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  • So what is empathy?

  • And why is it very different than sympathy?

  • Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.

  • Empathy, it's very interesting.

  • Teresa Wiseman is a nursing scholar who studied professions...very diverse professions where empathy is relevant and came up with 4 qualities of empathy.

  • Perspective taking.

  • The ability to take the perspective of another person or recognize their perspective as their truth.

  • Staying out of judgement.

  • Not easy, when you enjoy it as much as most of us do.

  • Recognizing emotion in other people, and then communicating that.

  • feeling WITH people.

  • And to me, I always think of empathy as this kind of sacred space.

  • When someone's kind of in a deep hole, and they shout out from the bottom, and they say, "I'm stuck, it's dark, I'm overwhelmed".

  • And then, we look and we say, "Hey!", and climb down. "I know what it's like down here. And you're not alone."

  • Sympathy is...

  • "Oooh!"

  • "It's bad, uh huh..."

  • ""

  • " wanna sandwich?"

  • "Umm..."

  • Empathy is a choice, and it's a vulnerable choice, because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.

  • Rarely, if ever, does an empathic response begin with, "At least".

  • I had a, yeah, and we do it all the time.

  • Because you know what?

  • Someone just shared something with us that's incredibly painful, and we're trying to silver line-ing it.

  • I don't think that's a verb, but I'm using it as one.

  • We're trying to put the silver lining around it.

  • So, "I had a miscarriage."

  • "At least you know you can get pregnant."

  • "I think my marriage is falling apart."

  • "At least you have a marriage."

  • "John's getting kicked out of school."

  • "At least Sarah is an A student."

  • But one of the things we do sometimes, in the face of very difficult conversations, is we try to make things better.

  • If I share something with you that's very difficult, I'd rather you say, "I don't even know what to say right now, I'm just so glad you told me."

  • Because the truth is, rarely can a response make something better.

  • What makes something better is connection.

So what is empathy?

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