An Invitation to Empathy …one year later

Brett Culp – HR West 2018 Keynote

Last November, I sat in a living room with 10 people of diverse viewpoints sharing their hearts. They talked openly about their struggles and fears. Tricia and I were invited to facilitate the discussion, but we cried right along with them.

I wish you could have been there. My heart was filled with hope watching these people build connection with each other from love, even when they knew they didn’t agree on everything.

Healthy relationships and communities are built on speaking and listening well. I believe the events of the last year are an opportunity for all of us to do this together.  Right now, some of our deepest beliefs and anxieties are coming to the surface.

Whatever your opinions are, whomever you voted for, you have a choice:

Will you stoke the fires of endless debate and separation? Or will you create environments that help EVERYONE speak their hearts, feel known, and recognize that they are absolutely loved and valued?

Here’s a thought that might help:

In counseling sessions, therapists recommend speaking from your experience. For example, your instinct might be to say “You don’t respect me.” And maybe that’s true. Perhaps the person you are speaking to doesn’t respect you. But the bigger goal is beyond simply speaking the truth. You want to create understanding, because relationships are built on connection, not information.

You could choose to shift your words to “I FEEL like you don’t respect me” or “When you did this I SAW it as disrespect.” Rather than condemning, you are sharing your experience and inviting me to listen and join you in it. This opens the door for empathy.

I love your heart, and your voice matters. The good news is that being yourself doesn’t require attacking or shaming others. It doesn’t have to be “you” against “them.” You can invite people to understand your story and expand their own story in the process. This is the essence of real community.

Read more about Brett CulpFilmmaker, Keynote Speaker, Social Entrepreneur
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