Powerful TED Talks on resilience, empathy, compassion, and related topics for clinical/educational use or for self-help.
For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.
For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.
Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion
1. Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy | Joan Halifax (2011)
In this inspiring TED Talk, Joan Halifax shares about what she’s learned about compassion and true empathy. She has a deep insight into the nature of compassion, gained through her work with people in the end stages of their lives.
2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth (2013)
In this popular TED Talk, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explains how grit and determination, not IQ, are the biggest predictors of success.
3. How Do You Define Yourself? | Lizzie Velasquez (2014)
Lizzie Velasquez, once labeled the world’s ugliest woman, explores the ways in which we define ourselves. As one of the most powerful TED Talks on true beauty, this video empowers viewers to challenge society’s definitions of beauty, happiness, and success – and to decide for themselves how they’ll allow themselves to be defined.
4. How to Succeed in Every Moment Even When You’re Failing | Dr. Jill Stoddard (2020)
Dr. Jill Stoddard – clinical psychologist and author – challenges the notion that goal achievement is a measure of success. She explores alternative ways of thinking about failures in life.
5. Listening to Shame | Brené Brown (2012)
Brené Brown – researcher, professor, and author – explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. In this TED Talk she explains how shame is an epidemic and how it plays a major role in “broken” behaviors in our lives.
6. The Magic of Not Giving a F*** | Sarah Knight (2017)
Bestselling author Sarah Knight outlines her method for “not giving a fuck,” thereby putting a stop to spending time she doesn’t have, doing things she doesn’t want to do. One of the most powerful TED Talks on self-determination, Sarah Knight’s speech will leave you rethinking your own priorities (and fucks to give – or not to give) in life.
7. The Price of Shame | Monica Lewinsky (2015)
Monica Lewinsky delivers a compelling talk on public shaming and the “culture of humiliation” that exists today. From a woman who lost her personal reputation on a global scale back in 1998 – and who was able to survive by taking back her narrative – this video clip is one of the most powerful TED Talks out there on countering public humiliation with empathy and compassion.
8. The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin (2015)
What bad mental habits are holding you up? In this TED Talk, Amy Morin – psychotherapist and author – explains how to become “mentally strong” by challenging our negative beliefs and giving up unhealthy habits. This strategy builds resiliency and allows us to become unstuck in life, thus reaching our full potential.
9. The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion | Kristin Neff (2013)
Kristin Neff – university professor and published author – explores the relationship between self-esteem and self-compassion in this video clip. She asks viewers to be kind to themselves as she discusses what research tells us about self-compassion.
10. The Three Secrets of Resilient People | Lucy Hone (2019)
In this TED Talk, Dr. Lucy Hone – resilience expert, acclaimed researcher, and published author – discusses three strategies for rising up from adversity in the face of suffering. She shares about her personal experience with painful loss – and how she was able to get through an unimaginable tragedy. As one of the most inspiring and powerful TED Talks on resiliency, this video clip provides viewers with not only insight, but hope.
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