Have you ever had someone acknowledge and reflect back to you what you’re feeling so perfectly that it made you tear up? Has someone ever taken the time to sit with you quietly in your grief and just hold your hand?
Have you ever told someone your story, shared your pain, or acknowledged your shame, and they teared up in response to the powerful feelings you were expressing?
If so, this is the essence of empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel what others are feeling.
It is the capacity to identify so intimately with the emotions of another that it’s like being inside the other person’s skin. But beyond sharing the feelings of another, it is the willingness to imagine how the other person is impacted by their emotions.