Until this hub. At first I liked what I read. At last! Someone got it right. She was devastated.
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She and I cried and we were both wrecked. I felt sad and depressed and miserable FOR her. Recently my own mother died. I was wrecked, devastated, I felt adrift and later, after much time had passed was able to fully understand what my friend had been through when her mother died. Sympathy: to feel anothers pain without full understanding as you have not experienced their pain fully.
Empathy: to feel anothers pain fully as you can understand it through similar circumstances. I'm so sorry for your loss! Regardless, I am printing this page to bring to my instructor next week. Lets see what comes of it. This state or experience may consist of emotional and mental effects upon an individual and not necessarily be a virtue unless acted upon by the will. There may also be an element of involuntary emotional response vs.
Thanks for an interesting hub. One of my all-time favorite sub-topics in the English language is usage. That's what you're discussing here, rather than grammar, which isn't one of my strong points! As a fascinating old curmudgeon of an English professor once pointed out, English usage is the realm of dictionary makers and high-school English teachers. Usage changes over time, too. Sometimes because words become outmoded outworded? I think we all have pet usage peeves. Please forgive my spelling errors!
I was trying to get my comments in before my next class starts and didn't proofread! This is interesting. Over the past couiple of days, I have been having a discussion with one of my students concerning the difference between the two words we have been discussing empathetic listening from a Marketing perspective. And, as some have said, I see the difference as being cognitive versus emotionional experiential. Cognitive referring to empathy and emotional referring to sympathy. In any case, it is easy to see how they can be confused with each other. I also find it interesting how there can be so much discussion about two simple words.
I love this language!
Very well said. I've always seen empathy as the ability to put yourself in anothers place but not necessarily having experienced the same thing. Like someone above said, the world needs more sympathy and empathy right now.
I was in a debate in one of my Crisis Prevention classes around this exact topic. I, for one, disagree with your analysis Robin. We may not have experienced what an individual has been through but we are gaining an understanding toward their situation and therefore sharing their feelings. Therefore I disagree with your examples. Would not sympathy occur when the experience is shared? All of your shared experiences are categorized as empathic. In our work, dealing with emotionally disturbed people, we learn empathic listening and empathic approaches.
I disagree. I agree with your usage of the two terms, mostly based on etymology.
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I know what it feels like to experience a great disappointment. But I bounced back. It seems that the medical community has reversed the meaning of the two words so that the literature usually indicates the sympathetic doctor is disabled by suffering with the patient, whereas the empathetic physician is the one who can understand what it is like to be in the condition of the sufferer, yet stand outside of it in order to address it objectively.
I could very well be wrong, but I feel like you nailed the differences until the examples. You made it seem like empathy was coming from a shared feeling, which is sympathy. You made sympathy appear to be a percieved feeling empathy rather than a shared one. That contradiction may be difficult for some people to comprehend. There might be a bit of a mis-match in your examples and what is defined as Sympathy vs Empathy and my understanding of the two. Since you will never be able to walk in another person's shoes, your example of your grandmother is sympathetic going back to your own pain of your grandmother dying.
This discrepancy between the terms 'sympathy' and 'empathy' came up in my psychology class, too. We determined that, with 'sympathy,' the quality of 'pity' and possibly a lack of base respect is also present. It is still a state of one person staying emotionally separate from someone else, possibly of one person the sympathetic person feeling pity for someone else where the sympathetic person values his or herself or his or her capabilities above the person that they pity.
With 'empathy,' there is a situation of one person attempting to feel 'the same as' and on the same level as someone else, sharing what the person feels. Pity is not a quality associated with the presence of someone feeling 'empathetic' toward another person. No 'more than' or 'better than,' no judgement about who has more or less capability, skill or any other human quality.
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Typically, a sympathetic person may feel that they need to help the person they have sympathy for, as if that person is 'less than,' 'less capable' than the person who feels sympathetic toward someone else. A person feeling 'empathy' for someone else has a different motivation if they decide to help someone - that is - simply to help ease a burden and to assist someone, even if they are aware that the person may be capable of doing something on his or her own.
What an interesting hub! For me, sympathy means understanding and also believing a person is justified in their feelings. And for me empathy means sharing that same feeling due to common experience or summat. I like your examples, very good hub!sderemacres.tk
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Now I know how i feel :- Thank you for this great explanation of a subtle but important difference. I can see empathy existing without there being any sympathy for someone. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc. As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things.
To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Robin Edmondson more. Sympathy vs. Empathy I recently received a hub request to write an article on the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Here are some examples: Sympathy :I am sorry for your loss. Researching Sympathy Parts of the Sympathy definitions listed below surprised me because they seem to closely emulate my own definition of empathy - yet the distinctions Wikipedia and Answers. Synonym: pity Wikipedia : Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person give rise to similar feelings in another person, creating a state of shared feeling.
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Researching Empathy The definitions I found on empathy all emphasize shared experience and understanding. Empathy does not require explanation or language; it's an understanding that happens automatically, often without effort. Empathy is a meeting of emotions, not a meeting of minds.
You can empathize with someone's direct emotional experience but not with an intellectual cause or goal. Empathy Definitions Merriam-Webster: T he action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; Answers.
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. Distinctions and Similarities between Sympathy and Empathy Both. Questions must be on-topic, written with proper grammar usage, and understandable to a wide audience. What do you think? Great hub, Robin. This was very interesting to know the difference between the two. Thank you so much for clarifying my confusion. I now have another piece to my puzzle. The BEST explanation, ever!
Understanding the difference.
Empathy, is the sharing of feeling based on differences between the observer and the communicator; Sympathy, by contrast, is the affective reaction experienced in the observer on the basis of perceived similarity with the communicator. For clarification: Empathy is understanding deeply what another is experiencing you get it. Sympathy is empathy plus experiencing the subject's distress you feel it.
Compassion is sympathy or empathy plus wanting to help.
Sympathy vs Empathy: The human mind speaks. Examples: An abuser commits negative acts. Here are examples: Sympathy: I am sorry for your loss.