Empathetic people are constantly alert to their interactions with others whether it's in line at the grocery store, on the freeway, calling customer service, talking to friends - talking to strangers. Their daily life, inside of their heads, is the subconscious questioning of how their actions are affecting another. They understand that 'There, but for the grace of God (or some cosmic force), go I.'
An empathetic person on the freeway, for example, anticipates that the person moving over into his lane without signaling will need space - and they give it to them. The empathetic person doesn't judge the other driver, but realizes how many times he himself has been inattentive or unfocused. An empathetic person doesn't assume the worst in another, but the best.
An empathetic person watches the facial expression of people he meets and notices how his words are affecting that person and modifies his discourse accordingly. He has nothing to prove about himself in his daily interactions with others and therefore endeavors to listen carefully to another's needs rather than expressing his own.
Empathy is not sympathy and therefore doesn't imply that the empathetic person is merely sorry for another's pain, but that he understands the pain and desires to alleviate it for that person.
Empathy is not judgmental. It walks with grace and balance. The empathetic person knows no borders, nor race, nor nationality. He sees everyone as he sees himself or herself; he understands the human condition and his goal is to do his humble part toward alleviating any pain and toward humbly inspiring.
An empathetic person constantly asks himself, "What would I like someone to do for me?" and does it. He understands that he can over-shoot his mark by his assumptions about another's needs and is careful to observe what those needs might be, neither embellishing nor diminishing them.
An empathetic person asks, "What can I do to help?" always being careful that he doesn't put himself above another.
An empathetic person analyzes his own motivation and when he suspects his actions are for some reward or accolade, he immediately adjusts his mind to make his motivations pure.
The empathetic person sees beyond religion, beyond philosophy, and believes most fervently, that humankind is at its best when we hold hands and walk together.
The empathetic person is one who realizes that there ARE "habits" of empathy and thus takes the time to ask such an insightful question:)