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Empathy can be tricky, particularly when we have an emotional connection (or attachment) to the people or situation involved (which we almost always do). Simply put, empathy is getting into another person’s world and connecting with them both emotionally and compassionately. The problem is that we often allow our egos, opinions, and judgments to get in the way of our ability to experience and express empathy. While it can be challenging, the power of empathy is essential to the health and success of our relationships and lives. All of these things also hold true with regard to having empathy and compassion for ourselves, which is essential in this process.
Everyone on the planet, including us, is almost always doing the very best they can in each moment. Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). It is indeed useful and appropriate to remember that everyone is doing the best they can in the moment. Life Stylist, Producer and Founder of, reaching over 3 million around the globe.

Through over 10,000 blogs, audio conversations and videos, provides you with the most current, optimistic and inspiring content, empowering you to live a happy, healthy and wealthy life mind, body and spirit. I got defensive and began to justify myself – arguing that I did, indeed, have a lot of empathy and that she should be more open to my feedback. It’s also challenging to feel empathy when we feel threatened, stressed, or emotionally triggered (all of which we can experience a lot, especially with those who mean the most to us). If I agree with someone completely, can totally relate to them, and see things exactly as they do, it’s quite easy for me to empathize with them.
As you identify specific situations and relationships where you could bring more empathy, reach out to the people involved and let them know. One of the best ways we can express empathy towards others is through our curiosity and listening.
We’re all just dealing with the joy, pain, growth, challenge, and more of being human. Browsing you find engaging materials from thought leaders, best-selling authors and wellness experts from around the globe.
Needless to say, my defensiveness (and subsequent arrogance and self righteousness) didn’t help things, and the conversation got worse before it got better, which it eventually did. We don’t even need to be able to relate to what they are experiencing specifically (although that can help).

With the people closest to us, including ourselves, and the issues that mean the most to us, empathy is even more critical, but often more difficult for us to experience and express.
There may be an apology to give, an acknowledgement to make, or simply an admission that you want to bring more empathy and compassion (and less judgment, advice, self righteousness, etc) to your relationship. When people feel heard, seen, and emotionally understood, they often relax, open up, and feel supported.
Remembering this allows us to cut ourselves and others some loving slack, and engage in life, in our relationships, and with ourselves with a deep sense of respect, reverence, and, ultimately, empathy.
We just need to be present, connect with them where they are, and acknowledge what they’re experiencing. Asking people how they truly feel, what’s really going on in their world, AND listening to how they respond (without judgment) are some of the best things we can do to express our empathy for the people around us. Empathy for ourselves, while different contextually, actually functions the exact same way, simply turned inward.

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