On the Side of Truth: The Analytical Strength

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or … Read moreOn the Side of Truth: The Analytical Strength

The New Bear Hug

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15 (NRSVCE)

Source: The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts – https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw

Perspective taking, staying out of judgement, recognizing emotion in others, and communicating it are the hallmarks of empathy. This short video featuring Brené Brown explains why we need to climb down into the hole and connect.


“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” – Brené Brown

In her book, Dare to Lead, Brené Brown reminds readers “daring leadership is leading from heart, not hurt”. Furthermore, she states “Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.” Those, whose strength is empathy, are often those who do put themselves out there. They lead with their heart not their head. Those with empathy feel and experience things at deep levels. Empaths are extremely compassionate and capable of placing themselves in someone else’s shoes. It isn’t unusual for empaths to pick up on positivity or negativity around them or to be able to express pain or joy for others. This intuitiveness means that people are naturally drawn to those with the empathy strength. For the empath however, this can become exhausting, as without even realizing why, they will carry the burden for others. People who have empathy can be life giving for those whose well-being is compromised. The ability to name anxiety, sorrow, anticipation or even happiness for someone else make empaths integral to any team.

Students usually like teachers who are high in empathy since students feel like the teacher really “gets them”. The empathetic teacher senses when his/her students aren’t quite themselves. This perceptivity helps the teacher to make adjustments and plan for time to converse with students. These teachers are also able to help their colleagues to be aware of the feelings surrounding them. It is important to give credence to the feelings of these individuals. They are often on the right track before others but they aren’t yet able to explicitly define why. The empathetic teacher can become easily burned out if s/he doesn’t employ self-care strategies.

Students high in empathy might find themselves easily distracted by changes in the energy around them. They might be more easily prone to tears or emotional responses. They thrive in harmony and positivity but might shut down when faced with dissonancy, aggression, or conflict in the air. Trying to surround students who are high in empathy with positivity is critical in order to keep them happy and hopeful. These students benefit from direct instruction in self-awareness and self-care. Learning how to listen but not take-on others problems will serve them well. For a teacher who might not have empathy as a strength, these students can be valuable in helping to gage the readiness or response to new situations.

If your strength is empathy, practice self-care, surround yourself with positivity, and know that your friendships will be deep and lasting.