Empathy vs Sympathy.
It’s the difference between getting into the hole to be alongside someone, and standing outside the hole looking into it.
I have found it the best explanation of how they are different.
When someone’s in a really dark place, in the metaphorical hole:
Sympathy is saying “I’m so sorry you’re down (there).”
Empathy is getting right down to be with them, and saying “It really looks like you’re in a dark place. Talk to me. Tell me how you’re feeling.”
Empathy does not mean understanding how someone feels, because we can never truly understand another person’s experience.
Just because you’ve gone through a similar experience as someone else, doesn’t mean that you can truly understand how they feel and what they’re going through.
I never presume that I know.
All I know is that I can only ask, and then I listen.
And I am there
Remember that most people who are going through a rough time don’t want sympathy.
They just want someone to listen.
You don’t need to be a #Samaritans to be a good listener.
You just need to care. 🌹