Can you think of a time that you have felt depressed, or bitterly disappointed, or ashamed, or hurt? Do you remember what you wanted in those early moments or hours or days, or possibly even weeks or months or years? What kind of response did you most need from others at that time?
Chances are, you longed for empathy from those you care most about.
In this 3-minute video, Brene Brown, an expert on shame and vulnerability, explains a distinction between empathy and sympathy.
Sympathy is feeling bad for people who hurt. Empathy is courageously and compassionately hurting with people who hurt.
Empathy is choosing to enter into a painful emotional place within themselves, so that they know how to be with and connect with their partner or friend who is hurting. Empathy isn’t trying to fix the problem. It isn’t trying to make them feel better. It is letting them know that they don’t have to hurt alone. It is mourning with those that mourn. It is connection.