Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tip #65: Practice empathy

Last December, I ran into this cute video, which is an animation of a fragment of one of Breneé Brown's talks, The Power of Vulnerability. It is very short (under 3 minutes), so I encourage you to watch it. It explains the difference between sympathy and empathy, and how empathy is really much more important and difficult.

It is funny and poignant, and when I saw it, it made me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many people who have shown immense empathy for me when I have needed it. They have gone down the hole and have held my hand and stayed there with me. But the clip also made me think that this is, indeed, a difficult skill and I would like myself to get better at it. It is challenging to bite your tongue and not say an "at least ..." sentence, when that's exactly what you are thinking. Or even avoiding to try to come up with a solution, when, of course, there is none, but arriving to your friend's home empty handed makes you even sadder. I also think sympathy is very valuable, maybe more than what the clip would indicate, but I agree that it is just a first step. In her book Daring Greatly, Breneé Brown also says that empathy requires some vulnerability, and that's probably another reason for my difficulty. 

Well, I hope you enjoy the clip. As always, this blog is just my "folder" of ideas to improve my life, and your comments (online and off) make it so much richer. When you see me, let me know if my exercises in practicing empathy are working. :)