Dealing with persons suffering from depression requires a lot of things. We have to be patient. We need an understanding of the illness and how it has to be treated. We need to seek professional help, too. But above all, while helping a depressed person, we need empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other person. It is not about us, it is about the other person. It is to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person, and imagine how it is to be them, and not force our worldview on that person.
It is not about understanding the logical concept of empathy alone, it is an emotional process. In being empathetic, we develop the capacity to imagine what is to be in the position of the other person, and not just feel compassionate about it. Just feeling concerned, compassionate or pity for the other person would be sympathy, not empathy.
Of course, one does not compulsorily have to be empathetic in order to help a depressed person, but a little empathy goes a long way.
So, how empathetic are you? Take the quiz.
This was produced in association with The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
Created from Greater Good quiz.