According to Google, empathy means “the ability to understand and share feelings of another. ” Basically, it refers to your ability to put yourself in someone else’ shoes.
In the current lockdown situation everywhere, we are all connected digitally with our loved ones, be it WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Viber, etc. But the elephant in the room is how effective are these social media apps, when it comes to mental health nd empathy skills? Unless you are engaged in a conversation in person, it is almost impossible to gauge the emotions of the other person. And I not agree with the fact that video apps and calls would help as much as physical interpersonal conversations do.
I admit, it is indeed hard to hone your empathic skills, but it ain’t impossible. You can take baby steps in the journey to becoming an empath. Who’s an empath? Again, Google defines an empath as “A person with paranormal ability to perceive the mental/emotional state of another individual. “
Empaths are usually known to come in different types. Check out the following infographic to understand better.
You can read more in detail about the different types on hisensitives.com. Perhaps former POTUS Barack Obama has conveyed his thoughts clearly. Quoting the lines from his famous empathy deficit speech.
“The biggest deficit we have in our society, and in the world right now, is an empathy deficit. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. “Former U.S. President Barack Obama
So, why do I think empathic skills are hard to develop? A few reasons include:
- Most of us are so involved in our self-egoistic beliefs that we find it difficult to shift our biased thoughts and view the world from another person’s perspective.
- There are times when all of us go through our lowest phases in life. The harrowing experiences can result in a bitter mental frame. We tend to develop inferiority complex. I realized that this was happening in my case and I admit, I’m trying to fight it.
Empathy is a quality that you cannot learn from any educational institution or via online courses. It is something that you will learn gradually with progress of time. It takes years of practice to master it. All the young souls out there, please don’t feel disheartened. The first baby step you’ve got to take is self-realization. You do that, and half the battle is won. Denial only aggravates problems.
According to Psychology Today, the different types of empathy demonstrated are as follows:
- Cognitive Empathy
- Emotional Empathy
- Compassionate Empathy
Cognitive empathy refers to your perspective view, your intellectual ability to resonate with another’s feelings. It can also be used in negative manner. A psychopath makes use of emotional manipulation.
Emotional empathy refers to a deep emotional connection that you share with a person. However, the deeper it goes, the higher may be your chances of suffering from an emotional burnout.
Compassionate empathy is when you care for the other person in their times of distress. Again, too much of it, could lead to emotional burnout.
Finally, let me tell you all that developing your empathy skills is NOT A RACE! It takes time to perfect it. Identifying your weak points is a major sign that you’re on the right path to a positivity-filled life.