Empathy is a powerful feeling: it brings connection, other’s perspective understanding, it avoids judgement, it recognizes emotion and interacts with it. Empathy is to feel with people (not only for people), to put youself on their shoes, no matter how sad it is. It is to listen about people’s feelings, to feel their pain and say: you are not alone, I am here.
It’s hard because to connect with someone else`s pain, we need to connect to ours, recognize it in us. This is not easy, and therefore try to unwittingly minimize the other`s feeling, saying that it will go away, that time will heal or any palliative alternative is our automatic way to “see the good side” and protect ourselves. What we have to learn is that we will hardly have an answer to the make the grieving person feel better now. What can help him or her is simply being there for him or her. Fully connected.
One of the simplest and moving narratives about empathy is this animation displayed in a TED talk by the American psychologist Brene Brown. Dr. Brown is a student of human connection – our ability to empathize, belong, love. It is worth watching the video.