1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Every one of us has had difficult times in our lives. It's part of what makes us human. For many of us the past year has been especially trying and often fraught with uncertainty, disillusion, upheaval, and even tragedy. The idiom "put oneself in another's shoes" is especially timely and a great illustration of the concept of empathy. Empathy happens when we can imagine ourselves feeling what others are experiencing and use those perceived feelings to drive conversations, shape actions, and create new experiences. Honing and practicing empathy isn't easy. It requires patience, mindfulness, and a sense of selflessness. We don't ourselves have to go through every person's specific experiences to be able to empathize; we only need to allow an understanding of the feelings associated with those experiences. To get started on a path toward building more empathy, our librarians have compiled book lists for all ages to get you started.