The Power of Empathy

When a loved one is facing a difficulty, we desperately want to make it better. Someone’s hurting? We want to soothe the pain. A friend is frustrated because their child on the spectrum is struggling in therapy? We want to ask a million questions and find that silver lining so we can say, “At least he’s been in therapy since a young age” or “At least he can say a couple words.” And while telling someone to look on the bright side may seem like the best course of action, trying to fix his/her problem yourself can actually cause distance.

In the following animation, Dr. Brené Brown discusses the differences between empathy and sympathy, and urges us to connect with one another — and that can be as simple as acknowledging that you don’t know what to say. “Empathy is a choice,” Dr. Brown says, “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.”

Take a look at this video to see how you can connect with someone going through a difficult time.

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