So empathy is not sympathy or compassion, it demands us to understand other's thoughts and feelings.
Therefore, empathy takes a deep reflection on ourselves, the way we relate with others, and the responses we tend to give. To increase empathy we need to put in practice some other soft skills such as active listening, otherwise, we can not fully understand one another. The development of empathy also challenges our culturally-rooted stereotypes and prejudices and leads us to a deeper understanding of the other person's position. This is why volunteering will definitively challenge you and help you to build a more empathic attitude.
We could say that empathy stands against individualism. This aspect is essential nowadays in a society that tends more and more to an individualistic and predatory way of existing. In this sense, is important to clarify that empathy is not restricted to a two-person connection, collective empathy it's possible. This is clear in traditional non-western cultures where empathy involves an inclusive perspective that focus both on the individual and significant others as well as in the social context.
Nevertheless, empathy is not just about an introspective change, the action is important too. So we get an empathic position, but what do we do about it? What can we do? We can understand inequality and injustice but if we ignore the action, empathy won't matter.
This is how we understand empathy, it's about understanding the projects, the communities, the volunteers, and working together. It's not an individual point of view, it's something we built, is how the bonds of the network are sustained in time, and you can be part of it.