Compassion vs Sympathy
Do you know the difference between compassion and sympathy? Did you even know that there was a difference between the two? If not then I think you are in for a big surprise!
These two emotions are actually so different from each other that they are actually antithetical to each other. Let me explain.
Recall for a moment the last time you felt what you might call sympathy for someone.
Thoughts such as “that poor individual” or “that unfortunate soul” are often associated with what is called sympathy. What such thoughts also convey either openly or covertly is the message that “that person” is a victim, is in some way lesser than others, is deficient in some way and therefore is a diminished human being.
This unfortunately, devalues the Divine Being that is that individual, that lives in their body and that has limitless potential to create whatever they desire.
Now I know that that last statement is one that will be met with great resistance if not some skepticism. After all, you might say, if that were true, then why are most of us suffering here?
Well I might say it is because we have devalued ourselves and diminished our true power by denying the veracity of the very statement in question.
In order to show this more clearly I would like to turn to the emotion we call compassion. Now because many of you confuse compassion with sympathy, i.e. sometimes use them interchangeably thinking that they may mean the same thing, I will define what is meant by the former.
By compassion I mean the following: to recognise that the essence of any human being is a Divine Presence, that human beings are capable of limitless creativity, that they have total choice as to whether they wish to have mastery over their lives vs. being victims of circumstance, and that they desire never to be thought of as anything less than all of this.
Now that I’ve defined what I mean by compassion and I’ve also given a description and example of sympathy I would like to pose some questions to you to drive my point home.
Imagine someone expressing sympathy towards you. Notice how that makes you feel. Does it buoy you up? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Does it boost your self esteem?
Now imagine that the same person showed compassion towards you, given my definition above. Notice how that makes you feel. Does it buoy you up? Does that make you feel better about yourself? Does it boost your self esteem?
If you’re in touch with your internal emotional life I think that you will see that the first situation likely evokes feelings of inadequacy, weakness, vulnerability, ineffectiveness and low self esteem.
Conversely the second situation will evoke feelings of lightness, strength, confidence, resilience, and high self esteem.
If you are with me so far you will recognize immediately the crucial difference between compassion and sympathy. By the way compassion is another word for Love. Is there another word for sympathy?
So in essence what you are doing when you are recognizing who other people truly are, i.e. Divine Beings, you are expressing your love towards them in the greatest sense of the word. Isn’t this also what you would like others to do for you, to recognize who you truly are?
Article Source: EzineArticles.com