Sympathy And Empathy
1. feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.
2. understanding between people; common feeling.
1 - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
from the Greek empatheia (from em- ‘in’ + pathos ‘feeling’).
* researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.
Origin of the Words - The word "sympathy" comes from the ancient Greek sum-pathos, meaning "with/together" and "suffering." "Empathy" was coined in 1909 but borrows from an ancient Greek word, empátheia, which meant "passion/inward feeling,"
So then, Empathy is the ability to experience the feelings of another person. It goes beyond sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words are used similarly and often incorrectly used interchangeably.
The feeling of sympathy emerges from the recognition that another person is suffering, in contrast to empathy, where the other person's pain or suffering is felt. A person expresses sympathy, but shares empathy. The empathic feeling may be brief, and the person feeling it is said to "put themselves in the other person's place."
Of the two, empathy is a deeper feeling, but sympathy can be just as honest and heartfelt. However, empathy can forge a deeper and more meaningful connection, thus serving as a bridge for greater communication between individuals. The basis for both sympathy and empathy is compassion, a blending of understanding and acceptance of others that can be seen as being derived or enhanced by knowledge and wisdom.
Compassion recognizes the "me" in "you," the shared commonality of interconnected feelings between individuals. Both sympathy and empathy imply caring for another person, but with empathy, the caring is enhanced or expanded by being able to feel the other person's emotions.
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor ORDM., OCP., DM.