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What is empathy? In the textbook, empathy is defined as “the ability to project oneself into another person’s point of view, so as to experience the other’s thoughts and feelings” (Adler, Rodman & Sevigny, 2011). I personally think that empathy is being able to understand another person's circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings. Having empathy for someone can greatly build trust within the relationship. It makes the other person feel important and that someone understands what they are feeling and ensures that they are not the only one. When you experience empathy, you are capable of understanding someone else's experiences. A lot of people get mixed up with the meaning of empathy as compared to sympathy. Empathy means that you have experienced the same feelings or thoughts, but not necessarily due to the actual event that caused the feelings. You are capable of feeling someone else's emotions because you can put yourself in their shoes and envision how the same incident would make you feel. When you sympathize with someone, you are sharing his or her pain, loss, anger or whatever the emotion happens to be.

This summer, my best friend Katie lost her grandmother to breast cancer. She was really close with her grandma and losing her was very hard on her. I was able to empathize with her because a month before she lost her grandma, I lost my grandpa. I was very close with my grandpa and losing him was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. Katie and I talked to each other about our struggles and helped each other through it. We empathized with each other and shared our common feelings. Having empathy for each other made communicating much easier because we were able to comprehend each other’s feelings. We were both going through the same thing and experiencing the same feelings so we were able to share our common struggles and help each other deal with them.

A situation in which I was not able to use empathy was when I was...
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