Empathy and Sympathy…

empathyOften, empathy is very subtle… it could be just a brief nod.

It says I understand, I’m here with you, I’m not judging you.

Empathy is when someone is down in their dark hole and you can get down in that hole with them, but not be stuck there – bring them some perspective, have a boundary that you aren’t going to get stuck down in there with them but you absolutely identify with them.

Sympathy is when you stand at the side of the hole and you say, that’s terrible but I’m not coming in there to be by your side.

Sympathy is: I feel bad for you.

Empathy is: I feel with you.

Sympathy is usually our default setting – empathy is a decision we make. It takes work to be empathetic.

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