There is a story about how Queen Victoria, who, upon noticing her foreign guests drinking from their finger bowls, drank from hers as well, which demonstrated the apotheosis of empathy.
President Bill Clinton once said that he wanted the U.S. to be known for the power of its example, not the example of its power. I can think of no better allegory demonstrating this concept than this about Queen Victoria. One can imagine that, at some point, the foreign guests discovered their faux-pas and, when they did, imagine their thoughts about this gracious, empathic lady. For me the lesson here is that in trying to make others feel at ease, we are sending a powerful message about ourselves and those whom we represent.
Good luck on your journey!