Sympathy versus Empathy

July 18th 2020

            Sympathy Vs Empathy

            I did a program about this a few weeks ago and it really stuck around in my brain and even had a few debates with other people, I want to talk about it and give my best view on it.

            “Sympathy Drives Disconnection” a quote from Brene Brown on a video that was presented in the program about this topic. I had to really look at this because I thought to myself, “What? How? I sympathize people all the time, I throw that word around like it was nothing,” I also threw around the word Empathy when I thought it was appropriate. When I dived into a little research around these two words and what they really meant, I reconsidered throwing them around freely anymore and started making a choice to use the word Empathy.

            Sympathy by definition is, “Feeling of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.” I didn’t know that. I seen a homeless person yesterday at Starbucks ordering a drink for himself, I wasn’t near him, he looked haggard and dirty. These are all obvious signs right? I guess I could say I sympathized for him because I felt pity for the fellow. It’s easy to say that because I lead such a ravishing lifestyle…. I think not. I once was homeless last year, I was staying at a men’s shelter and my story was getting over my addiction, I think back and I always had a backpack with stuff and I wasn’t dressed well at times and seeing it from that point view or perspective, people had to have looked upon me with pity. I didn’t want that, I got myself there and I was making choices to get out of that situation. I did not want pity for myself and that guy was able to buy a coffee so maybe he was ok at that point, a total assumption on my part because I could’ve asked him however I was meeting with my counsellor.

            Empathy by definition is, “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Now like I said, I didn’t go up to the guy and share anything because he did have a foul odor of excrement coming from him I soon found out however having been homeless at one point in my own life I did understand and share a feeling of being in that situation. At that point I was grateful to see him buying a coffee at Starbucks of all places rather than buying some cheap vodka from the liquor store just a 2 minute walk away.

            Sympathy is not all bad though, I won’t take that away. When you hear of cancer taking away a father from his wife and three kids through people at work, sure sympathize “that,” however if you’ve ever been through that scenario with someone in your life and I’m sure I can safely assume that we’ve been through something like that with someone in our lives, show empathy for “them”.

            I hope you seen how I emphasized “That” and “Them,” I wanted to show the importance that sympathy is usually an “acknowledgment” surrounding the subject and empathy is more “understanding” to you.

Published by Nathan Findlay

Avid Blogger, I have a dream to help others. Addiction is the direct result of Trauma and Recovery is possible.

One thought on “Sympathy versus Empathy

Comments are closed.

The Cycling Chef

My experiences and ideas on living a adventurous, healthy sober life.

Serenity in Sobriety

Trauma, Addiction and Recovery


I rant and write ;)


travel life, I'm the passenger, chance is my ticket

Level Up Stud

Physique, Mindset, Money & More

Mugilan Raju

Prime my subconscious, one hint at a time

Some Like It Sober

Thriving dry in an alcohol-fueled society

Site Title

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

Be Inspired..!!

Listen to your inner has all the answers..

%d bloggers like this: