Help! My empathy meter is falling & I need to know how to bring it up!
If you're confused about the difference between sympathy, empathy & compassion you're not alone. Too often these "cousins" are misused so here's a quick run-down...
When we act out of sympathy we're not really connecting with the other person. It means we understand what the person is feeling. It's pity for them.
When we act out of empathy, a connection emerges with the feelings of the one who is suffering. It means we feel what the person is feeling.
When we act out of compassion, a connection happens with the person who is suffering along with our willingness to relieve their suffering.
Here are some articles on empathy from some diverse angles...
Of course, this journey starts with having a little empathy for ourselves. When we show up as our authentic selves, stepping into empathy becomes possible.
THE MAN IN THE GLASS
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He's the fellow to please - never mind all the rest
For he's with you, clear to the end
And you've passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.
by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. - 1934
It's been said that empathy is the glue that holds societies together. Every person we meet is fighting some kind of battle we know nothing about...unless we ask. Once people know you're with them in this "life" battle (and not just for personal gain) empathy begins to emerge & the possibility for compassion grows.
The level at which we are able to show up for others (sympathy, empathy, compassion) is equal to to level at which we love ourselves!