Sympathy vs. Empathy

  Empathy Sympathy Hide AllShow All
Example: I can empathise with how aggrieved you must be at the loss of your beloved. I offer my sympathy at the loss of your loved one. hide
Definition: The ability to co-experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experience of another without them being communicated directly by the individual The ability to understand and support to the emotional situation or experience of another being with compassion and sensitivity hide
Emotion: Close bonded relationships Care, Protection hide
Relationship: Friends, Family, Community Poor and less fortunate hide
Relative to: Caring, Personal Growth Wisdom, Charity hide

Source:  www.diffen.com

The above table does a really good job of breaking down the difference between empathy and sympathy.  Both of these things I’m learning about and both of these things I’m not very good at, yet. 

There are so many things I’m learning about.

I think that many people can do a decent job of sympathizing.  I think that I can do this in an okay manner from time to time.  (Very dependent upon time!)  Empathizing, though, when it really counts (ie. someone hates life or it’s PMS time or maybe even both together 🙂 ) is something I don’t do very well. 

At all. 

I wish I did. 

I want to change.

Being more empathetic and compassionate are important goals for me in my life.  How do I get there?  I guess I can “keep trying” or whatever else people say.  

I don’t know.

I don’t have a good answer right now.  I do know that each situation I’m faced with will allow me to get better if I choose to.  Even if I don’t have a personal experience that relates to what the other person is going through I can sure try to be understanding.  Then, down the road, I can hopefully draw on the previous experience with the other person to hopefully understand and relate and partially “co-experience” with the current person.

I think this is a place I can start from….

Food for thought for me today.

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