{you’re ok, you’ll come through this}
{that situation doesn’t define you}
{i know how you feel, i have felt like that but when i did this it really helped}
{i see the pain in your eyes, help me understand what’s going on}

we need an epidemic of empathy. the good old antidote that brings healing and a shared understanding to situations that for many are so isolating and destructive.

empathy is not just an attitude it is an action. it is showing others that they matter, that you hear their story and that you want to be there, even when it sucks or the situation is not easily resolved.

there is more to empathy than just sensitivity {not wanting to rock the boat}, a definition i like is:
{identification with, and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives}. it’s identifying with the person, and the need in them, beyond the situation you see in front of you.

empathy is the remedy for our most shameful experiences. when a debilitating and painful emotion cripples us, we all need empathy to be doused on that shameful place. it will quickly divide the situation until it is no longer that big monster that overpowers us.

brene brown, in her book {“i thought it was just me (but it isn’t): making the journey from “what will people think?” to “i am enough”}, shares about empathy and describes it as a skill and that it is not a quality that we are born with; it’s a response that we have to develop and grow.

i remember recently, opening up to someone and sharing about the journey i was on. it was early on when i was struggling and afraid. my voice was quiet and my words carefully chosen as i opened up. we hadn’t seen each other for so long but immediately i could share some pretty gritty stuff, because i needed to and she was so open to hearing me out. what happened next was what gave me the strength to pursue something i knew i needed, and it was because that person shared their heart with me and made me feel like what i was facing was valid and worth listening to. she gave me practical ideas on what had worked for her, her eyes shone with genuine acceptance and care. she didn’t {fix} the problem or try and take it away. what she did was gave me strategies to build resilience.

five things that empathy can do for our world:

  1. diffuse the feelings of isolation and that nobody else understands. 
  2. develop connections between each other {it’s ok, that’s happened to me too}
  3. it’s a powerful way to speak the truth to someone, when they are blinded by shame.
  4. liberate others – we are not perfect, we can overcome!
  5. create resilient individuals who want to not only receive it but give it away too.

is there someone you can reach out to? how can we make this an {epidemic}?

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