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This is the difference between empathy and sympathy

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We come into this world alone, like little rain drops longing to reunite with each other. We bathe into the wonder of the sky and enjoy ourselves. But as we spend some time on Earth, we become more and more aware that the goal here is to find our way back to the lakes, the place where other drops have already got.  To the place where we learn to connect with each other in such a perfect manner that will make our minds wise and our hearts warm. The place of the one large drop. The lake.

When we think about what’s most important in our lives it all comes down to love, relationships, connection and belonging. If you believe otherwise, think again. We take our strength from relationships but they can also deplete us. Unless we learn to develop qualities such as empathy, giving, honesty and trust we cannot truly enjoy connections… not in a satisfying healthy way.

If you’re interested in relationships (who isn’t?) , this will make your day: Dr. Brene Brown, researcher of shame and vulnerability, challenges us to analyse empathy and its importance in our lives. Dr. Brown studied shame and vulnerability for 13 years and is the author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are  and  Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Recently she gave a talk in London about the difference between empathy and sympathy, part of which was used to make a beautiful little animated movie. The team who made the video was made up by The RSA ( Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) and illustrator Katy Davis.

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” Brene Brown “The gifts of Imperfections: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.” 

So, what’s the difference between EMPATHY and SYMPATHY?

Dr. Brown says that empathy fuels connection while sympathy drives disconnection. Empathy has 4 main qualities:

1. The ability to take another person’s perspective

2. Staying out of judgement

3. Recognizing emotions in other people and

4. Communication

Basically, empathy is feeling with people. It’s a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with other people we have to look inside ourselves and search for that same feeling, only then we are truly connecting and can honestly say: “I have been there”. Watch for yourself:



“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” 
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are


“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.” 
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

sources: goodreads  , RSA 

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