I was having dinner with a friend last night and we were talking about empathy and how there are two types of it:
- Basic empathy: this is basically the “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. For a lot of people, this is already quite difficult, but actually probably far from the complete picture.
- Total empathy: you’ll only be able to experience total empathy when you not only put on the other person’s shoes, but also take into account their history, experiences, environment they grew up in. Basically their whole life. It takes all of that to really know and understand someone.
The point: total empathy is impossible. The question is: where between these two (basic and total) do you fall? How far are you willing to go to totally understand another and are you willing to consider the fact that you’re simply not able to understand someone?