One kind of emotionally engaged ethical reflection involves putting oneself in another's shoes, as it were -- imagining what things would be like from another's perspective. This kind of empathetic or sympathetic reasoning has received considerable attention in moral psychology, from the ancient Christian "Golden Rule" "do unto others..." to contemporary moral psychologists such as (to mention just a couple, William Damon and Patricia Greenspan).
In ancient China, Confucius also employs a version of the Golden Rule ("Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire"; Analects 15.25, Lau trans.; cf. 5.12) However, the next great Confucian, Mencius, offers a subtly and interestingly different view. His focus is rather on "extending" one's concern or love or respect from those close to you (or those you can see) to others farther away.
Here's the key difference, it seems to me: Whereas Golden Rule or empathy accounts start from presumed concern for oneself first, and then transfer that concern to others (perhaps by an imaginative act), Mencian extension starts from presumed concern for others nearby and then transfers that concern to others farther away (by noting that those farther away merit similar consideration).
(For example, Mencius says, "Among babes in arms there is none that does not know to love its parents. When they grow older, there is none that does not know to respect its elder brother. Treating one's parents as parents is benevolence. Respecting one's elders is righteousness. There is nothing else to do but extend these to the world" [7A15, Van Norden trans.].)
We can, of course, allow for both means of coming emotionally to take others into account in one's ethical reasoning. Both self-concern and familial concern are deep-seated. There's something especially appealing, though, about the Mencian process. It starts less egoistically and closer to the target as it were; and it might be easier logically and emotionally to justify the shift from concern for someone nearby to someone far than to justify the shift from self-concern to other concern.