We had the good fortune of connecting with Nōn Wels (he/him) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nōn, how does your business help the community?
I started The Feely Human Collective to be a space for us to grow our individual and collective capacity for empathy, vulnerability, and emotional curiosity—three crucial tenets of connection, healing, and growth for our own hearts and the hearts of our communities.
This requires each of us to soften, be more curious, examine our bias, and dismantle our assumptions with how we show up in the world. Empathy is not a checkbox, it’s an active, ongoing, and messy confrontation with our own ability to listen more actively, honor the intersectionality of our myriad human experience, and to recognize that we do this together, not apart.
As the founder of Feely Human, I lead workshops on empathy, vulnerability, and emotional curiosity for businesses, schools, and organizations throughout the United States.
To help each of us, at the end of the day, be witness to the whole of ourselves, and to be witness to the whole of others. To lean harder into discomfort, to gain perspective, and to shed all the armor we’ve built up that has kept us from truly listening. This is how we move forward. One heart at a time. One moment at a time.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m proud of the last two years of running Feely Human, as it’s something that hasn’t strayed from its purpose for existing in the first place: to create a more feely world.
But that certainly doesn’t mean it hasn’t come with difficulty and discomfort. The work of empathy, if anything, is an exercise in sitting in discomfort. A core part of the ethos of Feely Human is vulnerability, so as part of my own mental health and healing journey, I’ve been very open about my experiences, which has certainly come with a lot of scrutiny, toxic men calling me “soy boy,” and nasty DMs from people who I have to block.
And I keep going, because vulnerability is a power that allows others in. It helps others see themselves in us, which helps them feel less alone, safer, and more connected.
During the past two years of building the Feely Human community, I’ve learned to listen better. To truly listen, without judgment, or bias, or assumption. Listening actively is a superpower, and a key part of empathy. My hope is that Feely Human can be an inspiration for others to take pause, sit back, and listen more. There’s so much wonder to be found.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We can’t do this life thing alone. I, quite literally, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my partner, Jessica. She demanded, early on in our relationship, that I go to therapy, and I’m so grateful I did. It allowed me to eventually get diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, fully heal from my anorexia, and to shed a lot of the armor I had built up in childhood.
I’d also love to shoutout some of the beautiful feely humans I’ve met doing my podcast, You, Me, Empathy, who’ve shown up in the world so courageously, and just inspire me daily: Lisa Congdon, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Esmé Wang, Yasmin Irfani, Jordan Scovel, SuChin Pak, Jen Wijnker, and Katya Lidsky.