Episode 13: Are You An Empathetic Person?
May 16, 2011

Living the Questions Podcast, Episode 13 (Are You An Empathetic Person?)

Do you have an ability for empathy?  Even if you disagree with someone, can you understand where she’s coming from?  What was the one moment in your life where you wished someone had understood you?  And how might you understand someone currently?

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Beyond Empathy site.

Jeremy Rifkin’s RSA lecture, “The Empathic Civilisation,” animated!  Don’t miss this.
Sam Richard’s TEDx talk “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.”
Brené Brown’s TEDx talk “The Power of Vulnerability.” Such a poignant, humorous talk on empathy, belonging, being real, and ridding yourself of the shame!  You’ll love it.  If you only have time to listen to one talk, this is the one for you.
Jonathan Harris’s TED talk on “The Web’s Secret Stories.” See his and Sep Kamvar’s artistic experiment below, under Art.

Quizzes and assessments
BBC’s quiz “Spot the Fake Smile,” based on research by Professor Paul Ekman, a psychologist at the University of California.  20 questions, 10 minutes.  See how you score.
Baron-Cohen’s test “Reading the Mind in the Eyes.” Can you tell what a person is feeling by their eyes?  Test yourself!
Test your Empathy Quotient with a quick test, based on Baron-Cohen’s work.

We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar.  An amazing piece of art, really.  This website scours the internet every 10 minutes for “I feel” or I’m feeling” statements, collects them, validates them as a true feeling, and displays them with other feelings around the world.

Practical guides (words and phrases to use…and not to use)
Dr. James T. Hardee’s “An Overview of Empathy.” My questions and phrases came from his paper.

You might ask:
Can you tell me more?
What has this been like for you?
How do you feel about this?

You can clarify what they’ve said:
I think you’re saying that…
Tell me more about…

Then validate:
Sounds like you’re…
I can imagine that must be…
That must make you feel…

LaShelle Lowe-Chardé’s Wise Heart site (with lots of ideas for helpful words and phrases). See checklist below.

Episode Cover Art:

Girl Holding Earth by flaivoloka on stock.xchng.

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  1. Sylvia
    May 16, 2011

    Thanks for your podcast. If every newly wed couple could hear and head this it would sure solve a lot of problems.

    • Elissa
      May 17, 2011

      I wish I would have known those few simple truths way back then! It would have saved me a lot of grief! 🙂

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