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What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown
Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne)


Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
—Pema Chodron

Reciprocity, a key component of mutuality, is a universal energy where we give our spark to others and they to us. This exchange is love in action, living in love, right where we are. Nothing is one sided. I respond to you and you to me; together we look up higher than any height we could reach on our own. We know the song of each other’s heart, and together we sing our own duet, easing our pain and intensifying our joy.

—Alexandra Stoddard, Living in Love

This is Mutuality

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate now knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

—Henri Nouwen

Poignant and funny talk by Brené Brown at TEDxHouston, emphasizes the importance of having a safe environment in which to share our vulnerable self (mutuality) as an essential quality for authentic and whole-hearted living.