WATCH: Why Empathy Is More Powerful Than Sympathy

12/12/2013 12:06 pm ET

When we are faced with tough conversations, we have a tendency to take the easy way out -- a way that avoids revealing our own vulnerabilities, and ultimately avoids the healing, bonding connection that we might otherwise have.

"Empathy is a choice, and it's a vulnerable choice, because in order to connect with you I have to connect with something within myself that knows that feeling," says author and University of Houston professor Dr. Brené Brown in the speech animated for the video above.

Empathy, Brown explains, is also a more powerful choice than sympathy. Empathy enables us to relate to and console those in our lives, while sympathy distances us.

Watch the full speech here:

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