Sympathy vs Empathy

empathy is …

seeing with the eyes of the other,

listening with the ears of the other,

and feeling with the heart of the other.

Sympathy stems from your judgment of someone’s situation and is a reflection of how you feel.

It is caring and helpful, but it’s about you.

Empathy is about the other person’s perspectives and feelings.

Showing that you understand enables you to get closer and gain trust.

Empathy requires that you suspend our own judgment and put your own interests on the back burner for a while – to understand how they look at things, their perspective.

Empathy is the ability to visualize emotions in other people.  It is hard-wired into the way our brains work; you just have to activate it.

Empathy implies that you are concerned about the other person. It shows your concern in a practical way and demonstrates your preparedness to help.

 

  1. Recognizing that the other person is experiencing significant feelings (positive or negative) and some sense of why that is happening.
  2. Saying something which demonstrates both that you understand what they are going through and why.
  3. Offering a next step which might help and at the same time, enhance your relationship.
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What you might say:

Saying something which demonstrates both that you understand what they are going through and why.

  • reflective statement: “You must feel …”
  • a reason (ex: had similar experience)
  • affirmation: “… which made me feel pretty low too…”

Offering a next step which might help and at the same time, enhance your relationship.

  • “have you thought how you might …”
  • “would it be of any help if …”
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