Brené Brown on Empathy vs. Sympathy

At the three-day leader development course I took last week (prior post here), they showed us a cool video about empathy and that it is not sympathy. I found it very insightful.

I think it was an important video for a bunch of mid-life Harvard MBAs to see. That is because we can lose touch with our humanity.

I don’t know about you, but as I’ve blogged before, I feel that I live in a Bubble (prior post here). I live in a town where everyone has a nice house and drives a nice car. When I travel, I go from car to airport to airplane to hotel and am in an enclosed environment where the temperature is regulated and the sodas are always cold. I am far removed from the day-to-day world most Americans face, a reality in which most didn’t go to college and most have almost zero savings.

And, I think learning about empathy is particularly important because of this: We construct environments whereby we get very little real feedback.

That is by design, I posit. We tend to get rid of those who give critical feedback that hits too close to the bone. We instead seek people who will affirm us. And so, we are at risk of constructing worlds in which we are not challenged and whereby our vision becomes more and more myopic as we get upset over very small things, such as a late flight, a driver cutting us off, or being with people who won’t do all the time what we want them to do.

I know I do all that. Guilty as charged.

So, yes, it was amazing to think about empathy and how I can better show it to others.

Take a look at the video? It is less than three minutes long. It’s from Brené Brown.

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