Healing Organizations » Why Empathy?

by Nik Helbig

Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Scientists have found that humans are soft-wired with mirror neurons, which allows us to sense what another living being is experiencing as if we were experiencing those feelings ourselves. When we are empathic, we can feel the emotions of another human being.

Scientific research also suggests that this soft-wiring is not geared towards aggression, but towards the drive to belong.

Empathy is inherent in us from birth. By 8 years of age, when we come to understand birth and death, we gain self-hood and existentialism. Once a child learns of his mortality, he can empathize with another’s suffering.