How Much Do You Feel Empathy for Others?

Expand relationships by asking questions about the meaning of life

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ― Henri J.M. NouwenOut of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

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The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ― Leo Buscaglia

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Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these. ― Lloyd ShearerWalter Scott’s Personality Parade

We see a child being bullied and come to his rescue because we have been bullied and know what he feels. We may find it a bit harder to connect with the feelings of someone who is experiencing something that we have not.

However, we don’t need to be a battered wife to know she is experiencing pain. We, too, have been in situations that seemed to have no easy exit. So as we open our hearts, we know the human condition provides us with many chances to feel compassion and empathy with others.

Today there is only a simple question to help you recognize how much you are able to understand and share the feelings of another. 

Explore What Quality You Think Makes Us Human by Asking Yourself This Question

It can take a lot of effort to try and understand people who are very different from me and sometimes it’s easy to just dismiss someone as “different” and move on. Other times I want to really get to know a person who seems boring or difficult.

To what extent do I genuinely attempt to get inside “the very shell” of another person so that I might truly understand them?

What have you learned about yourself in exploring this question?
What have you learned about your friends if they have explored this question with you?

One thought on “How Much Do You Feel Empathy for Others?

  1. My comment refers to the paragraph on bullying. I NEVER thought I would be saying this however, I am constantly being bullied by another adult!!! I am a 62 year old grandmother, the BULLY is my daughter’s mother-in-law!!! Every time I have to see this individual, she puts me down, either directly, or in her passive aggressive manner! She is rude, disrespectful, and mean! I try my best to avoid her at all costs, I have to see her at the grand kids sports activities, school performances, and birthday parties. I don’t want to miss all of these things! My daughter and her husband know what she is like, however they have just given up on her. They expect me to be able to just ignore her, however, she will actually follow me around, and say rude or hateful things in order to push my buttons! They have told me in the past to stand up for myself to her. The couple of times I have, my daughter and her husband labeled ME the troublemaker!!! This individual works in a prison, and treats me as one of her inmates!!! She has no life beyond her work, kids, and grand kids, and she has been widowed for many years. I have a very full life! I am married, I work part-time, do CrossFit, ride horses etc. Because of this, I am not available to watch our grand children at the drop of a hat, unlike this individual. I believe this is the primary reason that my daughter puts up with her, while showing me NO support!!! Any suggestions on how to deal with a 66 year old bully?


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