Four Reasons Why Compassion Is Better For Humanity Than Empathy

Four Reasons Why Compassion Is Better For Humanity Than Empathy

via Forbes by Rasmus Hougaard

In times of crisis and social unrest, compassionate leadership can unify us as human beings, like a glue that binds us together in times of unrest. Without it, we become lonely individuals, facing challenges alone. For ten years at Potential Project, we have done research in the field of compassionate leadership and have helped thousands of executives to become more compassionate. In this work, we have faced a big challenge: Leaders mistake empathy for compassion. 

The dark side of empathy

Empathy is an important, foundational emotion for human connection. It is the spark that can ignite compassion. But on its own, without compassion, empathy is a danger for leaders. As controversial as this may sound, the reasoning is simple: Empathy is the brain’s wired tendency to identify with those who are close to us – close in proximity, close in familiarity, or close in kinship. And when we empathize with those close to us, those who are not close or are different seem threatening. When unchecked, empathy can create more division than unity.

Empathy and compassion are very different. They are represented in different areas of the brain. With empathy, we join the suffering of others who suffer, but stop short of actually helping. With compassion, we take a step away from the emotion of empathy and ask ourselves ‘how can we help?’. For leaders, recognizing the differences between empathy and compassion is critical for inspiring and managing others effectively. Remember these four main points in responding to your people with compassion instead of empathy.

1.    Empathy is impulsive. Compassion is deliberate.Recommended For You

Empathy is considered the reflexive and automatic part of our psychology which originates in the emotion centers of the brain. Empathetic feelings, thoughts, and decisions are generated mostly on an unconscious level, which means we are less aware and less intentional about those decisions. 

Compassion is considered the reflective and deliberate part of our psychology which originates in the cognitive centers of the brain. Compassionate feelings, thoughts, and decisions pass through filters of consciousness, which means we can deliberate, reflect and improve on the decisions…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #empathy #compassion