what empathy means to me

Topics: Psychology, Virtue, Emotion Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: December 3, 2013
Although there are many definitions for the term empathy, one of which states that it “refers to the reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another (Davis,113)”, a very fitting definition, however empathy is so much more than just a label for a reaction to a situation. Personally I don’t think empathy is measureable by scientific assessment, rather empathy should be viewed as a means of moral virtue. A large part of empathy is respect; disagreeing with someone’s choice or thought, while being able to view a situation from their point of view without judgment is truly key. This being said, that doesn’t mean you have to agree or change your thoughts, but the ability to take in both opinions and react approperately is empathy. Both of my parents taught me “have you thought about their side of the situation?” This use to frustrate me until I discovered that taking a step back from my perspective and looking at it from a different approach usually made me change my attitude about the situation. No, it didn’t always fix the situation, but it encouraged me to change my attitude from negative to understanding. Matthew 7:12 states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Empathy is like a mirror, a reflection, but a reflection of emotions that you feel in your life being applied to the lives of those around you. This expression though commonly thought of as a sympathy or a form of comfort, isn’t always the case. Looking at life through the eyes of others is how empathy is expressed. This realization of others feelings can create a bond between you and them. Reflecting on your experiences and applying the emotions from your life to situations of others is part of this mirroring. Empathy was defined by www.newyorker.com in the article The Baby in the Well by Paul Bloom as “an instinctive mirroring of others”. He also brings up the case of “The Empathy Altruism Hypothesis” a study done...
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