What Does Empathy Mean?


20 Answers

Samantha Mitchell Profile
Many people do not actually realise that there is a huge difference between empathy and sympathy. In fact, many people will actually use the word empathy if they actually mean sympathy. Empathy is a word that is often used in counseling, and it refers to how other people are feeling and how well they are able to cope with the way another individual is feeling. Empathy is similar to sympathy in that one person will have strong feelings to try and help an individual - however, empathy has another important factor.

Empathy involves that person trying to understand what the problems are of the other individual, and trying to put themselves in the other person’s shoes. It’s essentially a way that somebody will feel that offers the best chance of overcoming a problem and helping that person with any issues that they may have. It involves caring and looking after somebody who may have a mental condition, or who may be going through a stressful time due to family problems or bereavement.

A perfect example is your parents. Parents are obviously sympathetic, but when it comes to children they are naturally not very empathic. Many parents may argue otherwise, but the fact is most parents only want their children to do well and will hence sympathise, and try and help them. Instead, they should be making their best efforts to understand the problems, relate them to the problems they may have had when they were young and help the child or young adult come to the best decisions.

Empathy is hence the best way that you can help a person who is going through a difficult time. Without it the other individual will feel estranged and misunderstood, which naturally does not help when they are going through a particularly difficult time. So be empathic when you can, try and understand what people are going through and do your best to be there for them.
Lakshmipriya Nair Profile
Empathy is a quality and a virtue. This quality enables a person to understand and feel concern for others situation or feelings. Empathy means to identify with the problems or situations of people and understand their thoughts and condition. It is an action of being sensitive to others and their feelings without them explicitly airing them. It is different from sympathy. Empathy means 'to suffer' in Greek language. It was first used in the English language during the early 20th century.

It means putting one self in another person's mould. It is being in somebody else's shoes and knows about their emotions and entering into their way of thinking. Thus this quality assists a person in recognizing, perceiving and feeling the emotions of others. People often empathize with others through their moods and behaviours. It is quality that is possessed by great people like Jesus, Gandhi and others.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Empathy means to show that you care and are sorry for whatever situation that person may be going through.
Kimberly White Profile
Kimberly White answered
Empathy is the understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
Akshay Kalbag Profile
Akshay Kalbag answered
The word empathy is defined as a feeling of concern and understanding which one person expresses for the situation that another person is in or the feelings which another person has towards someone else. It is also defined as an emotional feeling of a person which he or she expresses freely when he or she understands or identifies a work of art.

Empathy is also a word which is used to describe the imaginative projection into the feelings of another person or a sense of total identification with another person's situations, conditions and thoughts. It is defined as the action of understanding, being conscious and aware of, being sensitive to and undergoing the same feelings, thoughts and experiences that another person has faced in the past or is facing in the present.

It is usually expressed without explicitly articulating these feelings, thoughts and experiences. The verb form of the noun empathy is to empathise and it is followed by the word with (as in, to empathise with someone else).
Stephanie Profile
Stephanie answered
I believe empathy means to actually feel what someone else is feeling, and being open minded about those feelings, and just be understanding as to why things are the way they are.
Brian Reed Profile
Brian Reed answered
Empathy means you feel the same feelings as someone else. Another way of being sensitive to others feelings it is.
Joan Profile
Joan answered
It means you can identify with and understand someone else's feelings.
hswifey Williams Profile
Empathy is being a aware of how another person may be feeling or being aware of their circumstances, without becoming personally involved.
amjed ali Profile
amjed ali answered
Dear Readers,
8th Oct 2005 was a very sad day for people of Pakistan specially for people living up-north.
around 8:52 AM there was an earthquake which destroyed the lives of so many besides taking the lives of more than 80,000 people.It was also the month of 'Ramazan', in which we fast from dawn to dusk.So many who died were fasting.

I lost my very dear sister and her husband.We rushed to Islamabad and five hours later were at the sight of the fallen building.There were many people crying ,praying for their loved ones.Every one had forgotten about breaking of the fast.A women with a whole lot of specially packed food boxes and water bottles came and started to distribute them among the people sitting there.No one knew her.

We were all sitting and waiting the whole night.There were some bodies and some people alive were brought out of the rubble.There were a lot of university students with bedsheets wrapped around their arms and legs were making in and out of there.The bedsheets were preventing their arms and legs from injuries by twisted iron bars protruding from the rubble.

I was taken away from the scene around morning prayer time.I could not sleep so I got up arround 8 in the morning and came back at 'MARGALA TOWERS'.Only one of the five blocks was no more.Me and my children were there the whole day.The authorities had guarded off the area and only the affected families were allowed near the building.I noticed for the last three days a women was sitting alone far off on a broken chair wearing the same yellow color dress. I thought she also has some one buried inside the building and no one is allowing her to come closer.So I sent my daughter to her and ask her why is she sitting so far away.By now the police and others knew us by name and were very nice to the whole group .

My daughter came back with tears in her eyes and said ,"Father you go and talk to her".On my way out some times later I went to her and asked her if she had a dear one buried inside the rubble.Her answer was,"No my brother a few years ago I met a Holy man and he told me if you are in trouble or someone else is in trouble than recite this name of God on a rosary by looking at them and their problems will be solved. I live in a village about 40 kilometers from here.I cook the food for my children in the morning and come here to pray for those who are in the fallen building and you all.You are all in trouble.I am sure God will help you."

Before this I felt this was the end of my life.My sister and her husband were very dear to me.I felt strange.After two days we found the bodies buried them and came back to Lahore.I under stood the meanings of empathy .
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I felt empathy before..for a bird..he looked at me with pained just hurt inside.he was raised in that cage..its been years..and everytime I saw him, I felt hurt, sad and angry...I wanted to set him free..but I couldnt..he even appeared in my dreams..and soon after I understood the meaning of his visit..., me feeling bad for seeing him in a cage, and me having a healed lovebird at the next morning, my lovebird was gone...its confusing..but I understood.

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