On Empathy

The following is a three minute video clip regarding the power of connection. And the difference between sympathy and empathy:

On Empathy by Brené Brown

Brené Brown wrote the following three books:

1. The Gifts of Imperfection
2. Daring Greatly
3. Rising Strong

My therapist, Lucy, shared this video and list of books with me. I thought maybe some of you might be interested in reading them as well.

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22 thoughts on “On Empathy

    1. Laurel, I hope you had a chance to watch the videos by Brené Brown that I posted the past 2 days. I thought of you, I thought maybe she might be someone you can relate to. Her approach is great and she is so down to earth. I hope you are doing well! 🙂

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      1. I’m hanging in. Tomorrow is my birthday (but I won’t post about it) and I guess I know that it will be uneventful….no cards, no emails…not texts….oh, well.
        Loser and that WTC are going to Florida to celebrate birthdays with my children. (Losers’ is Tuesday.)

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        1. This is something that stings so deeply. And it takes a long time to come to grips with. I am so sorry Laurel! And in advance, Happy Birthday to you! One of the powerful things that Brené Brown said in these videos, is that you cannot block out the bad stuff without blocking out and numbing joy as well. And this is so true. I have experienced this for too long, but didn’t realize the price I was paying. And I see this in you. I get it, I understand it! And I don’t know what could have helped me out of it at the time. It is not that once we become vulnerable and experience joy that all the sorrow goes away. They sit side by side. And we get to have a reprieve from time to time… until the scale slowly begins to balance out and then tip in the opposite direction. This may not mean anything to you now, but I hope you will hear it in the back of your thoughts: don’t be afraid to find joy, to be vulnerable… to let even little bits of joy into your life. All of this is a process and some days are easier than others. Tomorrow is not going to be easy for you. I hope you can find a way to celebrate your birthday that softens the blow at least a little bit! “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR LAUREL, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!! You deserve to be happy!

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        2. Thank you for your words and the happy birthday. What you say actually makes sense to me but there’s a barrier around me that I know will never be breached. It’s explainable but not on here.
          Again, thank you so much. 🙂

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        3. Our lives are like the seasons. And sometimes it seems the bitter cold of winter will never end. Or we have been exiled to the desert. Everything can be dead around us and inside of us. But to our surprise life breaks through. We couldn’t hold spring time back no matter how much we tried. If you can not see that or feel it now, that is okay. Because life does have a way of surprising us. Even when it is way too long over due. Even if you find some small thing to laugh about… that is progress. This is where I started. Now I can laugh more often. More than I thought I ever could. And I am about to start tomorrow facing the unresolved pain inside of me. I don’t know what that will open up for me. But being able to experience any joy at all is huge progress. And I couldn’t see how this would ever be possible for me. If you can’t see it or feel it or believe it, that is okay. It can show up like a birthday surprise you never saw coming! 😉

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        4. Laurel, I hope you know that I am trying to plant seeds for you. Being in such darkness brings such sorrow to the soul. What you really need is a hug!

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  1. This was so, so good. I’ve seen this video before, but I had to watch it again because it’s so good, and such an important message. Would you mind if I reblogged it? I understand if you would prefer I didn’t. It was such a great post!

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  2. Yes! My therapist was a huge fan of Brene Brown and she taught me a lot about shame and empathy. I think of pity, sympathy and empathy like this: Pity is like saying, “I feel bad for you.” Sympathy is like saying, “I feel for you.” And empathy is like saying, “I feel you.” Based on the video you shared, I can see the difference in connection between the statements. Thanks for sharing this clip, it was so great, it almost made me weepy. Have a wonderful Friday! 🙂

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    1. Thank you Anita! Yes, I find myself feeling the same way when I hear her speak. She is very inspiring. We all need at least one person in our lives who really truly does get us in this way. We all long to be heard and understood and to still be loved. I plan to check out Dr. Neff’s website this weekend. I will follow up with you! I hope you have a wonderful Friday as well!

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      1. I totally agree with you, having that kind of connection is life-changing, really. I feel like if you have that with one person, you’re blessed. 🙂 I’m so looking forward to hearing how you like Dr. Neff’s meditations. I’m going to visit her website soon too. A little self-compassion tune-up, ha ha. I guess empathy starts within, eh? Thank you so much, it’s always a joy chatting with you, and learning about what you’re up to. 🙂 Take care!

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        1. Definitely! I’ve been a bit neglectful of my piano these days but I have big plans to get back to it next week now that I have a bit more focus and time to devote to it. Can’t wait, actually!! 🙂

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