Empathy has a lot of powerful properties and can be described in many ways. Empathy can be defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors.
Empathy, she explained, is largely mediated by a structure called the insula. It is predominantly a right brain structure that connects to the visceral organs-the heart and intestine. It also connects the brain with the skin and mediates sensations of touch and temperature. It is responsible for what is commonly referred to as a “gut feeling.” Empathy, then, in its truest form, means to literally feel what another person is feeling.
A more acute investigation shows also that Empathy…
… always stands at the back of the line.
… has healing power for everyone involved.
… is not an intellectual understanding of someone else.
… never attacks.
… is the capacity to put yourself in the mental perspective of another person.
… is not about volume, but rather who it is directed toward.
… is not simply kindness or pity.
… proves we are all connected.
… is treating others how they want to be treated, not how you want to treat them.
… is curious about strangers.
… challenges prejudices.
… doesn’t just make you good, it’s good for you.
… takes energy.
… listens hard to others’ emotions.
… makes us vulnerable.
… demands social change.
… does not discriminate.
… feels outwardly, not inwardly.
… loves its enemies.