In response to a call to action by Dream Corps, founded by Van Jones, to join the #lovearmy, I have created “#EmpathySquads”. “The #LoveArmy is an alternative to the despair and divisiveness gaining momentum in our communities.” It focuses on love and power. I am aligned and I want to also stand with the most vulnerable, listen with empathy, and remain open to learning and responding out of love, rather than react out of hate or fear.
Our world and our local communities can #thrivemore with action coming from a foundation of love and clear humane intention. #EmpathySquads are fertile learning and practice grounds for the learning, living, and embodying of empathy. The goal is for us to incorporate into our lives, an empathic way of being, listening and communicating, and to do this with depth. Humans are born naturally compassionate and empathic. This #EmpathicFluency can be thwarted by trauma, and less poignant but ever-pervasive social norms of autonomy toward separateness. Many cultures consider vulnerability a weakness rather than a strength, and us humans so often see deep connection as risky. If faced with enough experiences of loss or pain alongside expressions of vulnerability, we humans can create beliefs such as, “Don’t reveal too much about my inner world, I will feel pain.”, or “I won’t belong if I share this.” With you in #EmpathySquads, I want to create intentional new beliefs, and a powerful sustainable culture of empathy. #empathyfirst
- When listened to fully and when humans experience a sense of being understood by another being, we also experience a sense of belonging. (Rather than despair and a sense of “othering”.)
- When we give empathy to another human being, and listen deeply by pausing our own stories to hear someone else’s experience, we tap into connection and power. (Rather than separation and helplessness.)
- When we are heard for our experience, a shift can happen in us, creating more space for our own creativity around what happens. (Rather than resorting to ineffective habits our of fear and panic.)
- Giving and receiving empathy helps us understand ourselves as naturally resourceful, creative and whole. We feel empowered. (Rather than powerless and ineffective.)
- Empathic exchange creates space in us and others for clear thinking and being. (Rather than acting from a mind-set crowded with suspicion and energy-draining hyper-vigilance.)
- Practicing connected conversation when stimulated creates new connection-based habits as support when you are triggered. (Rather than relying on primal strategies of fight, freeze, flight, or create drama.)