NOUN | empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

synonyms: affinity, appreciation, insight, pity, rapport

There is an important distinction between empathy, sympathy and compassion. Both compassion and sympathy are about feeling for someone: seeing their distress and realizing that they are suffering. Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s pain vicariously, as if one has experienced that pain themselves. Empathy is about experiencing those feelings for yourself, as if you were that person.

Psychologists have identified three types of empathy: cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and compassionate empathy.

  • Cognitive empathy is understanding someone’s thoughts and emotions, in a very rational, rather than emotional sense.
  • Emotional empathy is also known as emotional contagion, and is ‘catching’ someone else’s feelings, so that you literally feel them too.
  • Compassionate empathy is understanding someone’s feelings, and taking appropriate action to help.

Immanuel Christian High School students will explicitly work to enhance their ability to empathize with others by developing listening skills (hearing what others say), watching others (engaging in life), and being active participants in the world (developing creative solutions to address needs). The opportunities to practice empathy will be further developed through the daily engagement with peers and put into practice as our students serve others as the hands and feet of Christ.

Through the consistent ability to empathize with others, our students will be better leaders, better friends, and most importantly, better followers of Christ.

Romans 12:15 (ESV)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.