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Mark Gorkin, LICSWMark Gorkin, LICSW
A Blog about reducing Stress in our lives.

Stress Resiliency and Brain Agility through Sleep-Priorities-Passion-Empathy-Exercise-Diet Part IV

Mark Gorkin, LCSW ("The Stress Doc") Updated: Feb 19th 2015

This is a "diversity in unity" poem: each letter of the SPEED acronym has a somewhat different poetic style and structure yet provides a united pathway for stress resiliency and brain agility (for kids of all ages). If you missed the previous ones, you can check out the first one here (with links to the rest being added as a new one is published).

E is for Empathy


With "empathy" or "sympathy"
Do you ponder and then sigh:
"Pretty much the same to me?"
Well let me break (down) any tie:

Parts vibrate sympathetically
The heart shares pain and passion.
The head mixes pity with sympathy
Empathy shows true compassion.

What about a French variation
On "superior" sympathy?
A romantic three-word vision:
Egalite, Fraternite & Empathie!

Sympathy you feel for
Empathy you feel with.
Sympathy picks one off the floor
Empathy shares the war-torn ditch.

Don't just walk in another's shoes
And pretend you are a cousin.
Empathy lets you sing their blues
And when pacing feel their bunions!

Empathy you must perceive
Your essence in the other.
Despite what all else believe
You know: "the stranger" is part brother!

Sensitive antennae
Pick up so much disarray.
One dark side of empathy
Please…don't give yourself away!

When will you learn to ebb and flow?
Empathy attracts so much drama
Do know your limits…don't limit your "No"s
And enjoy some savvy humor:

"E" is for the "Empathy"
Found in a caring shoulder.
But all give without take is a big mistake
For now you shoulder a boulder.

Find a stress buddy who knows TLC
Someone honest and self-aware -
One who gives "Tender Loving Criticism"
Yet also takes "Tough Loving Care!"

A final thought on empathy
Explode myths concerning gender.
Harness the power of "T n T" -
Let the "Tough" surge with the "Tender!"


Mark Gorkin, LCSW (

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc ™, acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs. Check out his popular website -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"

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