The Intelligence in Empathy

Empathy is a fundamental component of both emotional intelligence and social intelligence. Yet it’s a highly misunderstood term. When people think of empathy, they often think first about sympathy and compassion. However, empathy is much broader in scope. empathizing with another person isn’t the same as sympathizing with them. They are two completely different capabilities. Sympathy is about taking pity or feeling sorry for someone else. Whereas empathy is the act of listening and understanding feelings to take on the other person’s viewpoints or perspective, what they see feel and want, and truly trying to understand their situation. Empathy involves deep active listening, which goes way beyond hearing and understanding the words being used. This is a very difficult skill to master. Empathy is about being able to sense and read signals that people are sending in the course of an engagement or interaction. If you have good empathy, you’re able to read between the lines of dialogue and discern the person’s motivations. subtle but reliable signals advertised in the face, eyes, posture and rhythms of speech, signify what people are really thinking about when you’re talking with them. Your natural impulse will be to consistently try to bring attention and recognition back to yourself. by overcoming this, you begin to develop keen, intuitive senses that support your ability to be empathetic. Let’s look in more detail at the difference between empathy and sympathy. This is because it’s important to really define the difference between the two. And to have that level of clarity in your own mind. Empathy is about accurately reading others feelings. It’s about respecting others feelings. And it’s creating a solution so that both parties gain sympathy. On the other hand, it is an act of reacting to emotions, to try to prevent alleviation or suffering. It’s based upon pity. It’s not necessarily concerned with how others are feeling. When you show sympathy, you take a position of superiority. And more often than not, you really are trying to do something to alleviate your own concerns and your own emotions. So sympathy is not necessarily concerned with how others are feeling. It’s really about doing something that makes you feel better. So sympathy sets people apart, whereas empathy brings people together.