The Essential Human Trait...

My friend Randall is an emergency Doc in Calgary. When asked how he deals with the trauma and loss that he witnesses on a daily basis, he replied “Well, Doctors have to remove themselves emotionally to some degree, but if we do too much, it becomes dangerous.”

It becomes dangerous in any circumstance when a person disconnects completely from the thread of human experience. In fact, the only way we could ever be capable of bullying, raping or inflicting violence on someone else is by assuming a perspective of separation from the whole.

Alternatively, when we feel connected to our fellow creatures we often experience empathy by sharing the emotional state of another, or a sense of ‘feeling for’ another’s struggles. In our natural state, our hearts are open and attuned to others on an energetic level.

But as life happens and we incur our own pain, this empathy trait can get lost in the race to win, achieve, be noticed or get revenge.

Here are a few evidence-based tips for developing empathy in your whole family:

1. Build a strong family emotional foundation: people who have grown up with strong attachment relationships, know that their basic need for connection is met and are better able to empathize with others.
2. Get connected: teach those around you to identify with others. When people relate to others by finding similarities, they are more likely to feel empathetic and act kindly.
3. Model Empathy: if you want to see more empathy in the world, start living it. People are always watching, especially children. When a person stands up for the victimized, that raises the empathy bar for all.

The desire to re-awaken this essential trait in all of us is the driving force behind “The Empathy Factory”. In collaboration with Breathing Space Bedford, I invite you to join us for the Breathing Empathy Event on Saturday September 15, 2012. For more details visit

As each person develops their empathy muscle, we move closer to a utopia of peace we all deeply long for in the world.

Jenny K