Last week we explored the differences between sympathy and empathy and the different types of empathy. This week we examine the many life-enhancing benefits of empathy and look at the ‘enemies of empathy’ and how to overcome them.
The benefits of empathy
Strengthen bonds and relationships
When others sense we share their emotions and relate to them we instantly create a deep rooted bond. Naturally our relationships become stronger and closer as a result, meaning we can both give and receive support during life’s toughest times.
Fosters good emotional health and well-being
When we are empathic we experience feelings of connection, kindness, inclusion and community – all instrumental in promoting good emotional health and well-being.
Heals painful psychological problems
We can help to heal others loneliness, alienation, anxiety, fear, depression and shame all from emotional and compassionate empathizing.
Can be a source of self-esteem and gives us a sense of identity
Healthy self-esteem should only be related to our characters because – unlike other things such as success or money – we have complete control over how we choose to behave. When we are empathic and connect with others emotionally, we automatically feel good about ourselves and it can be a huge source of healthy self-esteem.
Furthermore, if we are empathic over a prolonged period of time, we can identify ourselves as being empathic by nature, enabling us to have a more positive identity.