Mastering A Skill Essay

770 WordsApr 19, 20094 Pages
Empathy is a skill that everyone should strive to master. Most of the time, when a person hears that someone empathizes with the, is that they sympathize with them. But these two words, empathy and sympathy, are not synonymous. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner”. In simpler terms, this could be interpreted to mean that Person “A” observes Person “B” and can feel, understand and relate to Person “B” without actually hearing the details of why Person “B” is feeling or acting a certain way. “Margaret” just got home from a bad day at work and “Steve” can see and understand that she had a bad day without “Margaret” having to say a thing. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sympathy as “an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects on similarly affects the other”. This can be interpreted to mean that two people feel and understand the same thing because they shared an experience. Developing empathy is more important than sympathy because we all lead different lives. We experience different things on a daily basis and react to those experiences in different ways. In order to be effective listeners, we need to learn to empathize, not sympathize, with the people around us. If we can take the time to observe those around us- their demeanor, expressions, body language- and put ourselves in their “shoes”, then we would be able to communicate more effectively. This skill should be incorporated in an individual’s process of building rapport and learning about his or her audience. It’s important to begin learning how to employ empathy at a

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