Generation Wellness Blog

Equipping students + staff with the tools to thrive in school + in life. We are the generation of wellness.

[RESOURCE] Empathy vs. Sympathy with Brene Brown


A great video to share with staff as we start a new school year filled with change, challenges, and the potential for transformation. Staff and students are stressed. Connection and empathy are going to be our super powers this school year.

[0:15] Empathy fuels connection.

[0:17] Sympathy drives disconnection

[0:30] 4 qualities of empathy

[1:00-2:30] Examples that show how empathy and sympathy are different.

Soul Pancake researched the effects of sympathy vs. empathy and on average people who received sympathy were less happy than people (happiness dropped by -6.71%) who received empathy (happiness increased by +6.92%). What is the different between sympathy and empathy? Empathy fuels connection while sympathy drives disconnection.

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[EXPERIMENT] Empathy in Action

This month’s experiment is about connecting with 1-3 people and sharpening our empathy super powers. What better time to do this than right now during so much uncertainty, stress, and grief with the pandemic? Everyone is facing some type of battle and connection is the key.

“Empathy is a way to connect to the emotion another person is experiencing; it doesn’t require that we have experienced the same situation they are going through.” -Brene Brown

Empathy is not trying to fix the problem or share your story, rather it’s about listening for understanding, validating emotions, and expressing words, body language, and tone that create a sense of “feeling felt”.

[EXPERIMENT] The invitation is to reach out to 1-3 people and connect with them. Maybe ask about their “rose” and “thorn” or “high” and “low” during this pandemic. Practice empathizing vs. sympathizing to increase feeling seen, heard,...

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