This Month’s Umbrella Skill! (http://www.umbrellaproject.co/)
WHAT IS EMPATHY? • Seeing yourself through the lens of someone else’s circumstances • The ability to think about what someone else is going through, imagining yourself in that place • The ability to understand and share the feelings of another • The ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling • Feeling one with a person in a non-judgmental manner • Empathy is often the first step towards compassionate action and helping others • Empathy is a skill and takes practice
“Through practice, you can develop the part of the brain that lets you empathize and care for others, much like with a motor skill,” says Bruce Perry, M.D., senior fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston. “The more you play tennis, the better you get,” he says. “Empathy works the same way.”
WHY DOES EMPATHY MATTER? HOW DOES IT HELP US? Empathy helps us and those around us. It’s a key ingredient to successful relationships with our friends and family. In fact, without this skill, we are much less likely to take action and help others. High levels of empathy result in lower levels of conflict and higher levels of problem-solving within friendships. It helps us make new friends, keep the ones we have and build a stronger social network. And having a strong social network helps us live longer. Empathy helps to make our lives feel more meaningful, which makes us happier.