Empathy vs sympathy
Sympathy involves understanding from your own perspective. When you sympathize with another person you are acknowledging the challenge or emotional experience in a comforting act. One of the most common acts is to verbally say, “I’m so sorry to hear that. It must be rough.” Another sympathetic act might be giving a hug or pat on the shoulder.
Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and imagine the experience of another person. This ability can be improved like any skill or ability through intentional practice. Developing empathy is crucial for establishing relationships and building them through times of conflict and joy. Having the ability to experience another person’s point of view while imagining the impact of , enables prosocial or helping behaviors that come from within, rather than being forced.