Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

   Home    Conference   Magazine   Empathy Tent   Services    Newsletter   Facebook    Youtube   Contact   Search

Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Culture of Empathy Builder:   Mary Mackenzie

 Mary Mackenzie & Edwin Rutsch:  How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC

Mary Mackenzie is a CNVC Certified Trainer and executive director of Peace Workshop International. She is the author of "Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing and Compassion"Mary is, Co-founder of NVC Academy, the World's Premier eLearning Academy for Nonviolent Communication


Empathy is like shifting smoothly into gear while the opposite is grinding the clutch and gears. To develope a culture of empathy, first, develop a consistent self empathy practice that you are committed to.
Sub Conference: NVC




Mary Mackenzie & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with NVC



  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)


Building a Culture of Empathy

First, developing a consistent self empathy practice that you are committed to.
Most of us seem to believe that we need to learn something or do something or get someone else to do something in order for us to be empathetic. The real work, in my opinion, is to be devoted to ourselves and our own practice. EVERYONE benefits when we do this. Compassion and empathy are inside-out jobs. Compassion is a natural result of experiencing love for self. It is less accessible when we think we’re less-than, if we think we’re unloved, if we think there’s scarcity anywhere, if we’re in fear, etc.

Second, meditation.

Meditation (again a thing to do for one’s self) calms the mind and spirt and reminds us of our divine nature. It reminds us of the thing that does NOT EVER change, our Divinity, Higher Self, God or whatever we call it, inside ourselves. When we connect to the Divine in ourselves, we automatically have easier access in connecting to the Divine in others.

Third, Make a Commitment and stick to your commitment relentlessly.
 If you want a peaceful world, be peaceful. In whatever sphere of influence we have, be peaceful. This is no small thing. It means, be committed – when you’re talking to the grocery clerk who triggers you, when you talk to the telephone company representative, when you’ve walked 8 blocks out of your way because someone told you the thing you wanted would be there and it wasn’t, when someone takes the parking place that you thought was yours, when someone cuts you off in traffic, when your mother calls you for the 4th time this week just to talk, when your dad tells you that you could lose a few pounds, when your dog poops on your carpet – again, when your friend tells you that she’s not sure of NVC because there’s too much processing, when someone tells you that you should calm down – in all the thousands of moments in a day, commit to showing up peacefully, and this means connection to self and others. Don’t spend any energy thinking peace is for other people to do. Peace happens in all the mundane moments in a life. It happens when we commit to it happening.

And, when you have moments when you don’t show up in ways that you feel good about, and those moments will happen, engage in your self empathy practice to release the negative energy and sit in meditation (this could be a 1 minute meditation even) to remind yourself of the truth in you and the other person. When you do this, you are living your commitment.