Health Empathy & Sympathy

Empathy & Sympathy


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In relationships, people were around often found something unpleasant emotional problem sometimes or needs to be understood by someone, then how to deal with these situations. 

Empathy is the cognitive process of identifying with or vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

Empathy is an important element in understanding and maintaining good interpersonal relationships. Therefore, empathy is tried to understand and experience that other people experience what is the kind of understanding. Sympathy and empathy are different, that is changing the role of empathy seek to understand each other’s experience, feeling, thoughts and attitudes.

When empathizing, there was representative of the position has already been converted in another person’s place to try to understand what is happening to others. But that will might find it difficult to avoid making judgments when is listen to someone else’s problem, it fails to empathize with others, however, that also fails to understand with others. So that has to exactly what must do to listen with empathy and more approaches or how to improving. 

           In the addition, when empathizing, empathy has identified some different approaches that people can use. That is empathic responsiveness, perspective-taking, and sympathetic responsiveness. Firstly, “Empathic responsiveness is experiencing an emotional response parallel to another person’s actual or anticipates display of emotion.”  For example, when an employer tells an employee will lose their job, the employee will have experienced empathic responsiveness. The employer should sense the sadness of that employee, that deeply sad feeling is the feels of the employee.

The empathic responsiveness approach is the easiest to use when people have a close or intimate relationship with another person, they will have a strong relationship bond between each other, which can identify more easily with the other’s feelings, emotion and experiences it along with other. So back to the example, if they have a good relationship between employer and employee, the employer may know what the employee is feeling.

The position of the employer should understand and feel the employee feel, employer has to empathy the feelings of an employee is losing their jobs. Clearly understanding of feelings of employee is a point of a successful employer must be known. So in general, empathic responsiveness is most easily with a close person with eaothother. 

Secondly, perspective-taking is one of the approaches to empathy, that defined is “imagining yourself in the place of another.” That means is with another position of imagination, consider the situation of other, feelings of others is expected, and then assume that other people will feel similarly. For example, imagine if the employer fired, and is expected to what the experience of their emotions if that happens, the employer will be feelings same with that employee, then that is using empathizing by perspective-taking. 

Sympathetic responsiveness is one of the approaches to empathy, “a feeling of concern, compassion, or sorrow for another because of the situation” is defined. Sympathetic responsiveness differs with the other two approaches before. That is no attempt to experience and understand each other’s feelings or imagine being in the place of another, however, that is rather focused on emotionally understanding what the speakers have said and experience feelings of concern, compassion, or sorrow for that person.

For example, if the employer has sympathy and understanding of employee when an employee feels like embarrassed and worried, and also trying to feel emotions or experience of the employee, the employer will feel concerned and compassion for that employee, relationship for both of them will be build-up to each other. “So these three approaches will be able to make accurate judgments in the cognitive process of identifying with or vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of another.” 

Besides that, empathizing is hard to communicate with others from different culture, especially with strangers. So empathic listening will improve the ability to empathize. Listening skills also is including one of the approaches. “Listening with empathy occurs when have listened to what someone else is experiencing and seek to understand that person’s thoughts and feelings.” The most effective way is by listening to feelings of other people to want to hear the voice inside the heart, which try to understand and know what it was, people or things from the perspective of others to feel and reflect these feelings back.

So what is the procedure of empathizing, “show respect for the person by actively attending to what the person says; concentrate on observing and understanding both the verbal and nonverbal messages, using paraphrases and perception checking to the aid; experience an emotional response parallel to another person’s actual or anticipated display of emotion, imagine yourself in the place of the person, feel concerned, compassion, or sorrow for the person because of situation or plight.” 

Furthermore, empathy is as important as an element of effective interpersonal communication and the listener also is very important too. And empathy is closely related to a listener task, the listener’s task has to be put away their own feelings and prejudices as those of others to listen to what the speaker talking about. The listener must be to do this, a listener needs to know and understand what the feeling by speakers say out their mind is and listen carefully the speakers say what had happened, and then comforting sympathy or encouragement to help find a solution of the problem. (Hybels, 2001, p.85). Identify the emotions is often the most difficult part for the listener, the listener needs to listen carefully and know what the speaker is really saying that real meaning.

For example, an employee in the matter of unhappy encounter some setbacks, the employee is too excited that wanted to kill the employer. That employee said that apparently has no plans to kill the employer. In the case, it is reasonable to assume that the speaker is feeling angry. If someone responded to that employee, or someone will try to replace the role of that employee to think, let that employee say out what has happened, there might the tragedy will not happen. 

Moreover, the listener’s task besides listening attentively, also want to use an empathic-listening response way to reach is through paraphrasing, restating the other person’s thoughts or feelings in the words. Back to the example, let the employee say out the whole story, the listener is no need to respond with more or specific, just wants to be listened to, and show the interest and concern if listener listens and look sympathetic, let the employee finish the whole story, and discover other feelings in addition to anger. “This response not only helps identify the feelings; it also helps find out whether the hearing accurately and shows that is paying attention. A paraphrasing response provides a mirror for the other person’s remark.

Next, is followed by how to improve the empathy skills in interpersonal communication. First, stop to recognize other people’s emotions, empathy is the ability to share in their emotional experience. There are some people who have an easier time observing connecting to another person’s emotions, and there is some evidence that some people have a genetic predisposition to being empathetic.

For example, understanding the emotional states of others will help deepen their understanding. It helps to create the connections that are sharing in the experience. Second is imagine yourself in their position, that is once recognize what the other person feels, empathy requires that feel what are they are feeling.

The means you need to put yourself in their position. But it doesn’t mean you put yourself in their position in the logical sense of the word. There has the ability helps create the connection and the foundation of trust. The third one is to listen and accept their interpretation. Emotional intelligence and empathy require the ability to listen to others and to accept that their interpretation of events, facts, or ideas is true for them.

To truly exercise that empathy and that emotional intelligence, there have to listen without immediately passing judgment on the facts or the meaning of what is being said. They have to accept their interpretation as being valid and worthwhile. That was sped a lot of time trying to change people’s minds and trying to move people from taking no action to taking action. Empathy and emotional intelligence allow suspending the mind-changing until that have built the connection that will allow working with their point of view.

Four is a pause between stimulus and response and considers the outcome. Leading others and changing minds means that not only have to exercise these skills with others, and also have to emotions. Before that cans manage the emotions of others, that had to be able to manage their own emotions. One of the most powerful ways to deal with highly emotionally charged events is to simply pause before responding.

Use the pause to decide hoe that response will help or hurt that achieving the outcome that needs. Don’t focus on the emotion; focus on a response that moves you closer to your needed outcome. And the last is to use emotions to drive action. Negative emotions to create a case for change and to drive their teams to take actions and positive emotions to build high-performing cultures that believe that by the user will be can succeed.

In the conclusion, these attributes combine to generate trust and confidence, and they are the foundation of long-term relationships. Remember it is better to learn how to become an empathetic person. Your communication skills will only become better. Your social awareness will only become better. Your ability to relate to other people and understand their point of views will become much better. No one says changing is easy, but when you know there is something you need to change about yourself, taking the steps necessary is a good idea.

“Empathy is walking a mile in somebody else’s moccasins. Sympathy is being sorry their feet hurt.”

–Rebecca O’Donnell

Submitted by Rida Hameed, Noor-uz-Zuhaa Rubbani, Sana khan and Farhan Khan, Date 12 January 2021

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