What is Empathy Anyway?
“the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”
Some people might wonder, why is this a big deal? They might say, it’s really not complicated this empathy thing and I’m actually usually pretty good at it.
Upon further reflection, we might find ourselves less empathetic than we would have thought. For instance, I started thinking about where I lack empathy and I easily came up with a few. Such as if someone is confrontational or overly harsh with me or if I’m driving and I get honked at or cut off. In fact, if apathy is the opposite of empathy then I can even identify with having stronger feelings than basic apathy. At times I can even feel hostile. The point is, we are human and there are times when empathy doesn’t come easily and doesn’t feel natural. When we are not empathetic, we are even capable of destructive, irrational and harmful behavior. This doesn’t represent our best or highest selves.
By contrast, if we were always empathetic there would be less conflict, less poverty, less disconnect, less hate and the world would surely be a kinder, gentler, more pleasant and safer place.
This is where we come in.
Fun Fact: Empathy can be practiced, learned and improved upon.
Kuki commissioned the Empathy Series because she knows how much of an impact an empathetic classroom can have on the quality of learning and relationships in her classroom. Visual representations of empathy help to promote empathetic behaviour.
It’s a new school year, a chance to put our best foot forward. Why not invest ourselves in cultivating empathy in our own contexts?
We can train and encourage empathy by flexing our empathy muscles. DragonBunny books would like to encourage you to take on the empathy challenge. At home, at work, in the car, classroom, dining room, internet or gym.