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Four attributes of empathy-Dr. Teresa Wiseman

Empathy is hard work, and it requires being vulnerable.

Nursing scholar, Dr. Teresa Wiseman identified four attributes of empathy:

1. Taking on someone else’s perspective.

When you share or take on the perspective of another person, you must also be able to recognize someone else’s perspective as truth.

2. Being non-judgmental.

When we judge another person’s situation, we discount their experience. Therefore, to take on the perspective of another person, you must put away your own thoughts, assumptions, and biases.

3. Recognizing someone else’s emotion or understanding their feelings.

Recognizing and understanding someone else’s emotions requires you to be in touch with your own feelings and to put yourself aside so that you can focus on the person in distress.

4. Communicating your understanding of a person’s feelings.

It is important to not only express your understanding of someone’s emotions or feelings, but to also validate them. Validating someone’s feelings demonstrates that you accept, acknowledge, and understand them.

Empathy is hard work, and it requires being vulnerable.

Empathy is a skill that you can teach and learn across your life span.

To help build empathy , you can:

• Model emotions, feelings, and ways to show compassion.

• Read, talk about, or analyze stories, including those that embrace diversity and differences. • Talk about feelings and what you can do to help someone feel better.

• Consider other people’s perspectives, and talk about differences and biases (race, gender, identity, religion, income levels, etc.).

• Fight stereotypes. (Pink is not just for girls.)

• Name the emotions, and give words to feelings.

• Role play. Parents can help reinforce empathy with teenagers by:

In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities. She discusses the differences between empathy and Sympathy and how sympathy drives disconnection and empathy drives connection.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne) Production and Editing: Al Francis-Sears and Abi Stephenson

Dr Brené Brown is a research professor and best-selling author of "

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead" (Penguin Portfolio, 2013).

She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.


Could you see yourself using the four attributes of empathy in your relationships? If so , where?

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