Empathy

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“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another is known as Empathy. Empathy is the sister of Love and the Golden Rule.
It’s the basis of intimacy and close connection. Without it, relationships remain emotionally shallow, defined largely by mutual interests or shared activities.

Without empathy, we could live and work side-by-side with other people, and remain as clueless about their inner selves and feelings as we are about those of strangers on a crowded subway car. Empathy isn’t just the engine for closeness and positive social behavior; it helps us become aware of the pain we’re causing.

Empathy can be painful. That is one reason some times it is ignored. It is painful to place yourself in the shoes of the suffering, the disenfranchised, abused, wounded, tortured, hungry or rejected. It becomes pain by osmosis.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
Brené Brown

 

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