Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Author:Brené Brown
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2018-10-08T16:00:00+00:00

I’m sorry about your flight. TBH, I know you’re freaking out. But this is one night, and you’ve come to 100 games and practiced with me and made me go to camps when I didn’t want to and hosted parties and took my entire team to Galveston. That’s what counts. Love you so much. I’ll tell Dad to take lots of pictures.

Steve, on the other hand, got the phone call from under the T-shirt rack. He just listened. When I swore that I was going to quit my job and never get on another flight, he said, “I don’t blame you. You worked so hard on those giant heads and the flowers. You’ve been such a big support for Ellen. I’m just so sorry this is happening.”

And thank God again for Suzanne. Several times on the flights home, I’d look at my watch and burst into tears. She would just squeeze my hand and say “I know.”

Around 8:30 that night, I looked at her and said, “The game’s over.” She looked at me and said, “Did we get any pics yet?” She said we. She didn’t say, “That was hard, but mercifully it’s over.” She asked if we had any pictures yet. She was still in it because I was still in it. It was so hard. But I never felt alone.

Empathy is a choice. And it’s a vulnerable choice, because if I were to choose to connect with you through empathy, I would have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. In the face of a difficult conversation, when we see that someone’s hurt or in pain, it’s our instinct as human beings to try to make things better. We want to fix, we want to give advice. But empathy isn’t about fixing, it’s the brave choice to be with someone in their darkness—not to race to turn on the light so we feel better.

If I share something with you that’s difficult for me, I’d rather you say, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.” Because in truth, a response can rarely make something better. Connection is what heals.

If struggle is being down in a hole, empathy is not jumping into the hole with someone who is struggling and taking on their emotions, or owning their struggle as yours to fix. If their issues become yours, now you have two people stuck in a hole. Not helpful. Boundaries are important here. We have to know where we end and others begin if we really want to show up with empathy.

Theresa Wiseman, a nursing scholar in the UK, studied empathy across every profession that requires deep connection and relationship, and she identified four attributes of empathy. These attributes fully aligned with what emerged from my data, but they did not address the idea of “paying attention” to the degree that it emerged in my work. To solve for that, I added a fifth attribute from Kristin Neff’s research.


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