How Might Whole Use of Empathy Look?

Earlier this week, I passed my oral exam and officially became a Certified Strengths Strategy Coach!  I’ve never been certified in anything before. So this is significant because of how strongly I believe in the value of going deeper with the Gallup StrengthsFinder™ assessment.

While all 34 strengths are created equal, a few seem to create more havoc AND, when used at an optimal “volume” create extraordinary outcomes. 

Empathy tops that list.  I know this one from personal experience – Empathy is my 2nd strength and in the top 5 for dozens of my clients, friends and colleagues.

flowers in a field

My Empathy loves feeling these sunflowers
and evergreens in the mist!


And what I’ve noticed over the years:  whole use of Empathy, optimal volume of Empathy, involves two things: mindfulness and boundaries with Empathy for those around us and a practice of Empathy for ourselves.

Mindfulness and Boundaries with Empathy
for Those around Us

From sheer necessity, I made a deal with Spirit a few years ago:  If it is optimal, I will feel it.  If it isn’t, I won’t.  It took me awhile to come to this specific boundary because I wrestled with optimal for whom.  Eventually my 3rd strength, Connectedness, kicked in to remind me: for all.  Now, when I do feel someone else’s pain, excitement, grief – whatever it is – I often name it or ask about it.  Which then tends to open up life-affirming conversations because that person feels so seen.

Mindfulness and boundaries show up in many different forms.  One of my clients is vigilant about visualizing an energy bubble around herself at all times.  She still feels others, but their feelings don’t come into her own energy field and deplete her.  Another uses her strength of Adaptability to moderate Empathy.  One of my friends believes Empathy is one of his greatest gifts and only occasionally feels the need to take time for himself to re-energize.  I consider him a bit of a saint!

A Practice of Empathy for Ourselves
One of the most powerful and overlooked practices with any and all of our strengths involves using them toward ourselves, in relationship with ourselves.  This tends to be a brand new concept for most of us.

Wow!  Look at all of that untapped potential in the most important relationship of our lives – the one with ourselves.  How different is my experience of my own life when I give myself the gift of Empathy within?!?

This one idea has changed the course of my life.  As I have become more compassionate and less judgmental with myself, I have lessened my internal struggle.  As I have paid attention to how I feel, I have less of a need for others to understand how I feel.  And, I’m better able to communicate my feelings and needs in a way that my loved ones can hear!

What about you?  If Empathy is in your top 5 StrengthsFinder™ strengths, how might you play with it a bit? Even if it isn’t in your top 5 or you haven’t taken the StrengthsFinder asessment, what do you notice about Empathy for you?

Post your comments, insights and progress below.

If you haven’t yet taken the StrengthsFinder™ assessment, I highly recommend it!

It costs $19.99 and takes 30 – 40 minutes to complete.

They will immediately email you your top 5 strengths and a report about them.

I would love to know your to 5 strengths, if you’d like to share them with me!


Feeling Disoriented or Lost?

If you are feeling disoriented or lost and sense you are being called to a deeper relationship with the Divine, let’s have a conversation to explore if the one-on-one Align with Source coaching program would be a good fit for you.


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2 thoughts on “How Might Whole Use of Empathy Look?”

  1. I woke up with a grumbling set of judgments and self-doubt this morning. And then this clear thought came to me…NONE of this is true unless I believe it is. None of it. This feels like self-compassion…perhaps empathy.


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