Empathy is the antidote to shame and it is the heart of connection. Brené Brown
“Today was a Difficult Day,” said Pooh. There was a pause.
“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Piglet.
“No,” said Pooh after a bit. “No, I don’t think I do.”
“That’s okay,” said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend.
“What are you doing?” asked Pooh.
“Nothing, really,” said Piglet. “Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don’t feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either.
And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs…he thought that his best friend had never been more right.
I am taking a break from the Bible today, because the topic is Empathy, and Piglet’s got this one.
In Rising Strong, Dr. Brené Brown makes the claim that empathy is the antidote to shame. Her claim is based on research data, and I find it immensely helpful. I hope you linger over Chapter 7. Her definition of Empathy and its relationship to Compassion is worth the price of admission:
Empathy is an emotional skill that allows us to respond to others in a meaningful, caring way. Empathy is the ability to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding… The prerequisite for real empathy is compassion. We can only respond empathically if we are willing to be present to someone’s pain. Empathy is the antidote to shame and it is the heart of connection.
LORD God, teach me the Wisdom of Empathy.
Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
We are in week 4, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 7-8 of Rising Strong. The topics are: Rumbling with difficult emotions and human need. Next week our discussion groups will focus on chapters 8-9.