What is the best way to help someone who is suffering? This could be someone who is suffering a little or a lot.
The fastest and simplest way is is to listen and make a heartfelt connection with them. This is empathy in a nutshell.
But empathy is sometimes very hard to do. It is hard because we all have a strong temptation to say the wrong thing. We are tempted to jump in and try to say something that we think will make the suffering lessen. We don’t mean to add to the person’s suffering, but this is exactly what often happens.
When we do the wrong thing, even when we don’t mean any harm, it can be very confusing for us.
There has been much written about what empathy is and how it works. In addition to her many books and talks, Dr. Brené Brown has given us a clear and entertaining way to understand these human tendencies in a short animated video.
In this video short, Dr. Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities. This is what the heartfelt part is all about.
This is not as scary as it seems and does not require years of therapy.
What it does show is how to slow down and make sure that the steps we take are the right and helpful ones. And to make sure that we don’t follow down the wrong path (of sympathy) that our first impulses may want to take us.
This brief animated video is a good introduction to what empathy is all about. It is less than 3 minutes and has over 10 million views. You will love it.
As Dr. Brown illustrates in this entertaining video, empathy is the power that drives connection. And without connection, you will not be of much help to others. I believe this to be true, whether you are a family member, employer, doctor, lawyer, or concerned friend trying to help someone through a difficult time.
Thank you to Dr. Brene Brown. Dr. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, who has lit up the world of psychology with her research, books, talks and videos.
You can learn more about her fun, inspiring and useful ideas at her website brenebrown.com. “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.” I like this – it says a lot.
Thank you for joining me. Until next time.