Thoughts on Empathy

Recently a friend who was in the process of moving was telling me how stressful it was for her. This led me to reflect on my own stressful experiences with moving. Looking back on how I responded to her, I realize that I became so caught up in my own thoughts that I did not realize she was trying to communicate that she needed help. 

I recently read part of Brené Brown’s I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) where there is a section on empathy. Empathy is a skill that can be learned and practiced.

Brené Brown writes, “In order to be empathic, we must be willing to recognize and acknowledge our own lens and attempt to see the situation that someone is experiencing through her own lens.”

I was looking at things through my lens without shifting perspective to see things through my friend’s lens. 

The challenge of empathy is being able to step outside ourselves and see things from another’s perspective. This is not an easy thing to do. And, it may not come naturally to some people. But, it is something that we can practice. We can challenge ourselves to consider the other person’s perspective when we have a conversation.


About Jackie Carrera: 

Jackie is a Resident in Counseling providing counseling services in our Alexandria location. Jackie earned an M.S.Ed. from Old Dominion University in Mental Health Counseling and has training in art therapy. She also has a degree in the arts with an MA in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jackie is a humanistic counselor who provides person-centered counseling in both English and Spanish. To learn more about Jackie, visit HERE.

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