Empathy teaches us that we’re all unique and that is good.

Empathy humbles us.

Empathy softens us.

Why am I writing about empathy?

The answer is, I don’t know.

It’s the first word that came to mind when I sat down at the computer to write this month’s blog post.

So I went with the flow.

But what truly is empathy? Here’s what I believe empathy is NOT.

Empathy is NOT walking a mile in someone else’s shoes so you know exactly how they feel. Not necessarily.

Empathy is NOT experiencing the same thing as someone else so that you know exactly what they are going through. Not necessarily.

You don’t have to accomplish these things in order to be qualified to sit with someone you love in pain. To be there for someone.

However, you do need empathy in order to be able to offer someone you love in pain a safe space to be.

You also need empathy in order to accept people’s–that includes both loved ones and strangers–differences.

Empathy is tolerance.

Empathy is big picture. Yet willingness to sit in the detail.

But empathy is not getting trapped in the minutia of why or how.

Empathy is allowing what is to simply be.

And being OK with that.

And giving others safety with your presence, and kindness, so they know that they are not alone.

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