To Build Empathy, Whatever You Do, Don’t Do This… (Episode 33)
When we cultivate empathy, we build the bridge of connection. We don’t take away the emotion or experience another is going through; we simply sit there with them. Join us as we discuss where we are, our goals for the new year, and how to build empathy and connection in your home.
Where are we: The Everglades! Learn more about this fascinating area here. And check out our Shark Valley bike ride (and gators) here.
Brené Brown’s talk on Empathy – check out the video in my blog post here.
4 Qualities of Empathy:
- Perspective Taking
- Staying out of judgement
- Recognizing emotion in others
- Communicating that emotion
In order to connect with someone, you have to find something in your life that creates that feeling. It’s not “silver lining” it and saying “at least…”
Rarely does a response make something better; it’s that connection.
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” Mohsin Hamid
Don’t move, fix, or correct the emotion of another. Simply meet them where they are.
Sitting with and experiencing emotion is so important for us to learn how to navigate through it. There is function in emotion – it’s not just something to barrel through.
What NOT to say to your children:
- “You’re okay” – what someone else is going through is not yours to own or take away. When your child feels pain, hurt, anger, etc, it’s their emotion. We can’t force our kids’ emotions away. They have to navigate through it. Jumping in with them and helping them recognize the power of their own mind equips them with the tools to recognize their own capabilities and the power of their mind to move through the emotion. Comfort first – connect through touch and sharing the emotion of what they are going through. Before shifting, meet them where they are.
Don’t deny the emotion, own it and navigate through.
- “You need to…/I told you…/See…”
The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. Alfred Brindel
Being told something vs. experiencing the opportunity to navigate it on their own really allows them to grasp a concept on a much deeper level. When you are driven, you retain it. Desire is such an important part of learning. Nothing drives love for what you do like a true desire. Letting your children discover that on their own empowers them to really grasp it. Sometimes less is more – give your child the opportunity to figure things out. People go to therapy – they pay someone else to just listen to them. What if we actually stopped and simply listened to others and gave them the space to process through with the support of someone else’s presence. If you want to truly help/teach your children, be the example. “Preach…and if necessary, use words.” St. Francis of Assisi.
3. “It’s not a big deal.” Don’t squash what they feel in the moment. It’s not yours to negate. This is a powerful time for you to be able to hold them through an emotion. Don’t be the signpost for your kids just telling them “life goes this way.” We all need to discover our own paths. Empathize, don’t tell them how to feel it.
Empathy is the bridge of connection between two souls.
Your challenge: Meet your children where they are. Get down on their level. No matter what age, comfort and listen first. Act only if necessary. Sometimes it’s just knowing they aren’t alone is all that is needed and they can navigate the rest on their own.
Additional blog posts on empathy:
Next up: Pick Your Battles! Hit us with any questions, comments and stories you have, and we’ll send you a personal email response back and may address it on a future podcast! Simply email Ashley directly at Ashley@MamaSaysNamaste.com
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*Podcast music by the awesome Renee & Jeremy who cover “Put a Little Love In Your Heart” by Jackie DeShannon. Props to both of them for this beautiful rendition that epitomizes what I want for families!