Choose to Connect with Empathy

Research uncovered evidence of a genetic basis for empathy, studies suggest that people can enhance (or restrict) their natural empathic abilities. With both awareness and a willingness, we can learn more about empathy. We can choose empathy and apply it within throughout our life and within our interactions — within our own lives for self-care, within our closest relationships personally and professionally.

Empathy is something we can choose. We can learn to view the world through an empathetic lens even if this is not our nature. We can make empathy a daily practice for listening and understanding, appreciating differences, building rapport and trust, and communicating recognition that others have been heard. All of which will contribute to strengthen connections for effective communication, collaboration, and leadership trust.

Below are three videos to help you learn more about empathy and how to choose to be empathetic. Remember when we include empathy, we have the power to produce understanding for valuable change.

Brene Brown’s Video:
“The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy”
Click for Brown’s Video Link

Although I believe this is an excellent teaching about empathy, I would not define sympathy, nor illustrate sympathy in the manner that Brene Brown has done for this instructional video. I would simply state these are examples of how people attempt to express empathy, and that there is a way to share empathy that is more supportive.  This particular illustration of sympathy is how many well-meaning people share support of others.

My definition of sympathy is more about a presence of just expressing kindness and compassion without using words. Sympathy is more about a kindly presence and an individual’s decision to act from their own personal values. I would still recommend this watching this video as I believe Brown’s examples and descriptions of empathy are very clearly illustrated and defines empathy as the way to connect or be with another.

The Cleveland Clinic Empathy Series:
“The Heart of Compassion” – Click for Compassion Video
“Words Matter” – Click for Words Matter Video

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Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at or use the CONNECTING menu.