Brené Brown on Empathy


Watch the video below!


Can you think of times in your own life when you were practicing sympathy instead of empathy?


  • In your interactions with others this week, try practicing all four qualities of empathy identified in the video.
  • Remove “at least” from your vocabulary.

9 thoughts on “Brené Brown on Empathy

  1. I like this. I am a little skeptical of empathy, as it can distract us from the work we need to do to “stop the rain” (using the video metaphor). The pain of deeply truly feeling something someone else is feeling may actually prevent us from doing anything at all. It is indeed true that often times there is nothing we can do for that person ‘s pain in that particular moment. But rarely is there NOTHING we can do to prevent someone else from feeling that pain in the future. (Eg., giving a hungry person some leftovers on the street vs. giving to our local non-profits who try to make it easier for someone to get a job to feed themselves)

  2. I have seen this great little video before and boy is it hard not to try to “cheer up” someone – especially if you are a positive person or see the other person as waiting for this type of response. Always good to practice thank you the empathy check. I also find the physical response (a touch on the shoulder, arm or hand) can sometimes not be welcoming to people of differing cultures or genders so the acknowledgement that comes by a physical demonstration has to be invited.

  3. This is good to really visualize the difference between sympathy and empathy. It’s a good reminder of what not to say….. hearing it on the video makes it sound so dismissive “at least”. It takes a lot of energy to be empathetic and for myself, in this day and age, sometimes I feel as if I don’t have the time to take the time.

  4. Hugs ARE the answer! I knew it! Sometimes words fail and the presence of a compassionate ear is all people need. Time as you say Sherrie – we have to slow down and take time to listen and understand.

    1. Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast. (Shakespeare) When we slow down, we take more in, and the experience is thus enriched because we are more aware of our surroundings and how they may impact us…

  5. ‘at least’, ‘it could’ve been worse’….I was born a natural ‘silver lining’ maker and it has been challenging to shake it. I saw it as being positive, but I’ve learned it’s dismissive. I don’t want to be dismissive. I’m going to keep working on it.