DEFINITION OF EMPATHY
Human beings at anyone point in life encounter challenges or experience problems. It is important for other members of the society to understand what the person is going through, demonstrate care and concern and provide support to the affected person. The facilitator is expected to expose participants to relevant scenarios that will enable them practice the skill of empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand what the other person is experiencing and to be able to communicate this feeling in time.
The ability to understand, imagine and appreciate a challenging situation another person is going through thereby assisting him/her to come up with a solution is demonstration of empathy.
Empathy brings joy to both the giver and the receiver.
We can help people explore and cope with their feelings if we are able to see situations from their perspective.
IMPORTANCE OF EMPATHY
- The understanding and acceptance helps the client feel relieved as if an emotional block has been removed from their
- Encourages effective communication
- Lays good foundation for feedback
- Helps to expand and clarify one’s understanding as well as understanding of others
DIFFERENT BETWEEN EMPATHY AND SYMPATHY
Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; you’re sorry for them or pity them, but you don’t specifically understand what they’re feeling. Empathy can best be described as feeling with the person. Notice the distinction between for and with. To an extent you are placing yourself in that person’s place, have a good sense of what they feel, and understand their feelings to a degree
SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE EMPATHY:
- Success in exams
- Failure e.g. in examinations
- Retrenchment of a member of the family
- Celebration of anniversaries e.g. Birthdays
- Lose of property due to violence
- Birth of a baby sister/brother
SOME VALUES ASSOCIATED WITH EMPATHY ARE:
- Love: love is giving without demanding in return and makes relationship better. It means being kind, sharing, caring, understanding, showing appreciation, and accepting others the way they are
- Respect: this is having positive regard towards self and others
- Peace: it consists of positive thoughts, pure feelings and good wishes towards others
Different ways of expressing empathy: Empathy can be demonstrated in different ways. The following are examples of different ways of expressing empathy.
- Actively listening
- Sharing resources
- Providing help when needed
- Being polite, non-judgmental and understanding
Other skills that enhance empathy: Most life skills are interrelated and compliment each other. The following are examples of skills that enhance empathy.
- Effective communication
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
- Coping with emotions