Be a storyteller. Your own story, that is. If we want to understand the idea of empathy and compassion toward others, we must first begin with ourselves. Understanding our own story is a strength that is often overlooked. However, in the philosophies that explain compassion and empathy, these are powerful factors in our emotional intelligence. They allow us to genuinely share vulnerabilities, which in turn can free others to share their own.
Empathy is described as the ability ‘to suffer with’ and to share the pain of others so that their distress becomes our own. However, there are various thoughts on this definition that many can confuse as true empathy. Excusing dangerous behaviors toward you, is projection (or ‘idiot compassion’) and not empathy, as one is assuming these behaviors are simply there because they are acting out of helplessness. Real empathy does not put us in harm’s way, so be aware if someone is not noticing our own anxiety but only theirs. Here are 5 podcasts that have helped to shed some light on what it means to be an empathetic person:
1.To teach empathy accurately we must lead by example. By taking personal responsibility for ourselves in the hope for empathy, we can create a larger self worth and self-understanding. This podcast focuses on shaping a social purpose culture and how empathy and compassion are two of the most potent emotional agents needed for this change.
2.This podcast urges us to be kind to yourself and accept your faults. She is an expert on the concept of self-compassion. Kristin Neff supposes that “Imperfection is part of the shared human experience”, suggesting that this is what binds us, and we are not alone in our suffering.
3.Radiolab has a podcast here that has an interesting take on empathy, a lesson from an entomologist in not allowing emotions to overrun objectivity. The idea is to allow the organism to be what it is, and to have respect for their own sense of self. This is a deeper understanding of empathy.
4.This podcast from NPR, posits the idea of quantum entanglement, which is the thought that two things (atoms) that exist in space at their own rate, can feel the same thing if they connect (entanglement). An interesting scientific take on how we as humans continue to be entangled in the natural world.
5.This podcast with Dr. Dan Siegel focuses on his term ‘mind sight’, which can be activated when you develop a perceptive stream. Living with only physical sight and not with the ‘mind sight’ can be a disservice to our development of empathy and compassion. He believes that we as humans have an interior mental life that is very important and an empathic comment can go a long way in improving this for others and ourselves.
Emotional responsibility is about honesty and vulnerability, which can create a safety net for all those you have relationships with as well as opening one up to being a more conscious listener toward others. A deeper emotional connection is necessary for that to take place, one where true empathy can exist. Banishing loneliness and experiencing a wider, deeper life are just a few of the outcomes of the truly empathetic.
Do you read a great blog about empathy that’s not on the list? Leave a comment on FB!
Larissa Gomes is a breast cancer survivor and single mom to her spirited baby boy! Originally from Toronto turned Angeleno, she has worked in roles from writer, actor and producer for well over a decade. In that time, she’s developed concepts, film and television screenplays, short stories, along with freelance articles, blogging and editing work.