There are many temptations to organize our life around the experience of earlier trauma. But that may short-change the future—which starts by our envisioning something better.
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How we understand others.
Elizabeth A. Segal, Ph.D.
What do we mean by the word empathy? Do we really hear others and understand their feelings and life experiences? We can only do that when we listen.
Planning is important, but so is being flexible. Don't judge yourself as incomplete if you can't complete a fixed list of experiences. Allow for the unexpected.
Empathy is an emotional process that can lead us to respond, but do not confuse the two. Empathy is the pathway, not the action.
Are we banning books that help us experience challenging situations and share feelings of those different from us? If so, we risk closing ourselves off to empathy.
How can we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the anniversary of his birth? By following his example and engaging empathically with others, no matter who they are.
As we begin the new year, make the resolution to see the world through the eyes of others without making it about you.
Does it feel like helping others leaves you out? Actually, when we do for others, we often benefit in larger ways that help us all.
Metaverse promises compelling ways to portray our homes, workplaces, even our looks remotely. However, more elaborate screen time is not the answer to building human connections.
When we fear others because they are not like us, it taps into our built-in fear of the unknown. Empathy can help us learn about others and lose that fear.
Can social empathy make a difference? Yes, and we saw that in action over the last couple of weeks.
Self-exploration and introspection are valuable for our well-being, but they are not a form of empathy. Empathy involves stepping outside ourselves to better understand others.
Can we "cancel" others and still hear them? Only if we engage empathically. Then we can make informed decisions about whether to prohibit or allow public voice and space for all.
Racism, the belief that one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group, denies our shared humanity. Seeing our commonalities is required for empathy.
Are you dreading having to pay your income taxes? Consider alternative ways to view your taxes; you might even feel better about it.
Although it has been a tough year, we can still learn from it. What we learn can give us insight and direction for the future.
We risk losing empathy in our virtual worlds because we need contextual understanding. But all is not lost; there are ways we can build context remotely.
Living so much of life virtually is taking a toll on our understanding of the lived reality of others. We need to find creative ways to make up for the loss of shared context.
Fear can feel powerful and paralyze us, but it does not have to be that way. Productive fear can keep us safe from danger and propel us to achieve great accomplishments.
Fear can help us by warning against danger, but it can also cloud our thinking and block us from empathy. We need to distinguish between real fear and false fear.
Elections bring out our desire to be heard and understood. That means that empathy is part of the political process.
Thought exercises are ways that we use our imagination to plan for events that might happen. Empathy can be a great tool to help with that thinking process.
Does your empathy lead you to feel bad for people to the point of excusing their bad behavior? That's not empathy. We can and should hold people accountable for their actions.
Why do some people in powerful positions think that empathy is weak? Empathy requires well-honed skills that take strength, discipline, and fortitude to develop.
Who better to teach empathy to children than the adults in their lives? Be that adult, and be that role model.
Today more than ever, we need social empathy — the ability to understand the lived realities of people from other groups and how history has impacted their lives.
In these difficult times, can we feel too much and overwhelm ourselves with empathy?
Even during the darkest times, we can connect with others and build empathy.
We’re not born with empathy, but we can develop it over time.
Empathy is not just for the other person, but it can also help the empathizer too.
Are you bothered by the new phrase "OK Boomer" or are you happy to use the term? Using empathy can help us understand what it means.
Elizabeth A. Segal, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University.