Brene Brown is known for her research on empathy and blame. In these times when so many people are struggling to make sense of their days and lives, it is easy to shift to a place of blame. It’s so easy to want to blame someone because our nerves are frayed, are spirits anxious, and our bodies restless. Who can I blame for no toilet paper, Tylenol or disinfecting wipes in the stores? Who can I blame because I have no work? Blame at home can erupt quickly as we adjust to shelter at place. Who can I blame for…fill in the blank. It is so easy to go there during a pandemic.
Blame can happen in an instant when we are strained. Even when there really is no one to blame.
Blame drives disconnection and what we need most of all right now is connection. Empathy drives connection.
Empathy is a way to bring us together, to hold us gently and compassionately during these stressful times. I would add it’s not sympathy that drives connection but empathy. Statements that start with “at least” do not validate and honor the range of emotions present in our homes and communities right now. Empathy validates the fear of unknowns. Think about the difference.
We may not be able to give hugs right now, but we can drive connection through empathy. Who do you know who needs a big dose of empathy today? The more we can drive connection the easier this journey will be. Let’s stay connected.