Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. If we are empathetic, we can figuratively put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. The aim of being empathic is to understand how people are feeling and why they are acting in a certain way.
Empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sadness or pity for someone’s experience. Empathy is understanding.
If you experience empathy for someone, that does not mean you have to feel the same way they do. How they react and perceive the situation may be very different from how you respond and see that same situation. Empathy means understanding, and in that understanding, we are better able to gauge the needs of the other person and communicate with them in a way they will hear you.
Empathy is hard work, requires practice and can be tiring. We have to put others first.
But, this is how we build relationships, see multiple perspectives and develop our ability to lead.