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Individuals with similar styles of expression and temperament communicate smoothly without any hitch because they understand one another pretty well and there are no or very little chances of misunderstanding and individual differences among them. Various research findings in the contemporary fields of communications and psychology associate this relational connection with the concept of empathy. It is apparent that empathy plays an important role in determining the nature of interpersonal relationships. Therefore, empathy remains the most fundamental aspect of human behavior especially when it comes to interpersonal relations.
According to theW., empathy refers to a psychological status under which a person positively identifies with another’s feelings. Empathy begins when an individual develops an inherent conscience towards the feelings of another person. The gradual affective process not only involves critical examination of other peoples’ emotions but also figuring out how they feel. Obvious signs of empathy may include among others hugs, tender touch or high five for proud individuals. W. maintain that empathy is nurtured out of the pain that is derived from affection and not sensory motor components of the human body as widely speculated by classical behavioral psychologists .
Empathy has a direct influence on the interpersonal relations between different individuals. It helps one identify the right perspective to take, strike an appropriate rapport with various people especially in the cases of compassionate care, and understand why individuals behave as they do from time to time. Empathy is a complex concept that cuts across many disciplines and would also vary with an individual’s temperament across the gender. This paper therefore provides background information about empathy and its role in shaping interpersonal relationships. The paper further addresses the significance of relational connections in the creation of attitudes, the origin of empathy, and its general perception in the wider human society. Similarly, the obstacles to empathetic feelings are addressed alongside other traits that make an individual empathetic or not
Empathy and interpersonal relations
Showing empathy towards other people is the only useful approach that helps stigmatized individuals improve and change their attitudes towards other groups and the environment where they live in . Studies have also shown that empathy is vital for the promotion of an individual’s ability to take up roles and focus on observable aspects of the situation at hand. These salient features of empathy qualify it as an ideal remedy for the much needed recovery from all kinds of depression and detrimental childhood and adolescent past experiences.
Persons with the compromised ability to perceive feelings are commonly referred to as the Autistic individuals. Such individuals always have a difficulty in recognizing certain circumstances and events which others would obviously interpret in different ways. Autism is the main obstacle that hinders the cognitive development of empathy considering that that latter (empathy) is a function of mental processes and the corresponding innate differences. It is most notable that empathy begins with the personal awareness of other people’s feelings- the conscience of other people’s feelings. However, all these existing hindrances to empathy are closely linked to lack of self-conscience . These hindrances usually arise from the painful or traumatic past experiences an individual is exposed to during his/her early stages of growth and development. Examples of such experiences include child abuse, rape and sexual abuse during adolescence, domestic violence, unhealthy family relationships, neglect, and physical or emotional abuse. These groups of neglected and abused individuals largely exhibit an aggression following their emotional and psychological needs that are lying unmet. Similarly, they develop defense mechanisms and growing resistance against the feeling of compassion particularly for the pain of another person.
Innate emotional sensitivity is the primary drive towards the feeling of empathy. Nevertheless, individual’s emotional intelligence plays a significant role in making decisions that provoke him/her to take actions that portrays the feelings of empathy. Although no one can share in another person’s feelings with utmost accuracy and precision , social interaction contributes greatly towards the relational empathy. Empathetic individuals have the potential of comprehending other people and resonate with them voluntarily or involuntarily. They can scan another persons’ psyche for mental processes such as thought and feelings at the present or future times hence their inherent sensitivity to others and the surrounding environment. The traits of empathetic individual can be attributed to their deep inner sensitivity which allows them to master their innate feelings through acts of being compassionate and considerate to others.
Additionally, other parallel studies have shown that empathy is genetic in nature. The gene bound hereditary traits, responsible for empathy are carried within the structures of human DNA, could be passed on from parents to the future offspring. Others also believe that a spiritual aspect of human beings also plays a role in development of empathy. Imminent traits of empaths include quietness and taking considerable long before one accepts compliments. They exhibit higher degree of expression in all areas of emotional connection and may talk openly and at times quite frankly. Generally, empaths are non-violent, peace makers and in most cases non-aggressive.
Empathy is a relative concept based on personal experiences. Taking another persons’ perspective and appreciating their values is a recipe for maintain social stability. The least empathy towards family members stems from failure to understand emotions of people around us: mother, father, siblings and close relatives. False ego leads to lack of understanding and use of forced rules in relationships. Least empathy will be exhibited by violent members who are consummate liars and manipulators. Hostile parents and lack of nurturing may create inverse association of children’s attitudes towards parents and hence lack of empathy . For these reasons, I have least empathy for my father.
Parenting is long continuous process which requires parents to be good shepherds. A child needs to get guidance and instructions from veteran brains of both parents in rational manner. Childhood is a vulnerable stage because children learn a lot from childhood experiences and the connections that they establish with their parents.
I have most empathy for my mother due to the strong connection and unfailing bond between mothers and their daughters from childhood. Emotional connections are more pronounced in women since they enjoy a lot of emotional closeness and flexibility than men. This makes women better dispenser of mutual empathy in relationships ahead of adult individuals with certain proportion of ego maturity who assist child understand various challenges they face cheerfully.
Empathy has both process and behavioral perspectives though most theorists define empathy in terms of behavioral. However, mental processes could also be used to place more emphasis but the degree depends on other factors. Although I’m empathetic, dimensions of empathy remain complex depending on one’s experiences and relationship with the people. So far, very little is known on how empathy works though the information given in this paper offers an overview of how empathy works in relation to interpersonal communications. “Empaths believe in finding a solution for the peace of mind”.