AFS Values: Empathy Overview

“I don’t want you to fix the problem”. “I just want you to listen”

“I am not asking for advice”, “I just want to vent”.

Sound familiar?

Empathy literally means “to feel with” – to stand in another’s shoes for a moment. It’s a temporary, partial identification with at least one segment of another person’s experience.

Empathy is much more than “being nice”, “feeling sorry for another”. Empathy is an acquired skill. It is not something you are born with. Empathy can be developed with continued practice.

Practicing Empathy is an exercise in vulnerability. It requires tuning in to the perspective and feelings of others, remembering a time in your own life that may be similarly painful, joyful, frustrating, or frightening and responding with the kind of compassionate response the other needs.

Developing the skill of Empathy can have a profound effect on the way you build relationships and help others.

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