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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...

From emotional to intuitive: The 6 kinds of empaths

Let's talk about the E word

Empathy is both a trait and a skill. Here's how to strengthen it

8 signs of an empath + How to use your empathic abilities as 'Superpowers'

Taking people with you: Communicate with empathy

Stop talking about empathy, and start acting on it

Why bosses lose empathy as they advance

Make Management (and life) easier

 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.


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!

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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