Why Having Empathy is Nonnegotiable

B. Pagels-Minor
4 min readJul 7, 2021
Photo by Zuzana Ruttkay on Unsplash

What comes to mind when you think of empathy?

For me, empathy is all about removing barriers to understand where someone else is coming from (even if I don’t always agree with them) by choosing to see THEIR feelings, thoughts, and experiences from THEIR perspective versus my own. Similarly, it’s also being understood on the same level by my colleagues, friends, and family members.

Of course, to fully understand and appreciate the role empathy can play in your life, you need to clearly understand what it is (and isn’t), why it’s so important, and how you can make it a part of your day to day life.

So, what is empathy?

Mariam Webster defines empathy as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences in either the past or present without having the feelings, ideas, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

Unlike sympathy, which often means feeling sorry or bad for someone else’s suffering, empathy requires you to feel and share someone else’s feelings without making it about you. Or in the words of Brené Brown, “it means to be able to see the world as others see it.”

But why is being more empathetic even more important today than before?



B. Pagels-Minor

Product | Truthteller | 🏳️‍⚧️ | Investor | Ex @netflix @apple @sproutsocial | Advisor @lets_glo_now | B.O.D. @HowardBrownHC @ywcachicag @NUAlumni