Remember the images that flooded the media when a young boy fell into Gorilla enclosure at a zoo? The shock when a Gorilla sat with and protected that child until help came. That was empathy at its best and showed that it isn’t just a human trait.
Being empathic can be very hard at times for it means you fully appreciate, and have insight into, the pain of another. Having empathy means tuning in to and being emotionally available to the other person. Sometimes just your body language speaks volumes, words are unnecessary. You just need to ‘be there’ and be seen to care, and to value the person, or creature, you are with.
Of course there are some people who are unable to make that emotional link to others, cannot understand another’s pain. That is in my view very sad. I feel for all they are missing in their lives, and l feel for family, or friends, who care for them, with little or no emotional return. These people can misuse an empathy type stance to show themselves as very charismatic and use personal interactions and relationships for their own selfish ends.
Most of us do have the ‘empathy gene’, without which we would have no interest in others. This would mean the gradual decline of humankind as we wouldn’t love, or care what happened to anyone or anything! What an awful thought, far worse than being a strong empathy feeling for the world.
Luckily for the world in general there are those whose empathy and compassion is such they work tirelessly to help others.