When we are struggling or going through something difficult, it helps to know that we are not alone.
If someone has shared their struggles with you, empathy is a powerful way to respond.
- looking for the emotion/feeling that someone is experiencing
- communicating that emotion that you've noticed back to them
- holding back from trying to fix things or make them feel better
- letting them know they are not alone
Empathy and sympathy are not the same thing.
Watch this video by Brené Brown for a quick explanation of the difference:
I love that perspective:
"Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.” (Brené Brown)
People aren't usually looking for a magic response that will fix everything. They are looking for connection; to know they are not alone in whatever they are facing.
Empathy is a skill we can learn and practice, which means we won't always get it right, but there are always more opportunities to practice and grow.
Who are you aware of right now that might need some empathy?
Practice listening and letting them know they are not alone.