Empathy

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!

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?


Written By Nick Arrizza, M.D.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

The Power of Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to recognise and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.

Empathy is the capacity to recognise and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being.

Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion. The English word was coined in 1909 by E.B. Titchener as an attempt to translate the German word “Einfühlungsvermögen”, a new phenomenon explored at the end of 19th century mainly by Theodor Lipps. It was later re-translated (Germanized) into the German language into “Empathie” and still in use there.

Empathy is one of the most important aspects of creating harmonious relationships, reducing stress, and enhancing emotional awareness — yet it can be tricky at times. I consider myself to be quite empathetic, but I notice that with certain people (especially those I don’t like or agree with, and also with myself at times) and in particular situations, my natural ability and desire to empathise can be diminished or almost nonexistent.

I also notice that when I feel empathy for others and for myself, I feel a sense of peace, connection, and perspective that I like. And when there is an absence of empathy in a particular relationship or situation, or how I’m relating to myself, I often experience stress, disconnection, and negativity. Can you relate?

What Is Empathy?

Empathy is not sympathy. When we’re sympathetic, we often pity someone else but maintain our distance (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from their feelings or experience. Empathy is more a sense that we can truly understand, relate to, or imagine the depth of another person’s emotional state or situation. It implies feeling with a person rather than feeling sorry for a person. And in some cases that “person” is actually us.

Empathy is a translation of the German term Einfühlung, meaning “to feel as one with.” It implies sharing the load, or “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” in order to understand that person’s perspective.

What Stops Us From Empathising?

There are a number of things that get in the way of us utilizing and experiencing the power of empathy. Three of the main ones, which are all interrelated, are as follows:

Feeling Threatened

When we feel threatened by another person or a particular situation, it’s often hard to empathise. This makes perfect sense from a survival standpoint (i.e., if someone is trying to hurt us, we want to protect ourselves rather than have compassion and understanding about where they’re coming from).

However, we often feel “threatened” based on our own fears, projections, and past experiences, not by what is actually happening in the moment or in a particular relationship or situation. Whether the threat is “real” or “imagined,” when we feel threatened in any way, it often shuts down our ability to experience empathy.

Being Judgemental

Judgements are a part of life, we all must make lots of judgements and decisions on a daily basis (what to wear, what to eat, where to sit, what to watch/listen to/read, what to say, and on and on). Making value judgements (the relative placement of our discernment) is essential to living a healthy life. However, being judgemental is a totally different game. When we’re judgemental, we decide that we’re “right” and someone else is “wrong.” Doing this hurts us and others, cuts us off from those around us, and doesn’t allow us to see alternative options and possibilities.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with and passionate about being judgemental. And many of us, myself included, are highly trained in this destructive and damaging “art.” When we’re being judgemental about another person, group of people, or situation, we significantly diminish our capacity to be empathic.

Experiencing Fear

The root of all this is our fear. Feeling threatened is all about fear. Being judgemental is all about fear. And, not feeling, experiencing, or expressing empathy is also all about fear. There’s nothing inherently wrong with fear; it’s a natural human emotion that has many positive aspects to it if we’re willing to admit it, own it, express it, and move through it. Fear saves our lives and keeps us out of trouble all the time.

However, the issue with fear is our denial of it, our secret obsession with it, and our lack of responsibility about it. We deem things, people, or situations to be “scary,” when in truth there is nothing in life that is inherently “scary.” There are lots of things, people, and situations that cause fear in us; however, we make it about “them” instead of owning that the fear comes from within us. When we allow ourselves to be motivated by fear, which often leads to us defending ourselves against “threats,” being judgemental, and more, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to access the power of empathy.

Where in your life and relationships can you see that feeling threatened, being judgemental, and experiencing fear stop you from being empathic? The more willing you are to look at this, acknowledge it, own it, and take responsibility for it (with compassion for yourself), the more able you’ll be to expand your capacity for empathy.

How to Become More Empathic

There are many things we can do and practice to increase our ability to feel, experience, and express empathy for others, situations, and ourselves. Becoming more empathetic is one of the best ways we can enhance our relationships, reduce our stress level, and feel good about ourselves and our lives in an authentic way.

Here are a few things you can do and think about to become more empathic:

Be Real About How You Feel:

When we’re willing to get real about how we truly feel and have the courage to be vulnerable about it with ourselves and others, we can so often liberate ourselves from the negativity, projections, and judgements that mask what’s really going on. When we’re in a conflict with another person or dealing with someone or something that’s challenging for us, being able to admit, own, and express our fear, insecurity, sadness, anger, jealousy, or whatever other “negative” emotions we are experiencing is one of the best ways for us to move past our defensiveness and authentically address the deeper issues of the situation.

Doing this allows us to access empathy for ourselves, the other person or people involved, and even the circumstances of the conflict or challenge itself.

Imagine What It’s Like For Them:

While it can sometimes be difficult for us to “understand” another person’s perspective or situation (because we may not agree with them, haven’t been through what they’ve been through, or don’t really want to see it through their eyes), being able to imagine what it must be like for them is an essential aspect of empathy.

This is not about condoning inappropriate behaviour or justifying other people’s actions; however, I do believe deep in my heart that no one does or says things that are hurtful to us if they aren’t already feeling a real sense of pain themselves and/or haven’t been hurt in many ways in their own life. Whatever the situation, the more willing we are to imagine what it’s like for them, the more compassion, understanding, and empathy we’ll be able to experience.

Forgive Yourself and Others:

Forgiveness is one of the most important things we can do in life to heal ourselves, let go of negativity, and live a life of peace and fulfilment. Forgiveness has to first start with us. I believe that all judgement is self-judgement. When we forgive ourselves, we create the conditions and perspective to forgive others.

Forgiveness is one of the many important aspects of life that is often easier said than done. It is something we need to learn about and practice all the time. Sadly, we aren’t often taught how to forgive, encouraged to do it in genuine way, and didn’t, in most cases, grow up with very good models or examples of how to forgive.

One of the best books you can read on this subject is called Forgive For Good, written by my friend and mentor Dr. Fred Luskin, one of the world’s leading experts and teachers about the power of forgiveness. This book gives you practical and tangible techniques you can use to forgive anyone and anything. The more willing we are to forgive ourselves and others (and continue to practice this in an on-going way), the more able we’ll be to empathise authentically.


Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken (Wiley). More info: www.Mike-Robbins.com

Nothing makes me more angry and sad than a cold and judgemental person

Nothing makes me more angry and sad than a cold and judgemental person. Yes Mike Robbins is quite right in many aspects of his article  The Power of Empathy.

Nothing makes me more angry and sad than a cold and judgemental person.

Yes Mike Robbins is quite right in many aspects of his article  The Power of Empathy  and I have to say, and have mentioned to people before, that a cold and judgemental person is such a sad thing to see or be.

I wish people could learn to be more understanding. Nothing makes me more angry and sad than a cold and judgemental person.

We all have judgemental prejudices. We all think thoughts that separate us from one another. We may not necessarily agree with everyone, that would be very impossible, but we can at least try to understand why people do something or act in a certain way. We can learn a lot that way…

This may or may not change anything, but I have always felt bad in the past when I have judged people… WE really should do better…. We should learn not to judge . Life is so much more enriching the more people you know and there really are some wonderful people out there once you let go, and you will find out the more diverse they are.

I challenge people now to try to make yourself a better person. You may not always agree with others, but is it really so hard to see through someone else’s eyes and see the other side of the coin ? Trust me, you’ll be happier if you do.

Understanding is great patience, and great patience is gold within us……!! Its very important for your children to learn too if you have them..

Try it for you, do it for them, lets help make the world a better place .

Written by Joanne Wellington for medium2spirit.com
 Copyright © 2010,2015 Joanne Wellington All Rights Reserved.

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