Empathy is the ability to step outside of your own bubble and into the bubbles of other people. Empathy is the ability that allows us to be useful creatures on this planet; without empathy, we are a waste of oxygen in this world. Without empathy, we are lower than animals. Empathy is the ability that allows us the perception of things around us, outside of ourselves; so a person without empathy is a limited human being, someone who will only live half of a life.
There are two types of empathy: the positive empathy and the negative empathy. When we are fully carried away by the unaware activities of the mirror neurons, we are under the trap of negative empathy. The negative empathy generates attachments. Out of these attachments suffering follows. Negative empathy is a kind of reaction to a situation, whereas positive empathy is internal response of peace love and tranquility... In positive empathy, your deep tranquility, joy and peace activates the mirror neurons of the others, whereas in negative empathy your mirror neurons are activated by the disturbance of others.
I think people believe empathy to be compassion, that compassion is an inner sense (a sense of the soul). But empathy is a sense, while compassion isn't a sense. Empathy is an affinity, a communion, a comprehension. They say that empathy is compassion, but I think that the two are independent of each other. You see, through empathy you will feel what another is feeling, including all those plans for manipulation and persuasion. You will feel everything, not just the parts that make you take compassion for the person, but also all the red flags! You see, empathy is a sense that works with the other senses such as foresight and intuition. So, we can feel compassion but we have to move with empathy.
Misery comes to miser; joy comes to wiser. (A Very Hot Cup of Tea, Empathy) Juvenile invites, youth tries, adult applies, and the old man dies. (A Straw Man, Empathy) In everyone, there lives a superhero. (The Medicine Man, Empathy) Faith is the strongest word in any dictionary. (The Wisdom Beard, Empathy) I've entered into your feelings; it's your turn now. (Empathy)
Empathy isn't just listening, it's asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires inquiry as much as imagination. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see.
Empathy is the new measurement of everything. It doesn't matter what religion you have, what God you profess to believe in; it doesn't matter how rich you are or how poor you are, what church you go to or what church you don't go to; the only measure of character is empathy. Do you have empathy? You are a person of valuable character. Do you not have empathy for your fellow man? None of your rules and opinions, dogma and preferences, are going to save your soul. So I say it's empathy. Empathy is the new universal measurement of a man.
You see, it's about empathy. It's not about you. It's about empathy. It's not even about caring or being kind. It's about empathy. Do you think that all people who can empathize with other people (and rocks and trees), are desirous of being kind, at all times? Of course not! Empathy often hurts, and is often difficult. But we experience this difficulty, because we are human beings, because human beings are designed to connect with other living and non-living things!
I think that many people do not know what empathy is. They think empathy is understanding their own selves and then connecting with like-minded individuals, who of course will understand them since they all share the same ideas. Empathy has nothing to do with likemindedness; it has to do with being able to feel the things that others feel, even when you do not share the same ideas, life story, or absolutely nothing at all! When I hear someone say, 'I don't understand you', that makes me feel sorry for them. I can even understand a rock, and they can't understand me? My pet rocks have more empathy than they do.