What is Empathy?…
In an earlier article I say that I’m not really sure what empathy is and therefore I can’t answer the question about whether or not I have the capacity to feel it.
On my research for the meaning of the word Empathy I came across an article that describes the difference between sympathy and empathy.
I meant to leave the following comment at the site, but decided I might as well follow up upon my own article instead and post it here. This is what I wrote:
I looked up this article because I recently found that what I thought of as empathy is what others think of as sympathy.
We often hear people say that empathy means to feel someone else’s feelings. This seems absurd to me, we can never feel somebody else’s emotions, it wouldn’t be their emotions if we could, it would be ours.
The author of this article has made a good job on trying to clarify the distinction between the two. As I read it I think: Okay, now I understand. And yet, in the end I still feel a little confused. Where does sympathy end and empathy begin?
The question I am researching is the claim that some people cannot feel empathy. I am sometimes told I am one of them. But when I read this article I can think of many occasions where I’ve felt what you describe as empathy, only (perhaps) not in quite as many and quite the same kinds of situations as others would.
I am also still left with the question about how others would judge my capacity to empathize. And this kind of judgment seems to take place very much in a gray area of emotional differences people in between, for when do we feel enough empathy or empathize with the right kind of feelings to be considered capable of empathy?