I Think We All Have Empathy

905 Words4 Pages
5 Barriers to Empathy

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”
Maya Angelou

Now that we 've talked about what empathy is and why its important, it can be easy to wonder why more people don 't practice it more often. As with most human characteristics and behaviors, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Empathy has to be developed. It is taught and practiced. We learn through words, actions and the experiences we have with important caretakers in our life. As we have pointed out before, when our teachers are less than adequate, we don 't progress as far as we could. Blocks can and will develop that greatly hamper or prevent our ability to be empathic.

The seeds of empathy begin at birth. Babies in a hospital nursery will begin to cry as they hear others crying. Experts believe this is one of the first empathic responses. It develops further through a secure attachment with the baby’s mother or main caretaker. Babies who are treated tenderly when they cry or are scared or injured will begin to develop an internal environment that will foster the feeling of empathy. If they are treated with indifference or negativity when they have needs, they will begin to build walls inside to protect themselves from their feelings of hurt, pain and anger. This is the beginning of the building of barriers or blocks that get in the way of being able to express empathy.

The role you play in your family also contributes to your capacity
Get Access