Sympathy means that you feel sorry for a person.
Empathy means that you understand how a person is feeling.
hope that helps .....jimmy
I like this simple definition. Knowing how a person feels, feeling it with them, allows you to express your sympathy.
Thank you jimmythejock that does help a lot, thank you.
Sympathy and empathy are separate terms with some very important distinctions. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; you’re sorry for them or pity them, but you don’t specifically understand what they’re feeling. Empathy can best be described as feeling with the person. Notice the distinction between for and with. To an extent you are placing yourself in that person’s place, have a good sense of what they feel, and understand their feelings to a degree.
With sympathy you feel sorry for them and can show compassion whether you understand it or not but with empathy you have been there, done that and you can relate to their problem first hand!
In my opinion, sympathy is actually the nobler of the two emotions. To empathize implies one is "feeling with the person", as JThomp42 put it below. In some respects this can be seen as merely reliving the emotions you yourself felt in the same or similar circumstances, i.e. feeling sorry for yourself all over again. Sympathy, by contrast, requires a greater effort on the part of the sympathizer, since to do so the sympathizer is required to attempt to understand something they themselves have never felt nor experienced. True sympathy, to my mind, requires greater mental and emotional effort than empathy, as it requires us to step outside ourselves and imagine how another feels, instead of just recalling our own feelings. I'm sure this won't be a very popular theory, given that today "empathy" is just about all that's required for secular sainthood.
Sympathetic person shows kindness and understanding to other people's sorrows and difficulties.
Empathetic person understands how other people feel, because she or he can relate to their sorrows and difficulties, empathetic person can wear their skin and walk in their shoes...empathy is much deeper than sympathy, comes from the Greek word that loosely translate as affection or passion for someone....
You are sympathetic if you feel sorry for the suffering of others though you merely express it overtly. On the other hand, empathy implies being deeply involved in the tribulations of others such that you are able to put yourself in their shoes and feel their pain. Empathy is therefore felt at a deeper conscious level than sympathy. Got It?
empathy is assumed to be the emotion one feels when one is "deeply involved in the tribulations of others such that you are able to put yourself in their shoes and feel their pain." Sympathy is what you feel for someone who writes that way. Get it?
I conclude it is indeed as simple as 1- 2-3. You "see" Sympathy starts with the letter S, that is the 19th letter in our alphabet and empathy starts with the 5th letter in our alphabet. 19-5=14; thus, the difference is 14; however, their 2nd letters yield (only) a difference of 12 and their 3rd letters yield a difference of -3 all of the rest of the letters yield absolutely no difference. Therefore, if we add up the first 3 letters of sympathy we have a yield of 57 and we add up the first 3 letters of empathy we have a yield of only 34. The difference between 57 and 34 is 23.
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