Have you ever felt carried along by the tide of emotions? I feel that way all the time. You might characterize me as emotionally sensitive. That can be good. And that can also be tricky sometimes, when it comes to ranking high on the empathy scale.
According to Merriam Webster, my go-to source when I want to know the nuances of words (and that’s a favorite pastime for me!), empathy is defined as ‘the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.’
When is empathy appropriate? Inappropriate? Are ‘appropriate’ or ‘inappropriate’ the right words to use? Can we really know what people are feeling if they don’t share their feelings with us? How much are our own feelings a form of projection or transference?
Are there certain people for whom we shouldn’t feel empathy towards? Criminals? Mean people? People you don’t care for, for whatever reason? Should empathy be black or white? Should we have empathy for everyone simply because they are human? Should it be dictated by the situation?