Empathy Is Incompatible With Shame and Judgment

I had been meaning to better understand the concept of empathy ever since the United States Supreme Court struck down the part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

My interest in the concept had to do with my not understanding how so-called mediators and peacemakers could claim to be empathic people and yet make hateful comments regarding homosexuals and same-sex marriage.

I by no means expected all mediators and peacemakers to agree with the Supreme Court’s decision; however, one does not have to agree in order to be empathic. What I found confusing was that self-proclaimed empathic people made such hateful comments. I needed to understand whether it was possible for an empathic person to make hateful statements. The reason this was so important to me was conveyed in my article as follows: “The first sentence in Martin Golder’s article titled ‘The Journey to Empathy’ is ‘In conflict resolution empathy is a central tool and way of being.'” You see, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Golder. As set forth in “The Power of Empathy,” empathy is an emotional skill and an essential part of emotional intelligence.

By Mark Baer || 27-Jan-2015