Thursday, October 16, 2008

Empathy & Sympathy

These two terms frequently get confused because they are related. Empathy is when we can recognize what is going on with another person, understand it and relate to it. Sympathy is takes it a step further because there are feelings involved. When we sympathize with a person, we not only relate to the problems they are dealing with, we also have feelings for them and are involved with them.

When we read in the newspaper about a person who lost their job and lost their home, we can relate to their problems. But if it happens to a good friend or a relative, we have personal feelings about this, and we want to help, even if it is only to offer moral support or offer them what assistance we can.

In these times, many of us will be able to empathize with people whose stories we hear about in the news, and we also may find ourselves sympathizing with those we know who are having hard times.

We use our energy wisely when we help those we can, acting from compassion and sympathy. Empathy will serve us well in looking toward the future and planning so that we can avoid problems like these from recurring.

These characteristics are part of being a conscious human. They are part of our evolution.

No comments: