Compassion is the ability to feel for another living being. Empathy is the ability to not only understand another’s feelings, but also to become one with that person’s distress: to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they’re going through in that situation.
Naturally, these are prerequisites for a community, or a country, to achieve a state of respectfulness, openness and unity.
Without empathy and compassion, we cannot be truly effective listeners or communicators (and vice versa). And without those attributes, how can we possibly get closer to understanding one another and finding our common ground?
Read more, explore, and don't hesitate to suggest other resources we might include.
This evidence-based article discusses different types of empathy and the ways in which it can be used to help or deceive others or to protect ourselves. (The Conversation Jan 8, 2017)
Writing in The Atlantic, Nicholas Kristof says “empathy is a willingness to understand an individual’s situation… (an) emotional exercise that could in turn inspire compassion.” (Oct 15, 2015)
Read about St. Francis of Assisi, Beatrice Webb, John Howard Griffin, Günther Wallraff and Patricia Moore -- and consider practicing experiential empathy. (Yes! Magazine Nov 6, 2014)
This article in The World Bank blog (Aug 25, 2017) talks about the need to teach children so that they can use empathy and compassion to build true connectedness.
The renowned psychologist reports on different forms of compassion, from the most elementary to the most exceptional and heroic. (Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, June 21, 2010)
Empathy can be cultivated for use as a radical force for social transformation; start by cultivating curiosity about strangers. (Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Nov 27, 2012)
Born out of a prize-winning TEDTalk by author and religious historian Karen Armstrong, this initiative is creating a global compassion movement based on the golden rule.
This section of The Charter for Compassion website includes language on the Role of Compassion in Community Building and the Contagion of Compassionate Actions.
Among the standouts, per cultural historian Roman Krznaric, are Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi and actress Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry. (Mar 27, 2010)
Cultural historian and author Roman Krznaric reveals how the art of empathy can not only enrich one's own life but also help to create social change. (YouTube Mar 21, 2012)