Empathy is a word that gets used a lot these days. What IS it really? I like Brené Brown’s (of TED talk fame) definition: “the skill or ability to tap into our own experiences in order to connect with an experience someone is relating to us.” Empathy is what helps us sense that we are not alone in the world. It connects us to others and, as Brené Brown reminds us, it is the “antidote” to shame.
The skill of empathy requires that we can, without judgment, see the world as another person sees it and that we can “get” another person’s feelings and communicate to the person that we understood.
by Jody McVittie, MD