Empathy – The Power of Connection

A few weeks ago, I began writing about my day with respect to my core values.  The difficult part was identifying my core values.  After giving it much thought and reviewing lists of possible candidates, I finally came up with five core values that I thought were mine.  One of them was empathy.  I wrote the word down and then decided that I needed to understand exactly what it meant.  So I looked up the dictionary definition, which was:

the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :  the capacity for this.

After thinking it over, I crossed it off of my list.  I struggled with the word “sensitive”.  I wasn’t sure that I was actually sensitive.  And the word “vicariously” confused me.  I decided to ignore the dictionary definition and keep the core value on the list.  At least, based on what I thought the word meant, it felt right to me.

Today, I saw a very short post about empathy by Brené Brown.  Empathy has to do with connecting.  People who have empathy are able to connect with other because they understand and know what a person is feeling because they have been there as well.  This is one of the most important aspects of being a Certified Peer Specialist.  I was able to connect with others who were feeling depressed, anxious, inferior, and alone.  I was able to share my experiences, my feelings, and to provide understanding and hope.  I was able to show them that they were not alone.

Here is the link to the video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw  It’s worth a look.  Thanks Brené!


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