Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own. You can imagine yourself in their place in order to understand what they are feeling or experiencing. Empathy facilitates prosocial (helping) behaviors that come from within, rather than being forced, so that we behave in a more compassionate manner. Although there may be a genetic basis to empathy, research suggests it is possible to boost your capacity for empathic understanding.
As a society, it may seem at times that we are becoming more individualistic and self-centered, but neurological research confirms that humans and other social animals, especially primates, are equipped with "mirror neurons," which give us the capacity to display, read and mimic emotional signals through facial expressions and other forms of body language. Mirror neurons help us share emotional experiences and become more empathic toward others.