Every single day, we are faced with bad news. I’m not talking about your favorite MAC lipstick shade being discontinued. I’m talking about wildfires in California, hurricanes in Puerto Rico, earthquakes in Iran. It can seem dang near impossible to find a glimmer of light in a world so fraught with tragedy. But take heart in the stories that give you hope, like the homeless veteran who spent his last 20 bucks on gas to help a stranded female motorist, and the more than 14,000 people who donated $400,000 to that good-hearted man. Today, channel the good stuff.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 2
“Why don’t you care?” is definitely a question I’ve asked any number of men before. But if you think men don’t quite have the empathetic spirit we ladies do, think again. Research shows guys just express empathy differently. According to researchers, there are two key types of empathy. Affective empathy involves sharing an emotional response with another person, and it’s this kind of empathy women are simply better at achieving. Cognitive empathy involves being able to see the world how others see it. And according to research, men might actually be better at adopting this kind of empathy.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Kelsey Crowe, Founder of Help Each Other Out
In the spirit of spreading the love, today, we’re talking about Kelsey Crowe. She started a wonderful community called Help Each Other Out that has empathy at the heart of all it does. Help Each Other Out is focused on the idea that being there for others is often easier than we think, and it definitely matters.
This mission stems from a circumstance we all face during our lives: Something terrible happens and then we become afraid to talk about it. Why are we fearful? Perhaps it’s because we simply aren’t sure what others will say.
Empathy comes from going through trials and tribulations of our own, but, as Kelsey knows, it can also be taught. That’s the goal of the Help Each Other Out Empathy Workshops, a program Kelsey designed to help improve workplace culture and build stronger, more trusting relationships. What you learn through Kelsey’s social-science approach is to take action when a colleague is going through a rough patch. Instead of avoiding Jessica in HR when you find out she’s getting divorced, you’ll learn how to feel comfortable asking how she’s doing and be openly supportive.
Kelsey has a background in social welfare and philanthropy, and she teaches social work at California State University, so she clearly knows her stuff. She also offers up some fantastic insight in her book, There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love. Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame calls it a crash course in Humanity 101 and a real gift. By teaching compassion through a humorous lens, Kelsey gives readers a new perspective—and absolutely no excuses—when it comes to empathy.
For some real-world empathetic actions you can take today for a friend or colleague, Kelsey offers some awesome ideas. For instance, be your girlfriend’s go-to transportation, offering to drop her off at the airport or pick her up from the hospital. Give her a small gift. Whether it’s just a $5 Starbucks card or a yummy cupcake, a simple gesture goes a long way. For your co-worker, offer up some of your time off for her to use, as a life tragedy can often drain allotted vacation and sick leave. Lastly, simply be a good listener. Sometimes that’s all someone who’s suffering really needs.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s conclude today with a quote by the ever-empathetic Dalai Lama. He said:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.