Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 207

How do you support the ones you love with empathy, rather than sympathy? What is the difference? I've been working a lot on this lately. Doing reading and watching some seminars. It's so interesting! And I have to say most people - including me - mistake or confuse the two. 

Empathy Vs Sympathy

Empathy builds connection and trust in a relationship by putting yourself in someone else's shoes and showing non-judgemental support. Often it's just active listening (listening without waiting to respond) and saying 'Thank you for sharing, I don't know what to say'. 

Sympathy is to buy into the 'poor me' and offer a silver lining to the situation. For example after surviving a car accident (quite close to my heart!) 'oh you poor thing, at least you are still alive'. 

After the learning I have done this week in regards to both empathy and sympathy I have realised that it is harder to be empathetic in your interaction with someone - but overall is less draining and tiring than being sympathetic. Often someone will approach you to talk about a situation in their life, they actually don't want any advice, or examples of your similar experiences, but more want some understanding and someone to listen. I am working on not offering 'free' advice - but rather to listen and wait until someone asks 'what is your take' or 'do you have any suggestions' before offering possible solutions. 

Next time you are in this situation, take note - are you being empathetic (building respect and connection) or sympathetic (offering a silver lining)?

…Until Tomorrow xox

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