Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sympathy vs Empathy
Sympathy and Empathy are two of the most common misunderstood terms in the English language. There are hundreds of people that do not understand the difference between these two terms. They are actually two separate terms that have some important distinctions that everyone should know.

It is fair to state that both sympathy and empathy are acts of feelings. With sympathy though, you feel for the person. You pity or feel sorry for them but you do not necessarily understand what they are actually feeling. As a result of this you tend to have no choice but feel sympathetic for the person because you do not understand the problem or predicament that they are presently having. Empathy on the other hand takes a little more imagination, work, or even similar situations to gain empathy for someone. It is most often referred to as higher order in the overall complexity of the human emotions.

You can describe empathy as sharing a feeling with someone. So do you notice the difference between the two so far? With empathy to an extent you are placing yourself in the persons place, you have a good sense of how they feel, and you also understand their feelings to some degree. Sometimes it may seem impossible for someone to feel empathetic to a person’s feelings because of their reactions. These reactions involve their thoughts and feelings towards the issue are going to be unique to each and every individual. The idea of empathy though implies a much more active process than sympathy does.

It is hard for you to empathetic to a person’s feelings but it can be easy for you to feel sympathy. It is easy for you to feel sympathy for someone who has lost a loved one, has undergone some certain kind of trauma, or have faced some very difficult times.

When sympathy is expressed to a person that is experiencing grief suggests to you that that person is alone in their grief. Empathy on the other hand suggests to the person that you are right by their side through the whole issue that they are dealing with, at the moment. You have the ability to imagine how it is to be in their shoes, and you are with them during their time of stress and turmoil.

The difference between sympathy and empathy is often misunderstood but when you understand the differences you will be able to use the terms in a better manner.

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