Make Empathy Great Again

Make Empathy Great Again

If you haven't listened to Brene Brown's speech on empathy yet, you should.

I am truly an advocate for a good ‘ole inspirational YouTube video. Whether I’m watching Casey Neistat, Ellentube, or a random individual video, I always plan on exiting out of the page with a new outlook on life. The other day, I was lucky enough to find a video about the different between empathy and sympathy. It was an animation, made from a speech given by inspirational writer Brene Brown. I know that she is an inspirational writer because I have one of her books, “Daring Greatly” on my side table (not too sure when I’ll even start reading the book but that’s a story for a different time).

Growing up, and even now, I tend to hear “give her a little sympathy,” quite often. I always just assumed that when I was sympathetic towards someone, I was just showing them that I cared and that I felt sorry for them, point blank. Little did I know, sympathy is not the path you want to take when someone is hurting and you are trying to comfort them.

Brene Brown explains that when someone is sympathetic towards another, they base their responses off of “at least” rather than “I’m sorry”. A sympathetic individual yearns for the opportunity to paint a sliver of silver around their dark cloud of hurt, making the individual in pain feel no better than they were before. An empathetic individual on the other hand, bases their responses on four attributes.

The first being the ability to be perspective, being able to listen to what the other has to say, and reassuring them that their feelings are being heard and understood. From this, the empathetic individual stays away from judgement, focusing on what they can do to make the person feel better, rather than who they should blame. The third and fourth aspect run together, and involve recognizing emotion in the other and being able to communicate it back to them. To be empathetic, one must try to feel what the other is feeling, rather than just thinking about it.

By making it a goal to be a more empathetic person, it is such an eye-opener. You become closer to your friends, and make it known that you are a person that they can always come to when they need a shoulder to lean on.

Cover Image Credit: The RSA on YouTube

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Noisy Neighbors?

4 Appropriate Methods to Get Your Peace Back

Noisy neighbors may be something that is removing the enjoyment from your home. Sometimes noise is just inevitable. You can choose to retaliate or you can take the high road. Here are some methods you can use to help quiet those noisy neighbors.

Talk Over Your Concerns

Sometimes people aren’t aware of how much noise they are making. Your neighbor might have a dog that barks incessantly. They may even be oblivious to this fact. You should always give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume that they are making noise just to disturb you. Before confronting the issue, take a moment to calm yourself. You don’t want the conversation to escalate. This won’t solve the issue. Ask to speak to your neighbor. Try not to be confrontational. When you put people on the defensive, the conversation is rarely productive. Start out by expressing some of the things that you have noticed. Tell your neighbor how this has made you feel. Let them know that you would like their help with this situation. Come up with solutions together. Having this binding agreement can make future issues easier to resolve.

Offer Incentive for Quiet Time

People are generally more accepting of your point of view when you do something nice for them. Bake a plate of cookies or some other type of baked good. This way you can start an uncomfortable conversation on the right foot. You might be able to come to a compromise. Let them know that you would like to have quiet time during certain times of the day. This way everyone can get what they want out of the situation. There may be something going on that you were unaware of at your neighbor’s house. You may find that they were offended by noise that you were making. Be willing to see things from their perspective. Part of being a good neighbor is being able to compromise. Unless you are planning on moving, you will likely see this person every day. You don’t want continued tensions to make you uncomfortable in your own home.

Install a Good Neighbor Fence

A good fence may be the solution to your problem. Some types of fencing can help to reduce the amount of noise that filters into your yard. Consider using wholesale vinyl fencing to make your yard more private. There are a variety of styles available. Vinyl is relatively easy to install. You can put up the whole fence in just one weekend. Fencing can block the sightline of a constantly barking dog. You can enjoy your yard in peace without having to be wary of what the neighbor’s dog is doing. Having a fence also offers your kids a safe place to play. They are contained and you can watch them from the comfort of your home. You can relax in your yard and not be observed by prying eyes. Sometimes fences make the best neighbors. You can get your peace back at a reasonable price.

Utilize Ear Plugs

When all else fails, pull out the ear plugs. You can live in blissful ignorance of all the noise that your neighbors are making. Denial may be your only alternative. While some neighbors are considerate of others feelings, some don’t care. If this is the case, you have two options. Ignore the noise or make it into a bigger issue. Many people choose to report their neighbors for noise complaints. This may be a short term solution. Your neighbors may be resentful of the intrusion. This can lead to bigger issues with your neighbor. Be careful how you choose to handle this situation. Avoidance may be your safest choice when nothing else is working. Ear plugs can let you at least pretend that there isn’t an issue. Consider getting the other neighbors involved to deal with your troublesome neighbor.

Everyone has experienced noisy neighbors at some point. Try these techniques to help you keep the peace in the neighborhood.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Sharing My Writing Publicly Changed The Way I View My Content, But I Grew Out Of My Comfort Zone

It certainly didn’t discourage me from writing any less.

I have been writing for the Odyssey for a little over two years now, and it’s safe to say I absolutely love it. Having the freedom and ability to write about whatever I want on a weekly basis not only improves my writing abilities but also encourages me to pay attention to what’s going on and stay attuned to the world.

Still, it’s not always fun and games. This past year, it was made known to me that every time I write an article, I have to ensure that it is shared on several social media platforms, one of which is Facebook. Initially, I didn’t find this to be much of a problem, that was until I wrote my article for the next week.

There’s something so freeing about being able to write whatever you want, and part of that stems from the fact that you get to choose topics that interest you. Additionally, part of what I loved was not just writing what I wanted, but when I wrote something that could prove to be controversial amongst some, I didn’t have to share it.

That all changed a few months back, and it greatly influenced how I thought about my articles moving forward.

I wish I could say that I don’t care whether people like my articles or if my content sparks heated discussion, but I do. When you manage any kind of social media content, whether it’s a blog or writing for a website ,you care about your viewership and how they receive your articles, and you should! Part of the reason why you do it in the first place is because this audience is so important to you, and you don’t want to let them down.

One of the greatest benefits about being a writer is that you have the opportunity to help, encourage, motivate, educate, and support other people. When you write a public article, you open up the possibility for people to read that article and resonate with it in some way. Whether it’s learning about a new sport or feeling supported about a person struggle, your aud ience views you as a confidant in as little as 500 words.

But what happens if you write something that not everyone will love? Does that mean you shouldn’t share it?

I spent a great deal of my time the first year writing for Odyssey sticking to anything I was interested in, and once I was encouraged to make my writing public, my topics changed. I paid more attention to what I was writing about and how it might be received by certain people. I cared more about touching upon the critical points and asking the question of what the big takeaway would be at the end.

When you choose to write publicly, you have to embrace the fact that not everyone will think your writing is advanced or profound, and that sometimes, people will disagree. Still, you cannot shy away from the topics that you feel are important or critical to analyze because words do have the ability to promote change and help people.

For those of you who are writers or are thinking about becoming writers for a public platform, my advice is this:

Do it. Do not shy away from it because you’re worried about the content that you are writing about or whether you’ll have 1,000 social engagements in minutes.

Instead, do it because you are passionate about it and because it allows you to instill passion in others.

Most importantly, remember that being “public” shouldn’t make you fearful of talking about the difficult topics. Rather, view the accessibility of your work as encouragement to proofread, edit, and hone ideas that you genuinely think people will appreciate.

Going “public” may have changed the way I view my content, but it certainly didn’t discourage me from writing any less.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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