Empathy vs. Sympathy, by social scientist Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection, who has a PhD. in social work. This video, which illustrates her ideas on empathy, is fun and touching:
Brené Brown is perhaps most famous for her research and TED talk on the power of vulnerability, which has been watched by more than 18 million people to date.
Her research shows that instead of being a sign of the weak, it is the courage to be vulnerable, to take a risk, that leads to deeper connection and engagement.
Roman Krznaric, cofouner of The School of Life, which uses culture and the arts to help explain life, has also written extensive about empathy. He is starting an Empathy Museum, a travelling exhibition which is an experiential adventure space for stepping into others’ shoes. He just released a book on the topic, Empathy: Why it Matters, and How to Get it. Summarizing former researchers in the area, he works with the definition of empathy as:
“the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person, understanding therir feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions.
That allows deeper human connection and is the key to a happier self and a better world.
I believe that with empathy, we can be better to those around us, and can improve civic behavior if we can introduce it to a broader level.