The Empathy Argument
Of all the arguments that have been but forward in support of blood shedding, the empathy argument is perhaps the only one that has some merit. However it cannot be used as a justification for blood shedding because it is outweighed by other opposing factors.
The empathy argument contends that acts of self-harm allow us to empathize with those who were the victims of physical harm on Ashura. Some also believe that these acts serve as symbolic demonstrations for their personal willingness to undergo the same suffering as the victims of Karbala, had they been in the same situation.
However considering the other negative factors involved with these acts, and the fact that the Ahlulabyt (a) never performed them, it is no doubt better to refrain from them.
The Ahlulbayt (a) never performed such acts as a show of empathy and thus it is better for us not to.
The rituals often fail to bring about empathy and are not always accurate forms of what the martyrs had to suffer. The pain that a person feels when they hear about what happened to Imam Hussain (a) easily outweighs any empathy that may be achieved from acts of blood shedding. If a person wishes to empathize with Imam Hussain (a) then it is better for them to emulate the characteristics and life struggles of the Imam (a) instead of performing temporary acts of blood shedding. They could better their acts of worship, their good deeds towards humanity and their struggle against injustice. Those are more noble forms of emulation and empathy. Surely a person who truly loves the Imams (a) will want to emulate their characteristics?