The word "empathy" has its origins in the 1880s when the German psychologist Theodore Lipps introduced the term "Einfühlung." Lipps used this term to describe the emotional understanding and appreciation of another person's feelings. Today, empathy is defined as "the willingness and ability to empathize with the attitudes of other people."
Empathy is also described as a process of understanding someone else's subjective experience by sharing in their feelings while observing them. It involves a genuine curiosity that leads to a deeper comprehension of another individual. In other words, empathy is the ability to put oneself in someone else's shoes, to see the world from their perspective.
By experiencing empathy, we can develop a greater understanding of others and connect with them on a deeper level. It allows us to recognize and acknowledge their emotions, experiences, and challenges. Through empathy, we can foster compassion, support, and a sense of solidarity with those around us.
Empathy plays a vital role in various aspects of life, including personal relationships, communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution. It helps build trust and strengthen connections. By practicing empathy, we can create a more inclusive and empathetic world where individuals feel heard, understood, and valued.
Hardee, J. T. (2003). An Overview of Empathy. The Permanente Journal. https://doi.org/10.7812/tpp/03-072