack empathy.

Sometimes the way people think about the world around them is influenced by cognitive biases. People often attribute other people’s failure to internal characteristics, while blaming their own short comings on external factors. These biases can make it difficult to see all the factors that contribute to a situation and it is less likely that people will be able to see a situation from the perspective of another.

Many think that people who are different from them do not feel and behave the same as they do. This is common in cases when other people are physically distant. People might be less likely to empathic when they watch reports of a disaster or conflict in a foreign land, thinking that those who are suffering are fundamentally different from themselves.

Sometimes people make the mistake of blaming the victim for their circumstances, when another person has suffered a terrible experience. This is the reason that victims of crime are often asked what they might have done differently to prevent the crime. This tendency stems from the need to believe that the world is a fair and just place.

Causes of Empathy

Human beings are certainly capable of selfish, even cruel behavior. A quick scan of the news quickly reveals numerous unkind and selfish actions.

Researchers have found that different regions of the brain play an important role in empathy and studies have shown that specific areas of the brain play a role in how empathy is experienced. There are important neurological components to the experience of empathy. The activation of mirror neurons in the brain plays a part in the ability to mirror and mimic the emotional responses that people would feel if they were in the similar situations.

Earlier explorations into the topic of empathy centered on how feeling what others feel allow people to have a variety of emotional experiences. It allows us to experience things that we might never otherwise be able to fully feel. This can involve feeling empathy for both real people and imaginary characters. Experiencing empathy for fictional characters allow people to have a range of emotional experiences that might otherwise be impossible.

Empathy serves as an adaptive function and helps in the survival of the species; it also leads to helping behavior, which benefits social relationships. Things that aid in our relationships with other people benefit us as well. Humans are naturally social creatures. When people experience empathy, they are more likely to engage in prosocial behaviors that benefit other people.

Practicing Empathy

Empathy is a skill that you can learn and strengthen. If you would like to build your empathy skills, there are a few things that you can do.

Try to understand people, even when you do not agree with them. Working on listening to people without interrupting. Ask people questions to learn more about them and their lives. Pay attention to body language and other types of non verbal communication. Look for ways in which you are similar to others versus focusing on differences. Imagine yourself in another person’s shoes. Be willing to be vulnerable, opening up about how you feel. Strengthen your connection with others to learn more about how they feel. Get involved in organizations that push for social change. Engage in new experiences, giving you better insight into how others in that situation may feel.

Empathy does not just happen naturally for a lot of people. Our fast paced society does not often encourage us to take a moment to connect with others. It is therefore a conscious choice we have to make, but the more we practice empathy, the more intuitive it becomes.

Most people are able to empathize with others in a variety of situations, while it might be lacking in some. This ability to see things from another person’s perspective plays an important role in our social lives. Empathy allows us to understand others and compels us to take action to relieve another person’s suffering.

Being able to practice empathy is one of the most important skills you can learn. In a world that spends so much time picking at flaws and igniting fear and anger in people, empathy can be a balm to that fear and anger. It can help you, and others, lead a more fulfilling and healthier life.

It may not always be easy, or even possible, to empathize with others but, through good people skills and some imagination, we can work towards more empathetic feelings.

Research has suggested that individuals who can empathize enjoy better relationships with others and greater well being through life.

Empathy is like a universal solvent. Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.

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