Small Acts

We underestimate the power of small gestures.

I believe all we want is to feel seen and heard. That’s what Oprah says, anyway. And that feeling of belonging can come from unassuming moments of interaction. A touch on the arm, an understanding smile, a free coffee (that one’s a doozy for me, let me tell ya). Kindness can be both subtle and powerful.

As I learn and talk about empathy and its place in the creative process, it’s becoming clear that it doesn’t have to be an elaborate act. Empathy is simply listening to and connecting with people’s emotions. It’s “the ability to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding.” (My BFF Brené). It’s not completely immersing yourself in people’s emotional muck and feelings things for them. It can be much more simple and less painful than that.

In a rehearsal room, people are taking major risks. Actors are taking leaps that may end in them falling flat on their face. And it’s important for all of us involved to celebrate those moments of vulnerability, offering small gestures of understanding.

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