What’s so special about sympathy and empathy?
In retrospect, I’d asked a friend this question since at some point I’d thought they meant the same thing because of the “pathy”.
Lol. I suppose I now know better.
While sympathy is the emotion of pity and sadness for another person’s misfortune, empathy is the capacity to comprehend and share the feelings of another (it is the capacity to grasp other people’s thoughts process and their feelings in situations, from their point of view and not yours).
I can bet some of us will be feeling somewhat now because we might have misread the two words as well.
Do you occasionally feel that the feelings and circumstances of other people affect you more than they ought to?
Can you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and evaluate a problem from their point of view?
Do people frequently criticize you for being overly sensitive?
If the answer is yes, you are definitely an empath.
Although being different words, they have a significant impact on both our lives and the lives of those around us.
Here’s why you’re more empathetic:
- You’re sensitive
- You might be an introverted person
- You are a GO-TO person
- You listen more
- You’re more concerned about others’ feelings
- You have deep care about other people
- You feel overwhelmed about tragic events that happened to others
- You give others hope
- You find it hard to set boundaries with people (although I believe in setting limits at all times).
Most of the time, it is not wrong to show sympathy because empathy has drawbacks.
Nevertheless, whereas empathy typically is an active attempt to comprehend another person, with you seeking to have a mental connection with the other person, sympathy is more of a passive relationship.
We ought to be more empathic because doing so teaches us to put ourselves in other people’s situations; we learn to comprehend their circumstances from their point of view rather than simply sympathizing with them.
As Dr Erin Leonard. PHd , a psychotherapist, author and researcher rightly said, “When a person has empathy, they resonate with how the other person feels as a fellow and equal human being, while sympathy is pity. When someone pities someone else they are looking down on that person”.