Empathy – fueling connection

“Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.”

Both inside and outside of the cube today, we need empathy. Empathy is the foundation for listening. Our community needs it now more than ever.

In “The Power of Empathy,” Dr Brené Brown explores the four key tenets of empathy. We often hope for empathy, but deliver sympathy.

  • Brown believes that empathy requires perspective-taking; in the cube, what the writer holds as their truth, is truth.
  • Staying away from judgment allows for empathy to listen instead of categorizing or assuming.
  • Empathy demands feeling with people: you have to remove the layer of “otherness” or “peer tutor.”
  • Finally, empathy means truly listening and communicating to people that they are not alone. Sit with people in the allegorical cave of “stuck, dark, and overwhelmed.”

If you have a spare two minutes, I can’t recommend enough watching this video; it has shaped my understanding of fellowing.

2017 feels vulnerable for so many. The next time you find yourself in a difficult conversation, you don’t need to know exactly what to say. Empathy is a choice. Rather than starting a response with “At least…” or “That sounds hard,” know that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m so glad you told me – you are not alone.” This is our work as Fellows.