Empathy

Empathy by Brene BrownI’ve always thought I did empathy well until I watched the video below. I realize this is giving a lot of credit to Brené Brown, but we need to give credit where credit is due. I have been learning this lesson this past week. I have learned where I should have used empathy, I used blame. The bad and broken part of me blamed the person for not doing things the way I expected them to do. I never communicated those expectations. The humanity within me says to save face, detach, and move forward regardless of how hurt or angry this person feels. My heart and hindsight realizes all of these choices I made to not communicate, to sympathize, to judge, were poor and unsupportive and in the end set my relationship with the person up to fail. I think in the end, it is hard to take time to really feel with others; to empathize, to connect on a level where we can be in solidarity with them. It takes time and it requires giving of ourselves and listening (not talking, not advising, not expecting). I feel like that is what I am called to do. This is where I am not able to do these things alone and with Christ I can. When you find yourself thinking the “at leasts”, please stop and realize the “at leasts” are not good enough. Climb in the hole with the other person and identify with them from your experiences. Find that hard place you have been in once in your life and remember what it felt like, then remember the people who surrounded you with support. It is not about understanding or having the same experiences as another to be able to empathize. It is about letting yourself not blame, not silver-line, not move forward or tip-toe around, but to listen, to connect, and to find help together.