📅 Thought for today:
‘Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of “You’re not alone.”‘
— Brené Brown
#thoughtfortoday #empathy #empathic #gifts #value #celebrate #nojudgement #Christmas
Continuing my week of thoughts about Christmas gifts we can give which are valued by the receiver but require no financial outlay.
So far this week I have mentioned companionship and acceptance, today my thoughts turn to empathy.
To be empathetic (empathic) requires listening to and understanding someone else’s lived experience. What they are feeling, and thinking, about their circumstances may be very different to what we would feel and think in the “same” circumstance.
It cannot be the same, because we are not the same. So understanding the difference (accepting) and understanding their perspective, will help us offer empathy.
Empathy requires us to also fight the urge to judge, to think “why don’t they just…” or “I would deal with this better/differently”.
I am often asked about the difference between empathy and sympathy and by often I mean virtually every week.
Sympathy has two meanings – either pity or sorrow for someone else’s experience; or shared experience. In either case, it is from OUR perspective. With empathy, we seek to understand and accept the feelings of another person as they experience them, from their perspective, without judgement.
Why is this valuable?
Well, quite often we don’t actually want someone to tell us what to do, tell us what they would do, or judge us. We want someone to simply listen and understand, and to accept us as we are.
For me, to find a quote relevant to this I looked no further than Brené Brown and recommend her short YouTube video on the meaning of empathy.