What is Empathy?

Welcome to Module 2 of the coaching program on 


The Rhythm and Blues of Empathy


In this module ,you will explore the concept of empathy and create your own definition of the term.


*          *          *

It has often been said that people who are empathetic can put themselves in someone else’s shoes, meaning they can see the world through other people’s eyes. 

Empathy is the skill that allows you to sense how someone else feels as well as see a situation from their point of view. 


Empathy can be likened to the concept of sound resonance in music which means to sound and re-sound again, like an echo.


One of the best ways to demonstrate sound resonance is with two guitars. When you pluck any string on one of the guitars, and then lightly touch the same string on the second guitar, the string on the second guitar will begin vibrating at the same frequency as the string on the first guitar.  This is an example of sound resonance - one object vibrating at the same natural frequency as a second object.

Empathy works much the same way as sound resonance. 

Empathy means a person has the capacity to be in vibrational sync with another person.   

Empathy involves understanding the experiences, behaviors, and feelings of others while they are experiencing them.   

It involves the ability to put yourself in another’s situation – not to be that other person – but to experience their situation as if it were your own.  

In other words, the empathetic person resonates, like sound, at the same frequency as the other person. 

The key point is that you remain a separate person, fully aware of your own personal feelings while imagining and understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors from their point of view.  

To do this, you have to be able to put aside your own biases, prejudices, and points of view to fully understand that person.

Empathy strengthens our communication skills by having the ability to recognize the emotional state of others, and understand their perspective.  

Just like sound resonance, it echoes the feelings of the other person. 

Being empathetic does not mean that you agree with a person’s point of view.  It just means you understand it. 

You can empathize with someone without agreeing with them.

In the next section, you will look further into why empathy is such a critical skill to have.

Why is Having Empathy So Critical?