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What is empathy? How to develop yours.


So, what is empathy exactly? And how can you develop yours?


What empathy is (and what it's not)

Today, you'll get different definitions for empathy, depending on who you ask. But most would agree to some variation of the following: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the thoughts or feelings of another.

To feel and display empathy, it's not necessary to share the same experiences or circumstances as others. Rather, empathy is an attempt to better understand the other person by getting to know their perspective.

Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman break down the concept of empathy into the following three categories.


Cognitive empathy is the ability to understand how a person feels and what they might be thinking. Cognitive empathy makes us better communicators, because it helps us relay information in a way that best reaches the other person.


Emotional empathy (also known as affective empathy) is the ability to share the feelings of another person. Some have described it as "your pain in my heart." This type of empathy helps you build emotional connections with others.

Compassionate empathy (also known as empathic concern) goes beyond simply understanding others and sharing their feelings: it actually moves us to take action, to help however we can.


How does our empathy get shut down in the first place?


It might be that we didn't get what we needed to connect with other people in deep and meaningful ways when we were very young. These disconnections are through no fault of ourselves or our caregivers. There may have been a break in the bond beyond children and mothers from traumatic birth experiences that leave neurobiological imprints in the child that continue into adulthood until they can be effectively healed.


It might be that a painful experience in our family history has gone unresolved and has interrupted the flow of love from previous generations.


This video may give you a different perspective https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7ZXCsV5W40&t=13s



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I work in private one on one sessions and I do group work in the family and ancestral realm. You can learn more about that by going here: https://www.rhythmicwaveshealing.ca/w-o-r-k-s-h-o-p-s


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