Empathy, Sympathy, Grief… What’s the Difference?

Ok, my Dad is sick. At 82, he’s in the hospital with double pneumonia and is so very weak and it looks like he’ll have to go into a nursing home from the hospital. While at the nursing home, he’ll (hopefully) be able to regain enough strength to go home. Unless he can walk a bit, his caregiver, my mother at 79, will be unable to care for him.

Of course, I AM glad he’s improving (!), but how do I FEEL about his future? If he dies, I’ll be sad he is not here on Earth any longer in his physical body and will grieve, but also be oh, so happy he has resumed his spiritual body. Whenever a personal loss occurs, it is our natural inclination to grieve, or feel deep distress. When others feel, and join our feeling of loss and grief, that is sympathy. But…when someone else has the capacity to understand personal loss and yet be supportive without experiencing grief themselves, that is empathy.

So sympathy is a negative thing, where vibrations are low (See that emotional scale discussed in yesterday’s blog); the grief of someone else brings you down. Empathy, on the other hand is positive whereby I feel better (higher vibrations) because someone took their time to understand where I AM without being there themselves. This lifts me up as I realize that there IS a way out of my grief because someone else has “been there, done that” and survived.

My words about grief, sympathy and empathy are supplemented by this video that explains the subtle, yet important differences in these words and the feelings they involve:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1Evwgu369Jw. Please watch, and …

Enjoy!

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About cindyloucbp

Cynthia is the typical Pisces! Her left brain activities include scientific activities in the hospital laboratory as a director. Her right-brain activites show as a painter, photographer and musician. She is known as the scientist who sings!
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