The Power of Empathy
“A Rabbit Noticed my Condition”
I was sad one day and went for a walk;
I sat in a field.
A rabbit noticed my condition and came near.
It often does not take more than that to help at times –
to just be close to creatures who
are so full of knowing, so full of love
that they don’t chat,
they just gaze with their marvelous understanding.
16th-century mystic Saint John of the Cross
Who I am!
"If you want to learn a thing, read
about it; if you want to know a
thing, write about it; if you want
to master a thing, teach it.”
n Emma Collins
n Certified Transformational Coach
n Lives in Switzerland.
n Loves mountains, swimming in the
lake and collecting art.
n Specializes in Nonviolent
compassionate minds and living
our gifts and true purpose!
How are you feeling?
What is Empathy?
“Empathy is respectful
understanding of what others are
experiencing. Often instead of
offering empathy we have a
strong urge to give advice or
reassurance and to explain our
own position or feeling. Empathy,
however, calls upon us to empty
our mind and listen to the others
with our whole being”
n Empathy is a respectful
understanding of what others
are experiencing. It does not
require us to agree with them,
or offer sympathy.
n Empathy requires us to focus
fully on the other person's
n Listening deeply and with our
Empathy is not:
n Not sympathy - "Oh, you poor thing.
What a shame. I feel awful for you.”
n Not fixing, advising or educating - "If
I were you, I would…Why don't you
n Not analyzing - "If you hadn't been so
rude...What's wrong with you! She's
taking advantage of you.”
n Not correcting or arguing – "That's
not how it happened. I didn't start
this, you did!” Excuse me? I never
What gets in the way?
n Thinking about what to say.
n Trying to figure out the solution to their
n Deciding I know the solution / what they
n Getting caught up in strategies.
n Wanting to fix it or making it better.
n Not being self-connected and aware of my
own feelings and needs.
n Not having enough empathy or space for
‘Don’t just do something. Be there!’
n Listening with a quiet mind and an open heart.
n Focusing on my own or another's deeper feelings and needs.
n Stepping into the space of listening as an act of hospitality.
n Curiosity, acceptance and openness to whatever is
happening in me, or with the other person.
n I practice empathy using an approach called Nonviolent
n This means I use an assumption that everything that everyone
says and does is an attempt to meet their needs.
n And that these needs are shared and universal.
n We all have the same needs, and we are all trying to meet
them in order to thrive!
n I use NVC to hear my own precious needs and those of
n Developed by Marshall Rosenberg
n A four step process, in two parts, that supports connection,
cooperation and dialogue.
n NVC shows us how to reframe how we hear others and
n Instead of reactive, habitual responses, that alienate us from
each other and ourselves, our words become consciously
focused on what we are observing, feeling, needing and
n It’s foundation is empathy!
+The four steps of NVC:
① Observation –What do I see, hear, smell, touch, taste or
remember seeing, hearing etc.? Something that can be
recorded with a video or audio recorder and is free from
evaluation and interpretation.
② Feelings – What emotions do I feel right now? Distinct
from thoughts, emotions can be felt in the body.
③ Needs – What do I need, long for, value or desire in this
moment? Needs are qualities that contribute to making
life wonderful.They are seperate from strategies.
④ Requests – What strategy could I ask of myself or another
person to meet my needs?
The two parts – the dance of
n Courageously and vulnerably
expressing what is alive in me.
n Trusting that this contributes to
connection and to making life
more wonderful for us both.
n As well as learning to express
our observations, feelings,
needs and requests, we also
want to learn to listen for these
components in the messages of
n The extent to which I am able
to hear and empathise with
myself, is the extent to which I
can hear and empathise with
+All very well in theory!
NVC is not about sticking to a strict formula
u It is about practices that support a shift in our perception:
n What is alive in me?
n What is going on for this person?
n What is the need here?
u The essence of NVC is that we perceive situations with
compassionate curiosity, rather than in terms of judgment, blame,
evaluation and demand.
u Distinguishing between what we see and what we think about it,
supports us in staying present.
u We open our hearts and minds to our shared humanity and stay
present with what is alive in us at any given time.
Practicing the shift….
n Some behaviors you don’t like in others.
n What kinds of things do you think about this person?
n How do you feel when they behave like this?
n What needs of yours are not met?
n What needs do we think they are trying to meet?
n How do we feel about this person now?
How can we cultivate empathy?
n Empathy comes from the heart, not the head. So it is
important to mindfully cultivate this sense of unconditional
respect from the heart and proceed from there.
n Take a few minutes to sense the other person’s perspective,
not just from your head, but from your heart. Ask yourself,
how might this other person feel?
n Imagine seeing the world from their point of view, even if you
n Imagine the kindest, most loving and gentle person is
whispering in your ear…what would they say to offer you
acceptance for your inner experience right now?
Just like me…..
n Just like me, this person feels
happiness joy and excitement.
n Just like me, this person feels
sadness, loneliness and fear.
n Just like me, this person is
doing everything they can to
meet his/her needs.
n Just like me, this person wants
to contribute and grow.
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Compassion and the ripple effect
n Compassion is the wish or urge to do something to alleviate
n Empathy is the first step in accessing compassion.
n People who develop and practice their empathy skills have
greater resilience and are less likely to experience burn out
when faced with overwhelming suffering.
n Just one person acting with more compassion and empathy
impacts 3 degrees of separation away from them – the ripple
effect is huge!
n And studies have shown that those with compassionate ways of
thinking and behaving experience less inflammation at a
n Are natural and point to
n Can be dissolved with
compassionate curiosity so we
can return to harmony.
n Attending to my own inner
conflicts is as important as the
n NVC is the most powerful tool I
have found to reconnect with
myself and others!
Check out time….
What are you taking away?
n What are the tools you are taking
n One thing that had the most impact for
you – your aha moment/golden
n One thing you want to do differently