Connection vs. Disconnection
Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection. How many times have expressed your vulnerability by sharing your sadness, fear or frustration only to be met in ways that feel, well--not great, or even worse than you did before! What are those unskillful ways? Trying to fix, exhortations to "look on the bright side", lectures to "just move on", or worse...offering sympathy.
This short and wonderfully accessible cartoon features a sad fox, an empathetic bear, and a lecturing, judgmental reindeer. It teaches us how to be with someone you care about who is suffering in a way even a child can understand...You just can't distance yourself from someone in pain, you need to open your heart to "be with" the heart of the other. Compassion literally translates into "with feeling". This is the only way to establish the connection that heals.
Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection. This time of year, there are so many opportunities to practice skills that lead to connection. Empathy is one of them. The gifts are incaculable. In your life, may every fox have a bear.