Empathy Is the New Mindfulness

It’s a skill and a practice

Kelli María Korducki
Forge
Published in
4 min readMar 13, 2020

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One hand holding the chalk outline of another hand on a wall.
Photo: japatino/Moment/Getty Images

EEarlier this month, I got into a political disagreement with an old friend online. At that moment, the electoral outcomes of Super Tuesday loomed much larger in my mind than the fear of COVID-19 pandemic — truly, a different time. But each of these anxiety-inducing scenarios leads to a similar lesson: We have to look out for each other, in big ways and small. We have to make a habit of caring for the community — a practice, if you will, that takes practice.

Mindfulness is yesterday’s news. As a wave of recent books suggests, this moment is all about empathy.

“Empathy — at its most basic, the ability to imagine the feelings of another — is often described as a salve for divisions in American culture,” writes the author Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips in her new book The Future of Feeling. “In recent years, it has come to also be seen as a skill that can — and arguably must — be learned and practiced. It’s not just about social harmony; empathy makes us better people.”

The idea of empathy as both salve and skill is a hot one, and most of us won’t have to dig too far into our habits to understand why. Take, again, my recent social media spat. Though my friend and I vigorously support the same candidate in the 2020 U.S. election, we’ve staked opposing positions in the ongoing…

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Kelli María Korducki
Forge
Writer for

Writer, editor. This is where I post about ideas, strategies, and the joys of making an NYC-viable living as a self-employed creative.