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Sympathy vs. Empathy

It Services Philadelphia

I am a fixer. When I see or hear a problem, my reaction is to solve the problem and move on from it. To me, all the noise that surrounds the problem is just that, noise. While it’s great being proactive, the problem with simply  “removing the nail” is that there is no opportunity to be empathic.  By just providing a solution and moving on, I have not taken the time to understand the other person, so I can’t have their best interest at heart.

Sympathy and Empathy are two words that folks interchange often. While both actions show concern for another person, empathy takes it a step further by not only understanding but experiencing the feeling that the other person is having. In other words, sympathy is a matter of understanding the other persons pain, but empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

For me, sympathy takes little to no effort. When you sympathize, you say what is expected of you; it’s almost a cold response. Empathy on the other hand requires you to not only listen but relate and share- it is more communal. To be empathetic you must sympathetic, but you don’t need to be empathetic to express sympathy. Empathy takes courage and shows vulnerability.

What are some examples of when you expressed empathy and what was the outcome?


“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou


Have a great weekend,