The surprising downsides of empathy - Deepstash

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The surprising downsides of empathy

bbc.com

A definition of empathy

The German word for empathy is "Einfühlung" and was coined in the late 1800s. It means "feeling into."

Empathy is about understanding other people's feelings. Some think empathy means the ability to read fellow human beings or simply feeling connected to people. Others...

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In recent years, researchers have found that misplaced empathy can lead to exhaustion and apathy, and prevent you from helping the people who need you.

Worse, people's empathetic tendencies can be used to manipulate them into aggression and cruelty.

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Psychologists point out that defining empathy as the act of stepping into someone's mind to experience their feeling can lead to some tricky moral dilemmas.

  • We are moved to open our hearts (or wallet) when presented with a case such as a charity campaign where a sing...

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We naturally have more empathy for people closer to us. Our empathy and affinity for others decline the further people are from us.

But our natural empathy for those closer and more similar to us can be used to provoke antipathy towards those who are not like us

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While shared happiness is a very pleasant state, sharing someone's suffering, such as a loved one, can be very difficult.

Our brain activity in the regions associated with pain is partially mirrored. At worst, people feel "empathic distress," which leads to apathy, withdrawal, an...

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  • Empathy is about stepping into someone's shoes.
  • Compassion is a feeling of concern for another person's suffering, which moves the person to help.

To be compassionate, you don't have to share somebody's feelings. It's the idea of exte...

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