Empathy in human connection

I have  been thinking to write about ’empathy’ for many months. Finally while reading Prof. Simon Baron Cohen’s book ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy’ I decided to write on this simple yet most overlooked word ’empathy’ from very basic to bit advance level. In the end of the video I’ll make reference to book ‘Zero Degree of Empathy’ and a relevant video.

To start, I must say we often sympathize with people without really understanding their real emotions, situations and responding accordingly. This is the point where we actually confuse sympathy with empathy. I would start with a simple video from Sesame Street where Mark Ruffalo explains ’empathy’. Although it is meant to be for children but I have realized as a adult we often overlook empathy too.

Now lets take step further to understand difference between empathy and sympathy. How empathy is much powerful while sympathy is not really that helpful.

From above video we have seen empathy has four main elements (shown in following figure).

Now lets take conversation to bit advance level where Professor Simon Baron speaks about empathy while dividing empathy between two components ‘cognitive’ and ‘affective’. He further explains how psychopaths are different than rest of the populations. In addition to following video you might find his book ‘zero degree of empathy’ interesting to read.

The simple thought follow of the blog is that we have to realize the power of empathy in human connection while realizing other’ emotions (cognitive part) and should act accordingly (affective part). Without any of these two components we cannot really be empathetic.