Empathy Matters

Written by Tia Glenn-Cooke

Video provided by The RSA

Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.

For many people, the first reaction when we hear that someone is going through a tough time is to cheer them up or start by using those dreaded words: at least. We’re trying to make it better, but that approach can actually make things worse.

Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.

It’s hard to express empathy because it means being vulnerable, it means accessing a part of ourselves that has been hurt, that can identify with the person who is hurting now. This animated film based on one of Dr. Brené Brown’s TED Talks give great insight into what it means to be an empathic and truly loving person.

Empathy is what mentoring is all about and what our new initiative, IssuesIFace.com, focusses on to journey alongside others. You can go there to read a story and talk to a mentor who can relate to what you’re going through – you don’t have to face it alone. 

Like Issues I Face on Facebook.

5 Responses to “Empathy Matters”

  • Susan says:

    Thank you for this great video.

  • Harry says:

    I just need to know more about Gods kingdom and how to be a true worshipers and a true teacher of the word and to fulfill destiny.

  • Chris says:

    Harry….as you continue to keep jesus first in your life, seeking him and the bible each morning as you arise, being faithful in the small things so he can give you greater responsability, luke 16, making the most of every opportunity to minister to others who come across your pathy, ephesians 5, you will find jesus leading you each step of the way towards the greatness of his plans for your life as you maintain a humble attitude and always giving him the glory for every benefit received!!

  • Eudocia says:

    My problem with empathy is when someone complains a lot–how do you empathize when you see it as a person being ungrateful and whiny? In my case, it’s my sister–who is like a broken record at times. I feel phony if I try to empathize with what I consider to be constant complaining.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Eudocia, I understand your frustration with people who are difficult to listen to because they are self-centred and see themselves as victims in all situations. I guess part of being empathetic is to identify with what she is feeling. Whether the things she complains about are valid or not, there is emotion that is driving her responses. Talking to her to try and understand what those emotions are will help your interaction with her be more empathetic. As you discover what is causing her emotions it gives you the opportunity to connect on that level and reassure her that she is not alone. That is powerful in a person’s life.

    It takes an investment and a decision to invest the energy and time into that relationship. For me, the motivation for making that investment in people’s lives is knowing all that Jesus has done for me and for the other person. He values them enough to sacrifice Himself, so I am willing to join what He is doing in their life, because I know He has sacrificed Himself for me as well. One of Jesus’ disciples wrote, “We love because He [Jesus] first loved us.” (1John 4:19) Have you experienced Jesus’ love in your life Eudocia?

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