empathy: (1) the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it, (2) the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
At my school, empathy is kind of a big deal. They drill empathy into us from day one. It’s important. If you are to be a good doctor, you must be able to relate to and understand the feelings of your patients. Apparently empathy is a difficult concept for some folks.
I’m not one of them. I get empathy. Maybe I get it a little too well.
I get a visceral reaction to the humiliation of others. I passed out during my first laceration repair because I couldn’t handle the thought that our patient was in pain. I cried on my way to school for the loss of someone I didn’t know because I knew his loved ones were in such pain.
When will I get a handle on this? When will I be able to act appropriately when people around me are in pain? I can’t be the doctor who cries with her patients, but I don’t want to lose my empathy, caring, compassion…