Strength in Empathy | Letters to Strong Women

Dear Persy,

You know when you meet someone special, and you don’t realize at first just how special?

That’s how I feel about you.

The more I learn of you, the more I’m grateful for your influence in my life.

You embody strength through empathy.

You are a strong woman.

You have dedicated your life to empathy. I don’t know you well enough to understand exactly why. I hope someday to understand. 

I’ve watched as you share empathy with those who hurl cruel names in your direction. You give empathy to marginalized populations. You show empathy to individuals. 

You see people.

You have taught me how to listen. How to care. How to be unafraid of kindness. Your courage has lifted my own.

You’ve given me permission to see strength in empathy.

I always thought empathy was weak. Compassion and kindness were just a manipulative tool to get what you want.

And then I saw your strength. Your example. Your empathy.

And I realized – almost in an instant – how valuable and strong and powerful empathy could be.

Sometimes I don’t want to practice empathy. It feels like condoning things I don’t agree with. And then I remember you. I remember how you look people in the eye and see them for who they are.

You’re kind and caring and firm in your boundaries.

And you embody empathy.

Your strength comes because of your empathy.

I’m amazed, truly. I know it doesn’t come easy.

I hear your voice in my head often. “Empathy is a skill” you always say. And it is. I know that. I’m working on it myself. But it’s not easy.

And then I hear your voice again. You remind me empathy for yourself is just as important as empathy for anyone else. Be patient with yourself, you’d say. You don’t have to be perfect. Just take a step forward.

So I try and learn from you as best I can.

Empathy.

There is strength in empathy.

And while I never knew it before, I know it now. And I cannot deny it. 

Your strength is in your empathy. 

I am strengthened as I practice empathy.

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