Kobe’s Death – A Lesson in Empathy

The Scoop 

  • Why was the world so shook up over Kobe’s death? 
  • How is it possible to feel so much emotion over someone we don’t know personally? 
  • How does empathy connect us further? 
  • Why is it so important that we practice empathy every day with regards to everything? 


Links & Currently Reading 

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough 

Loved this one. The bottom line: Kids NEED hugs and love and attention. We scientifically function better with it and suffer consequences without it. Tough love is NOT a thing for children up until a much later age. An awesome scientifically referenced read. 



**This is a direct transcription of the podcast and is not meant to read perfectly. 

Hi guys, and welcome back. We are talking about empathy again, which is one of my favorite things to talk about and this really came from actually just from a day of remembering the anniversary of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter and all of the people that were on that helicopter that crashed a year ago, and I think this is actually been something that I’ve kind of been.


The back of my mind since it happened and I think when it happened which was really kind of right before everything got really crazy with covid here. I remember just thinking to myself like it was so overwhelming to me how emotional I felt about it for not knowing them like it was just weighed so heavy on me in so many ways and I feel like everybody that I spoke to and everybody that I interacted with.


When this topic came up, I mean it literally brought tears to eyes and it was so fascinating to me outside of being extremely sad, but it was so fascinating because I just it was it was almost confusing it was like, how is it that you know this particular thing just resonates so strongly with people it’s making us so upset. We don’t know Kobe. We’ve never known him personally in that way. I mean you could argue that, you know a lot about you know celebrity or professional athlete based on like how their personality in the media and their interviews and all of that which yeah, of course Kobe was incredibly loved but we don’t, you know, we didn’t know him and so it always just kind of stuck with me is something that was really powerful and also I just said obviously there’s just tons of sad things that happen all the time that we see everywhere in the news and on social media and I just felt like this thing was so intense and so powerful and really struck a lot of people so powerfully that I really wanted to talk about it and kind of dig deeper as to why I think that is and


I think that as tragic as this instance is and while I actually don’t like using the tragedy of other people to learn something personally, it feels a little bit selfish. I feel like that’s also partly why things happen and it’s also partly our responsibility is to learn something positive out of tragedy. So, you know, I think that when I think about personally at least why I felt so heavy and burden I mean, I felt like I lost somebody is really because I feel like


The first thing that I did and I know that someone people around me did was we put ourselves in Vanessa Bryant’s shoes. Right? So we put ourselves in Kobe’s Kobe’s wife’s shoes. And we said like oh my God, I cannot what would I do? That is, I don’t know how it goes. This is so tragic. How could this happen to somebody aside from the obvious tragedy of them passing, you know is that she was still left there without them and I think that


At that that ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, you know potentially is so incredibly powerful and it’s something that I actually don’t think everybody can do easily and it’s not something that everybody thinks to do, you know, and I feel like this is this is something that I’ve talked about in an earlier episode, which is you know, the more that you experience the the more compassion you have because you’ve experienced and seen hardship and suffering from other people.


And so when you try and see that hardship and suffering from other people, even if you didn’t live it yourself, it still opens up that door of experience and it still opens up that door of compassion. And I feel like that is really the root of why this was so so incredibly sad for me. I mean, I cried a lot like I was crying and I’m like, I don’t I don’t I don’t know them that doesn’t make it any less sad, of course, but just the way that it was affecting me. You would think that I you know was related to them and


it felt so heavy and literally physically heavy on my chest for so many days and I found myself constantly checking into like Vanessa’s Instagram and like just trying to get a glimpse of like how she was doing and I would you know, just really intentionally send like positive thoughts and you know, just really pray that she was recovering even if it was slowly and that like somehow things would get a little bit easier for her because I just felt so burdened by her loss and her try to G and I try


Eddie and I realized that I instantly just put myself in that position and it was so hard and painful to think that that could ever even happen to somebody that we love and you know, of course thinking about like what if has a so terrible to say out loud, but I’m going to do it anyway, but like what if God forbid, you know, I lost my husband and my daughter’s father was gone, you know, it’s like you lose someone in such a multi-dimensional way. It’s not like you just lose somebody it’s like we are all spouses or significant.


There’s or parents or daughters or Uncle’s or aunts or nieces or nephews. We’re friends to people so it makes it so so multifaceted to lose somebody of Kobe stature. And of course everybody on that helicopter, they just were so many people they played so many roles for so many important people and in their lives that it just felt so powerful to think about it that way and you know, I feel like it what I realized who is like this


It felt like the whole world really felt this way, you know, it felt like everybody every single person. I mean people who I know that don’t watch sports don’t you know, we’re not even fans of Kobe as an athlete or whatever that might have been. It’s just it didn’t matter because it felt like such a raw true thing that can just happen sometimes and it just you know, really sheds light on the fact that we are not promised any amount of time and that no amount of money or stature actually protects.


Us from a lot of things, you know, maybe in some situations it does but in others it doesn’t we’re not protected from what the universe has in store for us. And so I feel like everybody felt also a little bit more vulnerable because of that and being vulnerable and feeling vulnerable is also very powerful for learning and growing and healing and realizing the things that you need to work on and realizing the things that you have to be grateful for and I think that realizing all of these things right like this wasn’t celebrity gossip right like this is not


It’s not about that. It’s all of a sudden that Kobe felt so much less like a celebrity and he just felt like a human right and it just a very tragic circumstance. And so I think when I realized all of these things it was like that the thing that this just really boils down to is that we all everybody who felt sad or burdened by this really tapped into their empathetic feelings like they tapped into how to relate to other people how to


how to be understanding how to feel pain for someone else how to feel sorrow for someone else how to really really really hope and pray that someone else feels better because that burden just feels like way too much for anybody to carry and that is so incredibly powerful and as again as tragic as this is like I it’s hard for me to not actually start crying just in thinking about the whole situation is


This is such an opportunity for us to remember that this is how we should feel and be all the time. You know, this is how we should.


This is how we should view other people’s situations. This is how we should treat other people is with this empathy, you know with this approach that is kind and forgiving and understanding and also write that in the back of all of our minds regardless of how how much were thinking about what we have to be grateful for and how much for thinking about


You know how grateful we are that, you know, of course, we’re still here and that we still have our family members or whatever that might be, you know aside from all of that is that we have the opportunity to still empathize with people because we don’t actually know what it’s like like we will never know what that’s like and we won’t experience that that wasn’t our story that we lived. We were just kind of readers of the book and so when we think about it that way


I think it helps us really understand and kind of grasp the concept of every single time that we interact with somebody whether we know them or not. They’re going through something, you know, and sometimes plates are really full and sometimes burdens are really really really heavy and sometimes they’re really challenging and hard to deal with and when we’re in moments that you know, bring us to want to judge or make a comment or not be kind. We need to think about this moment. We need to think about the lesson that Kobe.


Teaching us here. Right which is that we are not promised anything and that we don’t know what’s going to happen. And we also just don’t know what other people are going through and I think if everybody could take those feelings of empathy and start to apply them regularly in every aspect of Our Lives. We would all be so much better off. I mean, there’s just so many instances where and I am so guilty of this myself. And so I am not like preaching from my high horse over here because I’m working on this.


all the time but like got even just something as simple as


Somebody who you know is taking too long to go at the green light, right or like leaving my neighborhood. I feel like people take forever to leave because they’re not paying attention and they’re on their phone and it’s like, okay like what smooth get it, you know, it’s got to go in here, but you don’t you just don’t know like what’s going on like you don’t know if like there’s a screaming kid in the car who just like chucked a can of milk or a cup of milk, but you don’t know if you know, somebody just called them with really bad news. Like you don’t you just don’t even know like there’s just no way you could know because you’re only walking.


In her and she was and so I know that that example or those examples on super small and Petty and unimportant but think about how agitated we get sometimes with small things like that. You know, I mean, they really we can get really worked up and they can kind of ruin the next little bit of our day for us because in our mind it’s important and in our mind, you know, we wouldn’t do that and it’s just like okay. These are the rules of the world like everyone just needs to abide and we just need to move it forward but things are just not that simple sometimes you know, and so it’s especially true. I feel like I’m social media. It’s so easy to just be so


Mental and be so mean and also even if you’re not trying to be mean but you’re still passing judgment, whether it’s in a comment or message or just in your own mind those thoughts are toxic, you know, you know, the more that you judge, I mean, those are negative feelings that you’re putting out about somebody else that you really don’t know that well and you don’t know what they’re going through and you know, I think that all of this came really full circle for me when I realized like that. This is it’s really a massive learning experience and and as much as I will never be able


Able to relate or walk in exactly In Her Shoes. I mean not even close I can still take what’s going on right now in the feelings that I’m feeling I can still take those feelings and and try and repurpose them into something that is more long term, you know, and more sustainable and positive and that’s definitely what I intend to do is it is exactly that and and you know, there’s you know, there’s a lot of really interesting science out there about how our brains work and how we feel


It’s work. And you know, I think that one of the things that’s really important is that you know, it’s really challenging to stop negative feelings from popping up into our brain right. It’s really challenging for us to put a halt on negative feelings. But it’s easier for us to introduce positive feelings so we can you know, while we can’t necessarily stop a negative feeling from entering our head we can introduce a positive feeling or we can introduce a solution. And so I think if we can work on doing that


Trying to suppress all of the negative things that we might be feeling that’s really helpful. And that’s really huge and it’s you know, it’s a habit. So it’s something you have to work on and it’s something that’s not going to just come naturally, but I think if we’re conscious of it, then we can learn to continue to take the feelings that we all feel about. You know, Kobe’s passing and everybody on that helicopter and use it for something positive and making sure that we are living in a really present way and that we are choosing to live with empathy all the time towards people.


we know and that we don’t know because we don’t know Kobe like that and we are burdened by his passing and we’re burdened by what Vanessa is going through and you know, I think that that is so powerful to remember that even for somebody that we don’t know personally we can feel these incredible feelings and now it’s time to kind of take that and use it for something good and just think about these things as we are trying to pass judgment and not just on other people but pass judgment on ourselves, you know, we were really really hard on ourselves sometimes


and we’re really, you know, hold ourselves to such high standards sometimes and I mean at least I can say that I know, I’m a perfectionist at night. I joke all the time that I don’t do anything unless it’s a hundred and ten percent. Like I’m just that’s my personality. I’m All or Nothing all the time and it’s exhausting and you know, obviously not sustainable all the time. But I do think that if we can start to think about how we can be more present and not necessarily suppress all of these burdens and feelings, but really introduce something positive we can start to change the track.


Or that one judgment or that one interaction or that one part of our day and it is really contagious. You know, the more that you put that out there the people around you are going to pick up on that and want to participate in that as well. So I think right now in an effort to really honor what this whole experience has presented to us and shown us I encourage you guys to stop waiting for the opportunity to feel more empathy. Stop trying to suppress those feelings and really embrace them.


Them in a way that you know makes you a better person and helps people around you feel more loved by you or more supported by you. So instead of waiting on that, you know, start practicing it now. So say the thing that you need to say do the thing that you need to do and live it instead of kind of thinking it because we are not promised tomorrow on and I think we all have a lot to learn from from his passing and also from what remains after the fact



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