Image picture credit to: http://themyndset.com/2012/08/top-10-reasons-why-empathy-is-a-bad-idea-for-business/

According to the above picture Empathy as :

The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another of without the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

Alright that is a wordy and complicated way of saying “I know how you feel.” in an emotional and/or physical way.

An example of empathy is sympathetic pregnancy, when a man (usually) experiences all the physical, emotional and physiological ( minus the fetus) symptoms of his wife’s (baby’s momma) pregnancy.

Uh oh, I made the typical mistake of mistaking Sympathy for Empathy.

Sympathy is defined as acknowledging another person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy

Okay now I am confused.

They sound so similar.

Okay, I will try again.

Empathy: I have experienced the same _________ as you, so I know how you feel.

Sympathy: I can imagine experiencing the same _________as you, so I feel for you.

Ah, explaining it that way to myself makes more sense and now I feel like I know what both empathy and sympathy are and how they differ.


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