Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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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


Empathy and how it relates to other Values:
How does empathy relate to other values? This is a place to make the connection to each value.

Empathy and:







   Compassion is empathy applied to suffering and pain.



Empathy, Education, and Musical Chairs by Nadine Dolby
As it turns out, however, recent scientific advancements in the field of neuroscience are showing that actually, these parents--and everyone else who believes that people are only inherently competitive--are wrong.  Instead, human brains are actually primed for both competition and cooperation: which side of us emerges as more dominant is dependent on our culture. 

Everyone Isn't a Winner--and Shouldn't Be by Laura Zax
How to compete in a way that creates "good" winners and losers.
Empathy goes hand-in-hand with collaboration. Does that mean that empathetic parenting and teaching should be devoid of competition? It’s natural to want to shield our kids—whether our students or our offspring—from losing. But eliminating competition from our children’s lives would be doing them a disservice. The world is full of competition, full of opportunities to win out and to lose out. Applying to college, entering the job market, navigating romantic relationships—all of these inevitable “real” life experiences will involve wins and losses.


"Empathy also plays a role in cooperation. One needs to pay close attention to the activities and goals of others to cooperate effectively... Effective cooperation requires being exquisitely in tune with the emotional states and goals of others." Frans de Waal


"The ability to recognize oneself in the other and the other in oneself is a deeply democratizing experience. Empathy is the soul of democracy. It is an acknowledgment that each life is unique, unalienable, and deserving of equal consideration in the public square. The evolution of empathy and the evolution of democracy have gone hand in hand throughout history. The more empathic the culture, the more democratic its values and governing institutions. The less empathic the culture, the more totalitarian its values and governing institutions. While apparent, it's strange how little attention has been paid to the inextricable relationship between empathic extension and democratic expansion in the study of history and evolution of governance.

Reimagining freedom, equality, and democracy from an empathic perspective has far-ranging consequences for the kind of society that we choose to live in." Jeremy Rifkin



 Article: Depressed? Be kind, compassionate
Depressed? Be kind, compassionate | Empathy and Compassion |  
'Rather than taking anti-depressants, people suffering from depression have an inexpensive way out - practising acts of kindness and compassion, new research claims.

Acts of kindness or compassion might serve as an effective treatment for depressed people, say researchers from the University of California, Riverside, and the Duke University Medical Centre. '


 Article: Depression and Empathy in Couples
Depression and Empathy in Couples | Empathy and Compassion |  
Not surprisingly, people who suffer from depression often have difficult romantic relationships -- when they have them at all.

researchers also found that higher levels of depressive symptoms in women predicted partners’ lower empathic accuracy regarding the women’s negative moods and relationship feelings.

As the researchers note, the data suggest that a woman’s depression affects not just herself, but also her partner. Depressed women’s relationships are likely to suffer doubly as well — not only is her empathy accuracy lowered by her depression, but her partner’s empathic accuracy is also lowered. She can’t read her partner as well, and he is unable to accurately read her mood or relationship feelings either.




Psychopaths: Good or Evil (BBC)  


Beyond Forgiveness: How does Empathy relate to Forgiveness and Atonement?



If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The Dalai Lama

Stanford University Conference: 'Happiness Within Reach 2011' from Empathy & Compassion


 Video by Edwin Rutsch.  A one day long conference on happiness at Stanford University. The importance of empathy, self-compassion, compassion and connecting with others to being happy was a constant theme..

"And it turns out that this fear of having compassion for yourself is strongly correlated with fear of having compassion for others, and a lack of willingness to extend compassion to others. Self compassion is not letting ourselves off the hook and being self indulgent, it's about choosing to use our own happiness and our own desire for meaning and connection with others as our primary motivation, as opposed to using guilt shame and fear as our primary motivation."

 Happy - the movie' Video: Interview with the director of 'Happy - the movie'
 The director says, "A persons values have a huge impact in their happiness, So if someone values things likeower, fame and good looks, social status - people who becomes successful at those goals o money pr not, tend to be less happy then people who value things like compassion, empathy and cooperation, wanting to make the world a better place.

Happy the movie - Director Roko Belic on how Empathy is the Foundation of Happiness
Interview with Edwin Rutsch

The core of human nature, I think, is based on empathy and compassion. It's extremely rare to find someone that does not empathize in some way or form naturally. The Dali Lama said it best, it's not a religious thing, it's not a political idea, this is the way we are born, this is in our blood.

Empathy, compassion, living by the golden rule, all of those things are so critical to, not only to your own personal happiness, but to the sustainability of our societies and of the human race. So empathy is, I think, one of the core ingredients, not only for a happy life, but of a happy world.


The Business of Happiness: Does Empathy Lead to Success?  

  • Ted Leonsis

  • The human emotion that needs to be tuned the most, and that the happiest people exhibit is empathy

  • Empathy, in it's base form, keeps the world working.

  • Basic empathy is a trait that serial murderers, have no empathy. Psychopaths show a lack of empathy

  • What is the trait that people who are treated as heroes show? high levels of empathy.

  • It's the empathy, that we feel the other person

  • The happier you are, the more empathetic you become,

    •  the more connected to communities,

    • the more you're likely to be successful











"Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins. And it's up to you to make that happen." Barack Obama

“By peace we mean the capacity to transform conflicts with empathy, without violence, and creatively -  a never-ending process” Johan Galtung

"As you travel through the Middle East what keeps on striking home to me is how similar everyone is, and yet the degree to which we can find differences to fight wars over. It requires a great deal of empathy, I think, between various sides to overcome this history and live in peace."  Barack Obama

"we remember those who are less fortunate, ....   and at this sacred time of year let us join together across denominations, religions and cultures to make a habit of empathy and reach out to those most in need. To share the blessings we enjoy and to advance the cause of peace in all corners of our world." Barack Obama

"we are constantly striving for peace, we are doubling up on our diplomacy, we are going to actively engage, we are going to try to see the world through other people's eyes and not just our own" Barack Obama




Shame & Empathy by Dr. Brené Brown

2008-02-02 PBS Interview 2nd of 2
How do we learn the attributes of empathy
What I found in my research is that the opposite of experiencing shame is experiencing empathy. Shame cannot survive empathy. I think empathy is tough, I think we have some natural tendencies to care for our fellow humans, but we kind of unlearn empathy, as a way to survive almost. So being empathic is about connecting with your experience,.... If I can dig deep and connect to what it is your feeling, and express that back... so you know your not alone. Empathy is hugely important, as an added plus it's highly coordinated with everything from leadership skills, family functioning, good parenting, - it's just the essential emotion...