Currently, empathy and compassion are words that are being used so often to explain relating to the people around us. But what exactly is empathy? Empathy, to put it simply, is allowing ourselves to see a situation from another person’s perspective and feel what they are feeling. It is where we choose to decenter our own experiences and center the experiences of the other person. 

Empathy has many sides to it. It is a skill that takes time and practice to develop and refine. Some of us are better at it than others while some of us have had to practice feeling empathetic. Empathy is crucial currently because honestly, we are all going through a difficult time. The human experience is itself so complex and vast that it isn’t possible (or fair) to compare different experiences. Everyone has their own struggles and their own ways of coping with those struggles. Learning to see people as complex has helped me become more empathetic to the people I meet on a daily basis.

One factor that helps in building empathy is being curious about the other person’s experiences. Curiosity tells us that there is more to know and understand. When we operate from a space of curiosity, we are not making assumptions or labeling the person. This changes how we respond to the people around us. Operating from a space of curiosity allows us to shift from statements to questions. We allow ourselves to listen more. 

With empathy, it is also crucial that we allow ourselves to be empathetic to ourselves. It is important that we accept that we are human and that we are going to make mistakes. There are times when we may not act in accordance with our values or our best intentions. We may say or do things that may have caused hurt. Allowing self-empathy and self-compassion gives us space to take accountability for our actions, apologize and make things right. 

Empathy allows us to be present with that person. However, we are not looking at solving anything for the person. We are seeing it from their perspective and while we acknowledge the desire to want to help the person, we are also mindful of our limitations and our boundaries. While we cannot change the circumstances for the person, we can choose to be present with them. 

In case you need more help with this, you can always reach your counsellor at

Select the option “Student Wellness” to connect with the counsellor.

Posted by cmradmin

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