The Power of Empathy – the Good and the Bad

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” —Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Many have written about empathy, and most conclude that the ability to empathize is essential to inter-personal, professional and commercial success. But are there different facets of empathy? And can too much empathy be detrimental? Two types of empathy are “cognitive” and “emotional”. Emotional empathy is also known as “sympathy”. What’s the difference between them? I like to explain this by using an analogy of how we respond to watching a movie. Imagine a movie scene where a character is crying. If you shed a tear as well because you share the same feelings, you’re being emotionally empathetic, or sympathetic. If you don’t cry, but you fully understand and appreciate why the movie character is crying, then you’re […]