Empathy is an important skill that allows you to understand and share the emotions of the people around you. There are a few types of empathy, all of which have their own unique place in the network of the brain. Affective empathy helps you to share emotions with people around you. Cognitive empathy helps you to understand the emotions of the people around you. Emotional empathy allows you to feel the emotions of others as if they were your own and control them within yourself. Let’s take a closer look at why empathy is important and how it can be used on a daily basis.
Is Empathy A Humanity-Based Emotion?
Empathy has a deep connection with self-awareness, which is one of the main tenants of being human. However, empathy is not limited to humanity. Many animals have shown evidence of feeling empathy for other animals when they exhibited physical or emotional pain.
Why Do Humans Need Empathy?
It is important to have empathy because it allows us as humans to understand what and how others feel. These feelings then enable us to respond in an appropriate manner to the situation. Social behaviors are largely based on empathy with more empathy equaling a helpful society and less empathy a more selfish society.
While empathy is important to create a helpful society, it can also have an inhibiting effect on social interactions. In extreme cases, empathy may even lead to behavior that can be considered amoral. For example, an emotionally empathic person may be unable to process their feeling when faced with someone who has been in a terrible accident. So, instead of helping that person, they may instead turn away to reduce their exposure to the extreme emotions the scene has triggered.
Using Empathy to Dictate Social Behavior
Empathy is important in daily life even when there are downsides to the emotion. It has a dramatic effect on social behavior on both the positive and negative sides of the scale. Humans with a high number of psychopathic traits happen to be very empathetic. Their responses to certain situations that cause moral dilemmas for others are able to respond in a more utilitarian fashion. For example, they would be more willing and able to sacrifice the life of one person to save 10.
At the same time, many empathetic people want to help everyone. However, due to the overwhelming feelings caused by emotional empathy, they end up not helping anyone causing even more loss. Empathy has a direct effect on social behaviors, but using empathy to mold social behaviors correctly is the key.