The difference between deep empathy and niceness

posted in: Empathy | 12

When people think of empathy, they tend to see it as a soft skill — as a yielding and pleasing kind of behavior. They think: If you listen to me and agree with me and make me feel good, that’s empathy. If you fix my problems and soothe everything, that’s empathy. Empathy equals niceness. But there’s actually a deeper form of empathy that transcends mere niceness … Read More

The social genius of jealousy and envy

posted in: Emotions | 13

Welcoming jealousy and envy! Jealousy and envy need a hearty welcome, because they are perhaps two of the most hated (and valenced) emotions in the entire emotional realm. This is a tragedy, because jealousy and envy are actually essential for your social survival — you really need them! Luckily for us, we can work with jealousy and envy empathically and shield ourselves from the deeply unfortunate … Read More

Bringing nuance to your emotional life

posted in: Emotions | 0

The Wonderful World of Emotional Nuance! As we study emotions empathically, I’m starting out by focusing on four ideas that are widely shared, completely accepted — and absolutely problematic. These four commonly accepted ideas actually prevent you from being able to approach your emotions — or anyone else’s — intelligently. They are: The problem with valencing (imagining that there are positive or negative emotions, or pro-social … Read More

Even more emotional vocabulary!

posted in: Emotions | 13

Thank you so much, commenters and Facebook pals! We did a great job with our first four emotions, and now I’d appreciate your help with the emotions Shame & Guilt, Jealousy & Envy, and the Suicidal Urge. Jealousy & Envy are especially difficult, because they’ve been mashed together in our language as if they’re the same emotion! We’ll start with a social emotion that has a … Read More

How to talk to sad, jealous, anxious kids

posted in: Empathic Skills | 13

Okay, so my husband Tino and I are living in what I call “unintentional community,” or a condo complex. It’s a nice place near his new job, it’s month-to-month so we can look for a home, and it’s got trees and lovely plantings everywhere, so I’m not complaining. However, we’re right on top of people, so we hear the goings on, especially with a neighbor family … Read More