When suicide is in the news

The Darkness before Dawn: Understanding the Suicidal Urge When famous people commit suicide, and breathless news reports glorify or confuse the situation, there is the danger that others will follow his or her lead. Careful reporting can reduce this risk, and providing straightforward information about depression and suicide can help suffering people find help. If you are feeling suicidal here in the U.S., you can call … Read More

A surprising new empathic skill: Complaining! (Consciously!)

When people think of empathy, they tend to see it as a soft skill, full of yielding and niceness. That’s a part of empathy, but there’s a deeper and more full-bodied form of empathy that helps you engage with people when they (and you!) are not feeling nice at all. In The Art of Empathy, I share a number of relationship skills for dealing with conflict … Read More

The Magical Healing Powers of Art

Art is a specific empathic healing practice This month’s newsletter about art has started a lot of conversations; this post expands on the healing power of art (artistically)! Artistic expression is a wonderful and soul expanding thing for anyone, but it has a particular healing quality for anyone who wants to understand and work with empathy, because art helps you express and channel emotions intentionally. Empathy … Read More

You don’t have to be blue — you can celebrate the full spectrum!

Celebrate the Full Spectrum! April 2nd is International Autism Awareness Day, but I have to say, if you’re not aware of autism yet, where have you been? The cool kids have already moved on from mere awareness to inclusion, acceptance, and love. We’re celebrating Autism Acceptance Day, Autism Acceptance Month, Autism Acceptance Year, Autism Acceptance Decade (and Autism Acceptance Eon, while we’re at it). Many of my friends … Read More

The difference between healthy empathy and martyrdom

Balancing empathy for others with empathy for yourself When I talk about empathy, I tend to use the words healthy and intentional a great deal of the time.  If your empathy is unintentional, and you’re not sure how it works, it can be very easy to enmesh yourself with other people’s emotions and needs — to the extent that you ignore your own.  You can lose … Read More

The difference between empathy and enmeshment

Hello fellow empathic people! Did you know that there’s a distinct difference between healthy empathy and enmeshment? I’ve spent a lifetime exploring how empathy works, how it goes awry, how we can understand it more clearly, and how we can create a ground for self-care and self-empathy within our everyday lives. I’ve also been looking at an idea about empathy that goes something like this: Empathy … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 6: Perceptive Engagement

Perceptive Engagement! Perceptive Engagement can be considered the pinnacle of your empathic skills, because it relies upon all of your first five aspects of empathy and helps you connect with others in truly supportive and workable ways. So far, we’ve looked at the first five of your Six Essential Aspects of Empathy. Today, we’ll look at the culminating aspect, which occurs when all of the aspects … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 5: Concern for Others

Concern for Others Concern for Others is about caring enough — or having the time and energy you need to care enough — to skillfully empathize with others. So far, we’ve looked at the first four aspects of your Six Essential Aspects of Empathy. Today, we’ll look at Concern for Others, which is your capacity to care enough to show true empathy and compassion for others. … Read More

The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy, Part 4: Perspective Taking

Learning to see and feel from the perspective of others Your Perspective Taking ability helps you imaginatively see and feel things from the perspectives of others. This skill is crucial to your ability to empathize skillfully; good Perspective Taking can help you understand what others want and need. Let’s revisit the six aspects so that we can understand where Perspective Taking fits into the larger picture: … Read More

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