According to The Wakanheza Project Agency and Business Community Organizing Guide, Empathy and Respect is:
Empathy is defined as the capacity for participating in the feelings or ideas of others and can be easily shared. When we place ourselves in the shoes of another, it becomes easier to show understanding and to offer help. Treat others as you want to be treated. Use empathetic understanding and act with respect and compassion.
Most of us are good at exercising our empathy, at least part of the time, and this principle seems like a no-brainer. I find empathy to be my very best defense against my own judgementalism. When the woman who lives across the road from me yells at her kids loud enough that we hear it at our house, my first instinct is to cluck my tongue and get a stomach ache. It is only when I really think about what might be going on for her and why she might be yelling so much that I stop the tongue clucking and start wondering if there is anything helpful I can do. I haven't figured it out yet, but probably we'll start by inviting them over for ice cream and getting to know them a little better.
Wish me luck on my exercise in empathy. Let me know how it's going for you!