Empathy to me describes the purest level of selflessness one individual can demonstrate towards another. We are all separate souls with different finger prints mapping out our path which makes it impossible for one person to feel exactly what the next is experiencing. Because of our individuality, empathy is the greatest effort put forth in understanding one another.
Why is this important? Humans are social creatures. Many of the feelings we experience come from other humans. In order to form a true connection with someone we must try our best to understand them. This empowers positive communication, a feeling of trust and respect as well as an overall positive vibe for both parties. We are human so why not use our social skills, unique to our species, to bring more light into the world and into our lives.
I am currently in my clinical rotation at a subacute setting where many of the patients I see have very intense medical conditions, the majority of which are life threatening. I have no personal experience regarding a life threatening condition but my job as a physical therapist is not only to improve the functional ability of each patient to his or her highest capacity, but also to promote an overall positive well being for each and everyone of them.
Healthcare involves the whole person. The only way for me to accomplish my duty as a physical therapist is to empathize.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes so you can figure out how to take the next step forward, because sometimes they may not be able to do it alone.