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Day 9: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Empathy may also be described as putting yourself in someone else's position to get an understanding of how they’re feeling. When one lacks empathy with other people or groups, it can lead to excluding them from being treated with the proper care and respect they need.
It is important to also work to develop self empathy, the ability to forgive yourself when you don’t get it right. This is key to continuing to learn and grow.


This is an animated video, in which Brené Brown describes what ‘empathy’ is and how it differentiates from ‘sympathy.’ The video also shows empathy being put into practice.

This article from The Conversation explores what empathy is and why we need it.

In this excerpt from a longer talk, Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, tells us we need to get “proximate” to suffering to understand the nuanced experiences of those who suffer from and experience inequality. Stevenson believes that “if you are willing to get closer to people who are suffering, you will find the power to change the world.”

Reflection and Response

What are the benefits of showing empathy?

In what ways do you show/see empathy in your community?