The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. We often go through similar experiences, or have similar challenges. When we are going through a rough time, having someone in our corner who understands what we are going through can often be invaluable, and validates the challenges we are grappling with. Equally, receiving some form of acknowledgement from other people is important even if they haven't been through what you are going through - simply understanding something is tough can help colleagues, friends, and chosen family feel seen and supported.
There are three types of empathy experts have identified:
1) Cognitive: empathy by thought only, not feelings.
2) Emotional: feeling the other person’s emotions.
3) Compassionate: feeling the other person’s pain and taking action to help.
See: Compassion and Belonging