Empathy. Empathy is a human reaction to another person’s feelings. For example, when a child hurts himself and cries in pain, a mother empathizes and reacts by comforting the child. Even if the child just stubbed his finger or toe, the mother recognized that THIS event hurts the child (it may not be life-threatening, but her child needs some comfort, and she gives it to him.) The mother hugs him. By doing this, she demonstrates her empathy. She is also teaching her child how to empathize with others. This is modeling behavior. Good parents do it every day without a second thought. It happens and children grow to be caring and empathizing adults.
Now, imagine for a moment not having a mother or father who models empathy. Imagine, as a child, getting hurt and being ignored or being told it’s nothing to cry about. What type of person is that child going to become? Would you suspect the child would grow to be uncaring and non-empathetic? Unless the child has other influential adults in his life modeling empathy and hugging him when he needs hugged, the child will more than likely become an adult who lacks empathy and understanding of the afflictions and heartache of others.
How do you identify someone who lacks empathy? Easy. Watch a universally sad movie. If the person next to you isn’t crying right along with you, that’s a HUGE red flag. (And don’t take his/her lack of emotion as strength. It’s actually a weakness and a non-human characteristic.)