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Sympathy vs Empathy: Know the Difference?

Written by John Kuder

Table Of Contents

What’s the difference between sympathy and empathy? They are easy to mix up.
In the video, we discuss a progression from disempowerment to empowerment in four different behaviors:

  • Pity
  • Sympathy
  • Empathy
  • Compassion

Pity creates separation and treats the recipient as incapable.

Sympathy is an expression of how you feel about someone’s problem or situation. It maintains an emotional boundary.

Empathy is understanding their problem and feeling with them, either by imagining or remembering. As Brené Brown says, “empathy fuels connection.”

Compassion goes a step further than empathy by actively doing something to lessen their suffering.

There are differing opinions and professionals disagree with the dictionary. Here are some resources to review:

https://www.ramseysolutions.com/personal-growth/empathy-vs-sympathy

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/sympathy-empathy-difference

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202007/sympathy-vs-empathy

https://chopra.com/articles/whats-the-difference-between-empathy-sympathy-and-compassion

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