Compassion Vs. Empathy

“There’s lots of people that need to be blessed. What better way than to have us bless each other? What faster way? Don’t believe me? Try it.”

The idea of empathy and compassion are explored throughout Surely Goodness and Mercy and are terms that are often thrown around. They are skills that people desire and, though many may say otherwise, are something we are not necessarily born with but instead must be taught as we grow. However, do we really know the definitions of these two words or even how they defer, since people usually see them as interchangeable synonyms. To actually understand these two famous words it is important to know is that compassion is the product of empathy. To empathize with someone means to understand how a person feels, or at least to imagine how it might make you feel in their situation (this is not to be confused with sympathy in which you may feel sorrow, or pity for someone but do not try to put yourself in their shoes.)

This then leads to compassion, which is where someone not only understands how that person feels but takes it a step further by taking action on it.

In other words, empathy is the feeling and compassion is the action. A good example of this would be Tino’s deed of raising money for Bernadette’s medical bills. First, Tino empathized. He worked to understand how Bernadette felt by talking to her, researching her illness and imagining what it would be like if he had it. This then lead to his compassionate actions, such as him visiting Bernadette in the hospital and most notably starting a GoFundMe on her behalf. It is important to remember that all of these steps took work and even empathizing with someone is an effort in it of itself. But, as Tino learned, all the effort is worth it in the end when helping your fellow humans and especially the people important to you.

 

Works Cited

Chandler, Lori. "The Difference Between Empathy and Compassion Is Everything." Big Think. October 26, 2015. http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/compassion-is-an-action-not-an-emotion.