Empathy is a very important quality to develop, for many reasons.

It has its seeds in our DNA, but if not nurtured, adults often lack this important human quality, and skill, and that results in relationship problems – and more abuse and violence in our society.

People tend to confuse Empathy with Sympathy; but as Brene Brown teaches,Empathy is very different than Sympathy, “Empathy fuels connection, Sympathy drives disconnection.”

Here is a short video by Brene Brown on Empathy

We are researching and developing procedures to help people nurture and grow accurate empathy – for relationships we can all value.

Empathy Seeds & Roots (related to very young children) information
The earliest seeds and roots of empathy start in the genetic code, grow within the fetus, and start to flourish in the baby.

Because we have Mirror Neurons, our Central Nervous System (C.N.S.) picks up and re-presents what is happening within another person – within our own C.N.S.

As is poignantly described in Roots of Empathy, babies naturally tend to connect with other “safe feeling” people.

Emotional Empathy: As our neo-cortex grows and complex connections and ways of thinking develop (interacting with environmental input), the growth and activity of the neo-cortex “buries”, or makes weaker, some innate reactions (and/or strengthens alternative C.N.S. functions) like the innate, natural openness to attunement and connection with the person in our presence. There are other similar changes within a human C.N.S., like the Grasping reflex, the Stroking Plantar Foot reflex, and others. This process relates directly to the qualities/roots of Emotional Empathy (not Cognitive Empathy).

Cognitive Empathy: Is a product of the C.N.S. maturing and developing the ability to see the bigger picture – and consider many factors that might affect another person’s life (something a baby’s C.N.S. cannot do). And, of course, the development of the neo-cortex is largely dependent on a young person’s experiences in the world (e.g., nutrients available, and interactions with other people).

Keep in mind we are working from a functional (not only theoretical) perspective , and we see three main “types” of empathy as important to human relationships, and life:

  • Emotional Empathy
  • Cognitive Empathy
  • Empathy Behavior

Other people have written or taught about other types of empathy that can be developed, such as kinesthetic empathy; when a dancer/director goes blind, but can tell by the vibrations and sounds from the wooden stage if a dancer has good form and is moving correctly, or not.

Link to our Functional Human Empathy (for older children and adults) chart:

A visual empathy path

Mindful Health Advantage and Empathy,

For a life you value.