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Empathy: What the world needs (more of) and what I hope my daughter has.

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You’re probably thinking the Beatles already told us what the world needs (now, is love sweet love) and I agree… but just hear me out on this one.

My husband and I were having a discussion about our daughter and our hopes for her.  He asked me what my greatest fear for her was.  I asked him to go first and he said that he was afraid she’d grow up and not like him.  I said that my greatest fear is that she would be an unkind person.  And what I think I really mean is her having no empathy towards others.

The word’s been floating around a lot lately…in conversations at work, on my FB news feed and in my mind.

I recently saw the ‘The Power Empathy’ video (below) that is narrated by Brene Brown and found it to be quite good. We tend to throw around these words and not really think of their meaning and whether or not we use them in the right way.  The video is a good reminder to evaluate how we treat people and whether or not we’re being sympathetic or empathetic.  Its a fine line which is sometimes not so easy to discern in active daily life.

In the type of work I do I encounter people going through a number of life struggles and I try stay conscious enough not to jump the gun and tell them everything’s going to be ok (‘silver line it’).  It’s imporant to stay with them in the moment and as is defined ‘feel with’ them, allowing yourself to feel or imagine the experience within yourself.

I think we all thrive on human connection, I know I do, and empathy is an important characteristic to have when working with and pretty much existing with others.  Its something that needs to be exercised daily; in word and deed and in and work and play.

So my hope for my daughter is that she will be kind and be able to express empathy when its due, steer clear of judgement and remember that when words fail sometimes just being there is enough.

Oh and my other hope is that she will be Brave 🙂



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