What Is Empathy and Why Is It So Important?

Empathy allows us to understand and share the feelings of others. Why do we feel empathy in some situations and not others? Learn more.

We are generally pretty well-attuned to our own feelings and emotions. But empathy allows us to “walk a mile in another’s shoes,” so to speak. It permits us to understand the emotions that another person is feeling.

For many of us, seeing another person in pain and responding with indifference or even outright hostility seems utterly incomprehensible. But the fact that some people do respond in such a way clearly demonstrates that empathy is not a universal response to the suffering of others.

So why do we feel empathy?

Why does it matter?

And what impact does it have on our behavior?