How Do I Help?

Empathy

If you have friends or a family – if you have any relationships at all really – you will encounter the pain of others and will want to help.

A friend tells you that her spouse is cheating on her and seeking a divorce.

A sibling calls to let you know he’s been diagnosed with cancer.

A neighbor confides that she’s struggling with depression.

A child doesn’t make the team and is devastated.

A co-worker receives a call that his father has had a serious stroke.

Love plants a longing in our heart to want to respond, to help someone in pain, but we often wonder how. We don’t think we’re equipped. In a culture of specialists we’ve come to believe that paid professionals, pastors and therapists, possess the secret to really helping people.

While it’s not always clear when an issue warrants professional intervention (and some issues most certainly do) the most powerful and loving response to a friend or a family member in pain is no secret. It’s empathy.

Brene Brown has become one of my favorite writers and speakers. In this three minute video Brown explains the difference between sympathy and empathy, shares the four dynamics of empathy and explains why it is so profoundly healing. Want to feel equipped to help someone in pain? Then I urge you to invest three minutes and watch the video here.

Pain isn’t an option in this life. How we respond to the pain of others is.

What did you think of the video? When have you experienced the power of empathy or the alienation of sympathy? Leave a comment.

 

 

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