I’ll dive right into this subject headfirst since it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Do you know the difference between empathy and sympathy? Some often THINK they know the difference, but their actions clearly say otherwise. I’ll break it down right here and explain:
- Sympathy is simple and easy for the average human to feel because feeling sympathy for someone comes from a place of power. Humans love power.
- Empathy is not as easy as sympathy. Empathy forces another human being to look someone else in the eye, knowing that all that separates these two people is basically….pure luck.
When it comes to chronic illness or mental health issues, nobody wants sympathy. Nobody wants others to feel sorry for them. What they do want is empathy. It shows you’re capable of putting yourself in other’s shoes. It’s a sign of growth and maturity. Basically, revealing empathy to another person proves you are a human being with a heart capable of love and understanding. Check all egos at the door, chronic illness warriors will let you know very quickly if you are sympathizing. When you sympathize with someone, you often come off as a baby talking adult. As if you’re looking down on them. It’s hard enough to get by day to day when you are chronically ill, feeling like you are being talked down to just adds fuel to the blazing fire.
Empathy is an expression of love and the fragility of the human condition. By looking someone else in the eye at their level and seeing the situation from their point of view, you are essentially admitting your own humanity. When we relate empathy to illness, we learn grace and humility. These elements are crucial to the chronic illness community. Most likely because as people who are often unwell, we are already at a place in our lives where kindness must be present for survival. When you are chronically ill, you appreciate the empathy shown to you by others. You will usually reciprocate it. Empathy comes full circle in time to all on this walk of life. Chronically ill or not, practicing empathy towards others only strengthens our bond with the human race and our amazing planet earth.
“Always be kind. Put yourself in another’s shoes. You might see things from an angle you never would have imagined“Khronikally Karly