“You don't have to accept the invitation to get angry. Instead, practice forgiveness, empathy and encouragement” said by Dan Fallon.
Definition of empathy • Empathy can be conceptualized broadly as the ability to understand and relate to the cognitive and affective experiences of another.
Origin of term “empathy” • The term empathy is of relatively recent origin, having been coined by Titchener in 1909.
Stages • Awareness of Self • Understanding of emotions • Enhance sensitivity to the feelings of others • Take the perspective of the other person
Dimensions of empathy • Davis, Hull, Young and Warren (1983) describe conceptual model of empathy has three dimensions. • Perspective taking • Empathetic concern • Personal distress
Definition of Forgiveness • Forgiveness can be seen as a process of setting aside negative emotions, thoughts and behaviors, or motivations of avoidance or revenge towards a transgressor and transforming them into more positive emotions, thoughts, motivations and possibly behaviors.
Unforgiveness Forgiveness • Selfish love • Anger • Fear • Unempathetic behavior • Hate • Hurt feelings • Offences • Unselfish love • Empathy behaviour • Compassion for self and other Replaced
Some facts…… Unforgiveness Associated with premature death (Witvliet et al., 2001). Positively correlated with anxiety, depression and neuroticism (Lyubomirsky, 2007). Increased cardiovascular response and negatively affect the immune system (Worthington and Scherer, 2003).
Relationship with empathy Perspective taking Strongly correlated Empathetic concern Correlated in some studies Not strongly correlated Personal distress
How empathy is in the process of forgiveness? • Empathy has a prominent role in the forgiveness theory and research. • According to forgiveness theories, empathy can potentially help to counter negative, stable and global views of an offender and other describes it as fundamental attribution error that takes place during conflict.
This error involves seeing one’s own actions as a result of external situation and contextual factors (and as therefore understandable and open to improvement), while viewing offender’s actions as a result of the person they are, which is stable and unchanging over time
Negative, stable and global attributions about an offender (i.e. the offender is a bad man) and the cause of the transgression are REPLACED with the broader view of the offender and the offence.
In this way…… • The offence becomes attributed to a series of specific unfolding events, and the offender is viewed as a human who, like all of us is imperfect. • This new perspective can help injured parties compassionately understand the situation and resolve the conflict.
Final consideration in promoting empathy and forgiveness • An important distinction in the forgiveness literature involves the notion that forgiveness is not condoning another’s action. • It is inappropriate to uniformly encourage all injured parties to forgive their transgressor in case of repeated or severe offences.
Continued…. • Regardless of whether forgiveness is considered appropriate or inappropriate in a particular context, there is a general consensus that deep hurts experienced by injured parties need to be respected through carefully approaching the timing and context of promoting empathy towards an offender and through empowering injured parties to come to their own decisions about whether and how to forgive.
Empathy building interventions to foster forgiveness • Psycho-education • Empathy building exercises
Role in Peace Psychology • By forgiving others, we contribute in spreading of peace. • It has role in removal of conflicts. • It prevents from building of negative emotions. • It helps in understanding other individual’s feelings and emotions. • It helps in making strong and honest relationships.
Summary • Empathy means to understand a matter according to another’s point of view and forgiveness means setting aside negative emotions and replace them with positive emotions. If we will not empathize with other person, we cannot forgive him. When we did not forgive other person, we feel a burden on our heart. Researches had found a relationship between empathy and forgiveness. People who had a disposition to empathize, are more prone to forgive other person. Forgiveness and empathy has role in overall spreading of peace. There are techniques which can enhance empathy disposition and ultimately helped in forgiveness process.