Empathy is a common topic. It is a wide topic and there is a lot of research on it.
Here, I am going to share with you about the art of empathy and how you can learn and cultivate it as a habit to be a empathetic and better person and impact lives.
What is the difference between Sympathy and Empathy?
These two words are often used interchangeably, but they are different in meaning. They seem to have the same context, but the meaning is different.
According to Merriam Webster, the difference between sympathy and empathy are; “Sympathy is when you share the feelings of another; empathy is when you understand the feelings of another but do not necessarily share them.”
Sympathy is a feeling you share with someone while empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of someone. In short, sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, while empathy is understanding their pain.
It is also common that you hear that empathy is described as, “empathy is putting yourself in someone’s shoes.”
If you see your friend or someone fall down.
If you show sympathy, you will say, “I’m sorry to see you have a fall.”
If you show empathy, you will say, “I know that must be painful.” And at the same time, you go help your friend to get up.
Empathy is a skill which can be learned and practiced.
Steve Tee’s TEE Model of Empathy
After going through many readings, or should I say hearing, I came out with my own TEE Model to simplify the topic of empathy.
So in simple terms TEE represents; Thoughts, Emotion and Empathetic response.
This is the thinking part. Imagining ourselves in the same situation, or scenario and what it would be like.
And very importantly, always remember, don’t judge on the situation and on someone.
This is the feeling part. It’s standing side by side with that someone and feeling with them. It is about being together with them and understanding their feelings.
This is the communication part where you need to have empathetic responses. Empathetic responses are very important as we all know the power of words can either make your day or ruin your day.
This is using words or sentences to acknowledge the pain of someone.
After listening, you need to acknowledge the person in order to show that you really care and understand their situation and feelings.
“I can imagine it’s not easy for you to go through this.”
“I can understand that it must be hard.”
“That sounds really challenging.”
Always show gratitude with some of the following responses.
“Thank you for sharing with me.”
“I’m really glad that you told me.”
“Thank you for trusting me with this.”
During the conversation, always be encouraging and respond the following to encourage the person.
“You are a strong person.”
“I’m really proud of you.”
“You’re a true inspiration.”
Why is Empathy important?
Empathy is important because it is a skill that we can learn, remember and use in our daily lives. By learning and mastering the skill of empathy, you will become a more understanding, caring and compassionate person.
This will in turn help to build a gracious and harmonious society.
Remember, your Thoughts, Emotions and Empathetic response will impact the other person.
After I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, my sight started to deteriorate and I was unable to see the things around me clearly.
Before I found my hunger, I have encountered many situations where empathy is not being shown towards a person with visual impairment.
When walking in crowded places, I tend to bump into people at times and some of them will get annoyed and grumble things like:
“Hey, you blind, you can’t see, are you?”
“You can’t see me in front of you?”
“If you can’t see then just stay at home!”
Imagine putting yourself into my shoes and hearing all these non-empathetic responses, how would you feel?
So, be kind, start learning and practicing empathy to all the people around you.
Contact and Book Steve to Speak and share more on Empathy.