em·pa·thy [em-puh-thee] noun
- The feeling that you understand and share with another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.
- The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.
— merriam-webster.com, dictionary.com
The skill of true empathy is one of the most difficult to obtain, and one of the most valuable skills a person can possess. Empathy requires that you put aside your feelings, your experiences, your wants, your plans, and your deepest ambitions in order to really imagine yourself in the situation of another. You imagine their wants, their ambitions and their feelings, how they came to have these, and analyze what they would do about it. True empathy then moves past just imagination and understanding and into selfless action. Empathy is greater than sympathy, which requires no action, and even greater than compassion. Empathy is the result of love, sympathy, and compassion, rolled up and put into action for the benefit of another. Showing true empathy for another is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give them.
“Our philosophy has always been that if you empower each individual by giving them good choices, ease them to the outer reaches of their comfortable boundaries, and expect them to succeed, you foster an environment that is conducive to aiding each individual beyond their own anticipated limits.”
— Jeff Bryner, founder and co-owner of August Sun