By Ingrid Garcia
When Between the Covers founder, Madison Bynum, started BTC, she knew it was meant to serve as more than a book club. Presently, we are rooted in books, but we are also a growing community of women embodying love, vulnerability, and self-betterment, both in-person and digitally.
So I pose the question, how can we practice empathy as a community when life gets sour?
To understand the difference between sympathy and empathy, watch this video by Brené Brown, brilliant author, TEDx speaker, and vulnerability researcher.
To us, empathy means going deeper than the surface level with each other. It starts with showing up authentically and vulnerably to the point where it’s bleeding outside of dedicated book club nights.
Our latest read, The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, reminds us of the richness of human life, the heart’s resilience, and the power of authentic friendship. We learned from the characters that empathy is practiced in both the day-to-day ordinary simplicities and in our big, (sometimes) pivotal life seasons.
On a BTC book club night a couple of weeks ago, Madison Carson commented, “When someone comes to you venting, be the type of friend that asks, “Hey… I want to make sure I am supporting you as you need. Is this a listening conversation or brainstorming solutions conversation?”
This allows us to truly pour our presence and better understand the other person.
When empathy is needed most, we call it in. Sometimes it requires a listening ear, a brainstorming discussion, or a hype-up session. Other times it requires you to plant a tree that you do not plan to sit under (shoutout to Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty for sharing this powerful quote).
We are eternally grateful to continue creating safe spaces where vulnerability meets empathy. Magic happens–we’ve seen it with our own eyes, and we encourage each of you to be present, share your truth, and continue showing up for your community. It wouldn’t be the same without you.
If you loved this blog post and want to learn how to be a more empathetic person, listen to this podcast episode on Being Well with Dr. Rick and Forrest Hanson.
Lastly, I leave you with this quote by our empathy queen, Brené Brown:
“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘you’re not alone.’”