Do you know those people who are not afraid of the emotional realm or the feelings of others…in fact they seem to deal with a range of emotions in a creative way? Have you ever witnessed someone tear up at a moving story? Or watched chill bumps appear on someone’s arms? Or how about those people who can simply name the feelings or emotions connected to a situation with great precision, but never ever shed a tear?
These people may have Empathy®.
Definition of Empathy®
People with the Strength of Empathy® sense the emotions of people around them. It’s like they have a type of emotional satellite radar – a 360º, multi-dimensional perspective of the emotional world of the people and places around them. People with the Strength of Empathy® have the unique ability to feel into the feelings of people around them, not only that, they can sometimes take on those feelings of others.
It is not uncommon to speak with a person who has the Strength of Empathy® and hear him describe a confusion that exists when trying to discern his feelings with the feelings of others. “Where do my feelings begin and hers end?” (This is actually very common.)
People with Empathy® are welcoming and provide a safe place for people to express their feelings. This ability brings a sense of peace and comfort to others. People with Empathy® see the world through the feelings and emotions of others. Therefore, they can anticipate the needs of others and provide help even before it is asked.
We often say that people with the Strength of Empathy® have a high EQ (or emotional quotient). They have the highest capacity for emotional intelligence. They can sense what other people are feeling and perhaps can name and explain feelings in ways that others simply cannot. This kind of intelligence
- Regulates emotions.
How Empathy® is Generative
Empathy® is generative in its ability to discern, name, and explain what other people are feeling. Because they can ‘feel’ what others are experiencing, they can create a strong relational connection with people who are struggling or suffering. People feel deeply understood, they feel uniquely known, more at peace, and able to express what they feel.
People with the Strength of Empathy® can bring people into a safe place with what they are feeling, helping them become more comfortable with their feelings. They might even try and reach for an emotion they cannot understand in order to learn and grow and expand their emotional world.
Examples of the StrengthsFinder Theme of Empathy®
One woman with the Strength of Empathy® walks into a busy room to fill up her water bottle. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices a colleague hunched over alone. She gently steps in. She sits down next to him and asks if he is ok. He begins to open up to her about some tragic family news he just received. Her face mirrors his sadness, she feels it…she nods and blinks her eyes slowly as he continues to share his story.
Another woman with Empathy® walks into that same busy room and notices that same man. She knows there is something wrong and even knows what must be wrong. He needs help, but it is not her problem. Instead of going up to the tearful man, she talks to a friend of his,
“Hey, he’s not doing well.” She fills up her water bottle and leaves.
Those are two different kinds of Empathy®.
What type of Empathy® do you have? The kind that steps in to help or finds others to help?