Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to sit with someone's story {Day 29}

Have you ever been in a conversation where you really felt heard? Where the other person validated your feelings? Where they told you, "I understand?"

According to my Daring Way class facilitators, most people will say that they don't feel heard. 

I can relate to this on different occasions.

It's painful.

Today in class we talked about empathy. The facilitators said this was probably the most important session so far. (we've had six).

I found out this morning that empathy is a learned skill and it takes lots of practice. I didn't really realize that it is learned. And, it gives me hope that with practice I can get better at empathy.

They look like empathetic friends, don't they?

When someone is sharing their story (of struggle or pain), I need to try to set aside my "stuff" to really hear their story.

It will probably be difficult, but I need to practice NOT attaching values to what I hear them say.

For someone like me, who has strong convictions, this is a very important piece I came away with. A great reminder. I'm learning!


Empathy is putting myself in the other person's moccasins (or slippers, or boots).  To try to feel what they might be feeling. To ask them more questions to find out what their experience is like.

We can ask clarifying questions to get to the bottom of their emotion. 

We might think they are sad, but when we ask, are you sad? they might say,

heck no, I'm pissed off!

Or, we can say, Can you tell me what your experience is?

They will know they are heard when we really understand how they are feeling. 


We will mess up being empathetic with people we love and care about, because we aren't perfect. 

But, the great news is, we can circle around and try again. There is always room for a "do-over" in showing someone empathy.

If you are reading this and you say, Dang, I think I blew it today. I blew the chance to show empathy. Never fear. You can go to that person and say,

I'd like to circle back, because I wasn't with you on that when you shared with me. Can you share it again?

They will love you for that. They will feel extremely heard. 

It will take courage to circle back up with them, but it will be worth it.


I feel so blessed that I now have this tool in my relational tool box and let me tell you, I put it into practice already today. HUGE, I'm telling you. HUGE.

May you be blessed with these thoughts on showing empathy, too.

May we be able and willing to show those we love, that they are heard.


*These thoughts today were inspired from The Daring Way class based on Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly.

Click on my button to see a list of all 31 Days posts! Thanks so much for stopping by!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...