Empathy is when you connect with someone. When you understand someone's feelings and know what to tell them. When you observe someone suffering, you may be able to imagine yourself in their shoes and sympathise with them.
Have you ever heard of the term "sympathy"? Sympathy and Empathy may sound like synonyms, but actually, they aren't! Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone from your own perspective. Empathy is when you put yourself in someone else's shoes and understand why they feel that way. This is a significant difference to understand. Let's take an example. Your friend's sibling died, and they are feeling super sad. What would you do? If you were to sympathise, you would say things like 'I'm sorry you're feeling that way or 'It's okay. Don't worry about something like that. But if you were to empathise, you would say things like, 'I have been there and be sad too.
Empathy is essential as it helps build connections with people and bond with them. Social relationships are necessary for your body and your mental state. Empathising with people makes them empathise with you and spreads it.
To practice Empathy and influence it, you can do a ton of stuff, such as: i. Work on listening to people without interrupting
ii. Pay attention to body language and other types of nonverbal communication
iii. Try to understand people, even when you disagree with them iv. Ask people questions to learn more about them and their lives
To conclude, Empathy is when you understand that person and know what they are feeling, which can prepare you for telling them about it. It helps in socialising and creating bonds. Sympathy and Empathy are very different; sympathy is when you feel sorry for them passively, and Empathy Is when you are sorry for them in a more active way and feel what they are feeling.
"If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours."