Sympathy, Empathy, and Compassion Article

There have been so many posts regarding compassion, empathy, sympathy, and pity; however, do we really understand the difference?

Compassion, empathy, and sympathy are all related concepts but have distinct differences. Compassion is an emotion that motivates behavior; it leads to action. It involves understanding the struggles of another person and wanting to help them. Empathy is a feeling of shared experience; it’s being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand their feelings. Sympathy, on the other hand, is an emotion characterized by feeling sorry for or sad about someone else’s plight. While sympathy does not always lead to action, it does show understanding and concern for another person’s suffering or misfortune. Pity, on the other hand, is a feeling of superiority that demeans those for whom it’s felt; it does not lead to any kind of helpful behavior.

When we extend kindness and understanding toward others, we can make a difference in their lives and ours. Therefore, it’s important to understand the nuances of each approach so that you know how best to respond in any given situation.

As Brené Brown has stated, it takes Courage to take that step to compassion and empathy. So, what courageous step are you able and willing to take today?