What You Need is Empathy. ~ Sheila Singh

Via elephant journal
on Jan 4, 2012
get elephant's newsletter



I think as humans it’s very natural to want to feel appreciated.  It satisfies us at some level. I hear this from my husband often, and I am sure I have expressed the need to feel appreciated by him as well.

Last week, I had an insightful moment with my husband, Herbie.  He came to me and said “You know this whole time I have been telling you that what I need is appreciation.  I realize that that’s not it at all, what I need is your empathy.”

Right there I stopped and I looked at him and almost immediately I softened.  He was speaking to my ability to feel so connected with him that I can have a sense of what it feels like to be in his shoes.  This was really powerful.

Appreciation may satisfy the ego, but it does not necessarily speak to the heart.

I may be able to praise you, but that does not mean that I feel for you.  We all have this innate desire to want to feel more connected and less separate.  The more we allow ourselves to live in an empathic way both toward ourselves and others, the more we realize that we aren’t these independent beings.

We are interdependent.  We are connected.

photo: BigStock

What I do and say affects not only me, but those around me as well.  Part of this yoga is to realize this quality of union, to be able to shed the barriers that we put up to protect us, whether it’s from a person, a painful experience or even a difficult emotion.

Yoga calls us to broaden our field of experience so that we can compassionately and empathically include everything and everyone; both the people and the experiences that challenge us, and those that bring us ease.

Empathy comes from a place of love.  It resides in our hearts even when we don’t believe we have the capacity.  Empathy is what will bring us together, rather than apart.  It teaches us to not judge, but to know that this is all a part of the human experience and a part of each and every one of us.

So when we run away from that person who seems frustrated, petty or resentful, we run away from that very part of our own nature.

To embrace experience and the nature of others requires that we do the same exact thing for ourselves.


Sheila is inspired by many traditions of yoga and sees her yoga mat as a place for her to let go and drop into her body and mind and ultimately open into spirit.  She hopes to hold a space for students to do the same.  Sheila views the practice as a mindful dance between breath, movement and drishti.  Sheila loves that yoga is truly a philosophy on how to lead your life with a greater sense of awareness and intention.  It goes beyond the physical practice and helps to guide practitioners in every aspect of life.  For Sheila, her yoga practice has enabled her to remain true to herself and embody a deep sense of awareness, acceptance and love through everything that life brings her way.Most importantly Sheila continues to be a student and is inspired by the wonderful community of teachers in Austin.  When she is not practicing yoga, Sheila loves spending time with her two girls, her husband and beautiful circle of friends. www.sheilasingh.com


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]


13 Responses to “What You Need is Empathy. ~ Sheila Singh”

  1. […] http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/what-you-need-is-empathy–sheila-singh/ GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "4b5d67"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "7f1d1d"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "e7eef6"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "526a74"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "books"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:EmailPrintFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. Mohit Goyal says:

    "To embrace experience and the nature of others requires that we do the same exact thing for ourselves." beautiful post.

  3. sheilasingh says:

    Thanks for reading Mo. There is so much wisdom in all these teachings that yoga & buddhism offer. It's fun opening to them moments at a time. 🙂

  4. Tanya Lee Markul says:


    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  5. sheilasingh says:

    Thank you for reading & posting it Tanya!

  6. Signe says:

    Yay Sheila! Wonderful article.

  7. Manju Jhawar says:

    Beautiful journal Sheila !

  8. sheilasingh says:

    Thanks Momma 🙂

  9. sarala mami says:

    Wonderful. Some qualities to be learned from youth

  10. sheilasingh says:

    Thank you so much for reading this Sarala Mami 🙂 Much love to everyone!

  11. […] are introverts. They have a strong ability to empathize with others. As Brene Brown says, “Empathy is the antidote to shame, it has the power to uplift and […]

  12. […] hear: I have no idea how in touch with the world you are, nor can I grasp the depths of your empathy, from which I benefit. It’s like you can see colors that are naked to my […]

  13. sitarabird says:

    From one empath to another, THANK YOU. This was beautiful to read & also reassuring. <3