How does empathy build resilience?

When we are there for other people it does not weaken us,  it makes us stronger and more resilient. How does empathy build resilience? It helps us adapt.

In this article I will explain what empathy and resilience are. Also why empathetic people are more resilient. This article will help you become stronger and better able to deal with life’s ups and downs.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to see another persons perspective and feel what they are feeling without judging.  When you have empathy you actively listen to what the person is saying and are sensitive to their tone and body language.

But you don’t leave it at that, you then communicate so they know you understand what they are going through.


If someone is going through a relationship break up and they say “I am scared I’ll never see that person again.”

If you respond with “ You’ll meet someone else and you won’t think about them again.”

This is not empathy. You have not acknowledged what the person is feeling, you went straight to giving trite, general advice. You have not felt what they are feeling.

If you had empathy you would have felt what they are feeling, listened and let them know you are there for them, and you know how they feel.

Empathy V Sympathy

When you have sympathy for someone, you have an idea of what they feel, but you do not feel it. You will jump to offering unasked for advice because you only hear them on a surface level and from your own perspective, and not theirs.

This way you can ignore or suppress your own emotions

You have not understood the person and they will feel it.

What is Resilience?

You have resilience when you can adapt to to life’s challenges. It means you are flexible enough in your emotions, mentality and behaviour to do what you need to do to deal with a situation.

How Does Empathy Build Resilience?

Empathy build resilience by making you adaptable

There are many benefits that empathetic people enjoy, those benefits also build resilience.

Let’s have a look at them and how they make you more adaptable to change and dealing with problems…

Empathy Improves Relationships

When you improve your relationships, you create resilience by establishing a strong support system during challenging times.

If you have positive and healthy connections with others, you can rely on emotional support and advice, which will help you cope with adversity more effectively.

These relationships will act as a buffer against stress and provide you with a sense of belonging and security, reinforcing your emotional well-being.

Effective Communication Builds Resilience

Effective communication is crucial for resilience because it allows you to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs clearly. When you express yourself clearly you understand yourself better. This helps you adapt.

Effective communication also improves problem-solving skills, making it easier to find solutions during difficult situations and strengthening your ability to bounce back from challenges.

Empathy Helps Resolve Conflict

When you can resolve conflict you build resilience by preventing and addressing conflicts before they become bigger problems.

When you can handle conflicts calmly and constructively, you maintain healthier relationships and reduce the emotional toll of ongoing disputes.

Resolving conflicts also gives you self-confidence, making you better equipped to handle future challenges.

Empathy Builds Resilience By increasing Your Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing your own emotions while empathizing with others is key to resilience. It makes you adaptable to theirs and your own feelings and thoughts.

Emotional intelligence helps you regulate your emotional responses to life’s stresses. This improves your ability to connect with and support others.

Empathy Enhances Teamwork

Teamwork builds resilience by creating unity and collaboration.

When you and your team members work cohesively and support each other, you can share the burden of challenges and find collective solutions.

 Teamwork also provides opportunities for learning from others’ experiences and perspectives, strengthening both individual and group resilience.

Empathy Helps You Grow, Leading to Resilience

When you have empathy you will grow as a person. Understanding others is skill that leads you you to understanding yourself.

It’s hard to adapt to challenges when you don’t know yourself or others. When you know what makes you tick you bounce back from a negative situation quicker.

Altruism and Prosocial Behavior

Acts of kindness and generosity give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction which boost your self-esteem. Self esteem is an essential component of resilience.

Knowing that you can make a positive impact on others, will give you motivation and resilience during difficult times.

How Does Empathy Build Resilience – Final Thoughts

When you have empathy you can see the others persons perspective and feel what  they are going through without judging them.

If you want to be resilient in life you need to be able to adapt mentally, emotionally and in your actions.

Empathy makes you more resilient because it helps you understand others and therefore yourself better. This is an essential quality because if you do not know how you respond to situations you won’t be able to manage your mind and emotions.  And if you cannot manage those two things your cannot manage your behaviour and adapt appropriately.

Empathy also improves your relationships and your ability to help people, this increases your self confidence and self esteem, both of which improve your resilience. We all like to be needed.

Remember, empathy takes courage because you are letting yourself experience what another human being is going through, so you can truly help them. It’s a trait worth developing.

See also Emotional Intelligence in Relationships