Tag Archives: Empathy

Caring for the Caregivers: Six Tools for Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships – Episode #1

Building and maintaining positive relationships in your life, while working long hours at work and then taking care of family at home, is a huge challenge. In this episode learn the six tools (plus one bonus tool) that Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie use everyday with the important people in their lives.

[powerpress channel=”caregiverpodcast”]

Episode Time Codes

01:00 Introduction
02:35 Indrani shares the definition of a boundary and how to use this definition with people in your life.
05:40 Amy shares how to use empathy when listening.
09:48 Jeremie shares how to use 10 minute breaks to change roles in your life and be more present.
16:25 Indrani discusses how to identify when you are being triggered.
21:40 Amy explains the difference between being self-FULL and being selfish
26:47 Bonus tool: “What story am I making up about this?”
28:00 Jeremie asks the question: “Is what I am about to say or do going to improve this relationship?”
31:10 Summary of all six tools and the bonus tool

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

VIDEO: It’s not about the Nail
BOOK: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Brighter Life Bit #26: Attributes of Empathy

ILF_Wtagline_Logo rgbYou can listen to the original teaching at the 19:50 minute mark of the Class 4 recording. You can download the audio from the ILF website here.

The attributes of empathy are defined. After listening to this part of the recording, grab your journal or open a word document on your computer and write down the four attributes of empathy.

Listen to Indrani’s example on the recording.

Do you see how you can see the world through someone else’s eyes?

Your exercise assignment this week: Find a “low intensity” situation with someone you don’t know (i.e., a cashier at the store, someone standing in line, maybe a neighbour you don’t know well).  Strike up a conversation and look for an opportunity to practice some language around an empathetic situation.

Share your experience with how this exercise worked for you in the comments of this post.

LABL 014: Shame and Shame Resilience with Brene Brown

ILF_Wtagline_Logo copyWelcome to Episode #14 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani and Brené Brown discuss:

  • Shame and shame resilience
  • the difference between empathy and compassion
  • why relieving suffering can protect you
  • why it is important to model a healthy life to your children
  • why incongruent living is so exhausting
  • the link between expectations and shame
  • and so much more…

You can learn more about Brene Brown at www.brenebrown.com

Podcast Recording


LABL 004: Finding Resilience – Find Your Self Compassion

Welcome to Episode #4 of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live a Brighter Life Podcast Indrani and Andrea discuss how to find your resilience. Specifically you will:

  • Learn the importance of shame resilience
  • Understand the attributes of empathy
  • Identify your own shame story
  • Name your trusted network
  • Explore your strengths


I thought it was just me by Brené Brown

Podcast Recording


LABL 003: Letting Go – Uncover Your Self-Respect

Welcome to Episode #3 of the Live A Brighter Life Podcast!

In this episode of the Live A Brighter Life Podcast Indrani and Andrea discuss letting go. Specifically you will:

  • Define “shame”
  • Differentiate between shame, guilt, humiliation and embarrassment
  • Understand the dangers, irony, and contradictions of shame
  • Acknowledge triggers
  • Identify the sources of shame
  • Practice critical awareness


I Thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown

Podcast Recording



African-American-woman-meditating1We all know that PTSD means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but do you know what PTG means?
PTG is Post Traumatic Growth.
There is much evidence that there can be growth from trauma.
No one would choose to be traumatized.
Trauma is an uninvited visitor and some people turn it into amazing gifts.
These people describe their lives as before the (fill in the blank) and after.
They seem to be able to excavate the experience and come up with the most amazing insights.

I recently attended a Women and Power Conference and met many such women.
There was Loung Ung whose parents were executed by the Kymer Rouge. Loung was forced to be a child soldier and has now written three books and has returned to Cambodia more than 30 times to promote human rights and justice. You can learn about her at www.loungung.com

Then I was mesmerized by Ubaka Hill, who was raped starting at a very young age and has turned to music and drumming to promote healing and community building.
You can journey with her at www.ubakahilldrumsong.com

These women are JUST like you and me. Trauma found them and they found ways to self heal and to heal their respective communities.

I was an abused child and now I devote my life to help victims of Domestic Violence because by helping the mom I can help the child who has been abused or witnessed abuse.

I am no one special. My trauma gave me my super power of compassion and empathy.
My trauma made me special….the trauma that I did not invite.

I know that you too have had trauma that was UNinvited.
Will you talk to a professional about the best way to move through your pain and then will you step into PTG?

The growth is in there…and it wants to come out.
Love and light,


A thunderstorm of shame….

images via ebonyYou’re not really my friend … so you can’t share our hotel room!

These words were said to me about 24 years ago by two women who I thought were my friends.
Let me set up the scenario.
I was pregnant with my second child and really quite pregnant….about 7 months.
I was a member of a women’s club that was hosting a girl’s weekend and I was attending. One last hurrah before the baby came.
I had brought two women into the club and so I approached them and said, “Let’s share a room!” They said sure!
A few days later, one of them came to me and said, “Katherine and I spoke and we realized that we are not that good of
friends with you….so we don’t want to share a room with you.”

Holy Crap….did she really just say that?
Yep, she did!
I went home and wept!
I wept like a baby.
Listening to Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability has allowed me to rewrite the script of that painful incident and to keep it now in my arsenal for great examples of when self-love could have helped me.

Listening to these CDs is like eating 12 scoops of ice cream too fast and getting brain freeze but you would never think of throwing the ice cream away.

If we can remember the hurtful moments in our lives, we can give ourselves the empathy that others could not show and we can use those hurtful memories to help others in pain.

We can call upon our hurtful past to become an empathetic listener to someone else.

Let us remember without falling prey to the pain.

Let us live BIG and BE vulnerable. It is the only way to whole-hearted living. Thanks Brene.

Love and light,


We are THEY…

In the book I Thought It Was Just Me…(but it isn’t), Dr. Brene Brown cautions us to not divide the world into US and THEY.

We have all experienced loss, addictions, failures, etc. To draw a random line around the mistakes that THEY make VS the mistakes the WE make makes no sense.
The only thing it does is keep us separated from seeing the other as being human and needing empathy and compassion just as much as we do.

How many groups of THEY do you recognize in your own life?
Different religions?
Different cultures?
Different side of the tracks?
Different skin color?
Different accents?
Different sexual orientations?

The list of THEY is endless, isn’t it?

Does the list make you feel safe?
Does the list allow you to stereotype more easily?
Does the list allow you to be a better bully?

Can you ever be SURE that the beliefs you hold about all the groups of THEY are true?
If you cannot prove it, why continue to believe it?

Perhaps this week you can stick your toe into a shallow pool of a THEY group, perhaps you will find something quite surprising. Perhaps you will find someone who feels quite like you.
Someone who has fears like you.
Someone who loves and wants the best for their kids, much like you.
Someone who reads bedtime stories to their kids at night, like you.
Someone who has been betrayed by life, like you.
Someone who just wants to be understood, like you.

I hope you take a chance. I hope you are sweetly surprised.

Love and light,

Oneupmanship, Dismissal, Pity does NOT equal EMPATHY.

Woman with Arms Crossed by Picasso

I was at a meeting recently and one of the ladies offered something sad about a parent’s death. The look on her face clearly said “I am in pain, I don’t expect anyone to fix it, I am just sharing and I just need an ear”. Clearly, at least to me.

What happened then was not uncommon, but for the first time I was able to observe and to notice what was happening in the woman who shared.

Woman A piped up with “You think that’s bad, when my parent died….blah blah blah” (read oneupmanship).

Woman B piped in with a louder voice and said “Well, it’s just stuff, right?” (read dismissal).

Woman C chimed in with “Oh poor you” (read pity).

I kept looking at the face of the woman in pain and she got really stiff and then completely shut down, as she hugged her arms across her chest tighter and tighter. It was fascinating and sad. I was fascinated at how much information she was giving with her facial expressions and body language and equally stumped as to how the other women were completely oblivious to her. I was also saddened as to the reactions of the other women. They seemed to have been trapped in a world where their opinions were the only ones that accounted for anything.

These women are all very good friends. Each one thought that they were supporting their friend. But each one had their one agenda and that was to make her feel better by making her problem seem less significant.

We all do this, without even thinking. What she needed was an empathetic ear. This was not empathy.

 According to Arn Ivey, Paul Pederson and Mary Ivey, empathy is defined as “the ability to perceive a situation from the other person’s perspective. To see, hear, feel the unique world of the other.”

Brene Brown tells us that “real empathy takes more than words- it takes work….Our words are only as effective as our ability to be genuinely present and engage with someone as she tells her story.”

Further Dr. Brown describes empathy as “the skill or ability to tap into our own experiences in order to connect with an experience someone is relating to us.”

Some ways to communicate true empathy could look something like…

“You must feel really bad about that” or

“That must have really hurt you” or

“I see that you are hurt by that”

None of the above, attempts to fix.

None of the above, places our perspective on the other or negates what the other is feeling.

All of the above, places the person in pain as the focus.

The next time someone offers you the chance to show empathy, take it as a gift to you. That person is giving you a unique opportunity to practice a skill so lacking in our world.


Love and light