Empathy is the Key

By: Scott Laurent, Director of Student Disability Services, UMKC Student Disability Services

We all have that ability to meet and help the hurt we see in the world.

We are in an increasingly complex world.  There seems to be so many differences between people these days.  If you are like me I’m always afraid of unintentionally offending someone through what I say or what I do.  There are times its bewildering to know how to act or what to say in a given situation.  When I see a friend who is depressed what do I say to them to help them?   How do I support my friend who is gay or a person of color and feels attacked by some social media tirade or some off-hand remark by a public official?

Luckily we all have the ability to understand how the other person is feeling. It’s called empathy.  We even understand the neuro-biology of empathy.  We all have that ability and the more we practice it the more effective we become with it.  It’s a skill that we can develop and learn to use to meet the hurt we see in the world.

Check out this short video by Brene Brown on empathy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw