Empathy Is Our Most Important Attribut

Over the course of giving my Open Sourcing Mental Illness talk, I added a slide to the section about helping friends and co-workers. The slide just says:




Empathy is the most important attribute we can possess. I mean that not only in the context of helping people who are living with mental illness, but in general.

I should make sure we’re not confusing empathy with sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand how a person feels, and why they may feel that way. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. While sympathy is appreciated1, it is far less powerful and useful than empathy.  

Ed Finkler