The Truth About Empathy

My cousin Jack* is in his senior year of high school, and as an end-of-the-year project, he has to interview people from different stages of life. The topic is one simple (or not-so-simple) question. I rather enjoyed creating my response, so I decided to share it with all of you here. I’m also curious about your thoughts, good readers. Please feel free to share in the comments. I suspect answers to such a question will vary wildly. And maybe it’ll get Jack extra credit. ;)

What do you know to be true about empathy?

Empathy is my superpower. It’s my secret weapon. It’s how I get through the day, the month, the year.

I’ve always lived toward the strong end of the empathy spectrum. It’s a mixed blessing, but I do believe it’s a blessing. As I see it, at its heart, empathy is the ability to understand what other people feel and even experience an echo of that feeling (sometimes a rather loud echo). I’m quite proficient at this, and it’s served me well.

It plays a role in each personal interaction I have every single day. Everything from saying good morning to my spouse, to conferencing with a coworker, to ordering a burger at a fast food place, I’m experiencing, and using, empathy. Continue reading