Pity: I look down at you. Your pain is your problem.
Sympathy: I feel sorry for you (and I’m glad I’m not in your position). I’m glad your pain isn’t mine.
Empathy: That sounds tough. I relate. I can feel why that would make you feel that way or even, I don't know what that situation would feel like but I relate to the feeling of shame/grief/disempowerment/stress - tell me more (I stand with and by you). Your pain is my pain.
Compassion: I relate but I won’t identify. I will logically understand and I will come from a place of love and hope. I may not accept you or your deeds, but I will see you as the child who was brought down the wrong path. I may cry for you but I will also believe you can change and things can improve. Your pain is your pain and my pain is my pain.
Empathy and compassion aren’t innate (meaning, born with).
They’re learned and it's never too late to learn either.
You don't have to have walked in someone else's shoes to relate. We've all felt shame, guilt, sadness, grief, disappointment, stress, anger... We relate to that, human to human. It's not a competition. It’s about kindness.
But, empathy taps into the pain region of your brain and so, though a beautiful skill and sentiment, it can cause fatigue and exhaustion. It will feel validating but not necessarily inspire growth and or help either move forward.
Compassion taps into a place of hope and happiness. It relies on empathy but doesn’t get stuck in that space, and is thus kinder towards yourself and others.
Until next time, take care, stay safe - and sane - and make kind choices!
Here at School of Thoughts we stand for and promote a
#CultureOfImperfection #GenerousContribution #RadicalKindness #EthicalDecisions #HaveFunBeFree
This is a daily, micro-blog, taking less than 2 minutes to read, offering you insights into how presumptions, beliefs and stories shape our lives and worldview, for better or worse.