general

definition of empathy

The concept of empathy is one of the most complex since its definition is not easy. Empathy is the ability that an individual or even an animal may have to feel what another has and, therefore, share their suffering. Empathy is not comparable to other feelings since it is very peculiar. However, it can be related to other feelings such as love, compassion, companionship and dedication for the other.

The term empathy comes from the Greek, empatheia, which means in other words the physical or emotional union for which he suffers. In many ways, empathy can be compared to altruism, this being the ability to give oneself for the well-being of the other. Empathy implies a certain dedication but more than anything when it comes to accompaniment. When a person shows empathy towards another, this does not necessarily mean that they seek to solve their problem or condition, but simply support them and demonstrate their presence through permanent accompaniment. In many cases, empathy is a passing sensation that may not involve more than sharing the feeling of suffering.

Although empathy is analyzed in most cases from sociological or psychological perspectives, there is also a biological side to it since the ability to feel empathy can be present in some individuals in a much more clear and evident way than in others. This has to do with an instinctive predisposition to feel the need to accompany and protect those who need it. The lack of empathy and the total absence of solidarity, on the other hand, are characteristic features of our current society in which each individual tends to seek personal satisfaction rather than show compassion to those who need it most.