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Why empathy can backfire

In my email last week (“I see you”), I wrote about Sawubona, a typical Zulu greeting that literally means “I see you.” It refers to seeing in a more meaningful sense than the simple act of sight. It means, “I see your personality. I see your humanity. I see your dignity.”

The email generated terrific responses from so many of you. The word empathy was a recurring theme in your responses, which inspired this email about empathy—specifically about how empathy can backfire.

I see you

Being seen is one of the greatest human needs, and we’re all starving for it.

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create this hunger. It simply exposed it. We’ve been feeling unseen long before physical distancing forced us to separate into six-foot zones and Zoom breakout rooms.

The secret to transforming yourself

The snake is the ancient symbol of transformation.

Unlike human skin, the skin on a snake doesn’t grow as the animal grows. During its lifetime, the snake’s insides outgrow its outsides, and the animal reaches a point where the older layer of the skin must be discarded in favor of the new.

Development Alchemy + Aim