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Empathy: Let Someone Know That You’re There For Them

Grief and Loss, Self Care

As both a mother and a therapist, I have the innate instinct to always want to help others. Help them communicate. Help them solve their problems. Help them through life’s obstacles. Help them better their relationship with their spouse and/or family.

Over time, I realized that problem solving was not always the best road to take. Sometimes, when a loved one is going through a difficult period, it’s almost like watching them sit in a deep, dark hole. For many, like myself, we want to make them feel better. Lift their spirits, talk about the positives in their life.

Going in that dark hole with that person is an uncomfortable and vulnerable feeling. Why would I sit with them and allow them to be sad? Because sharing and validating other’s feelings is empathy.


In Brené Brown’s RSA short, “The Power of Empathy,” she talks about how empathy “fuels connection.”

Sitting with a loved one in their dark place will drive a connection that lets them know that you’re there with them. It lets them know that it’s okay and they should not be ashamed to feel what the way that they do. It lets them know that you understand.

What would it be like for you to sit in that deep dark hole with a loved one? Empathy is you placing yourself in their shoes to feel what they’re feeling. For me, whether I’m with a client or a loved one, my heart hurts with them. Or I have that helpless feeling that resides in the pit of my stomach and back of my throat. Part of being empathetic is having those uncomfortable physical and emotional feelings sit within myself as well.

To tell you the truth, there are times that I hate it, mostly because I can’t make it better for that person at that very moment. However, in the long run, I do make it better by sitting in that dark place. I make it better because I let them know, you are not alone- because I am here with you.

This Post Written By:
Jamie Pattee, LMFT – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380