Recently, my colleague and I confronted a group of students regarding something not very pleasant. I’ll leave the story for you to guess but all in all, my colleague told the students to have a bit more empathy. At that point in time, I was wondering if the students understood what empathy really means.
Empathy is a really BIG WORD that I didn’t truly understand what it really means until about half a year ago. The dictionary defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. However, what does it mean when it says “understanding and sharing the feelings of another”? Similarly, when people said that we should put ourselves in another person’s shoes, how do we know that we have put ourselves in their shoes? The meaning provided in the dictionary wasn’t enough for me to know what is going on.
So, what is Empathy exactly?
Dr Brené Brown explains empathy in the following three-minute animated video.