When it comes to being successful, it is often that people will say that your EQ is more important than your IQ.  With EQ = Emotional Quotient and IQ = Intelligence Quotient.  You will also hear, "It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you now."  A third way is "Your NET WORTH is equal to your NETWORK."

All of these sayings are saying that the human element is the most important factor in being successful.  In learning about human beings, we also hear the terms Empathy and Sympathy.  For the longest time, I had no clear explanation of the difference between these two terms.

Many people will explain these two terms to mean something like being able to feel what another person is feeling.  So if somebody is happy, I can feel their happiness and if they are hurting, I can feel their pain.  There is even something called "sympathic pregnancy", or according to Wikipedia Couvade Syndrome, where a man experiences some of the same symptoms and behavior of an expectant mother.

As I read the Wikipedia articles on the difference between empathy and sympathy, it also gets confusing, so let's start with the more simplistic explanation of the difference.  One way I heard to distinguish them is that empathy is recognizing the feelings of others without having to experience them yourself.  Sympathy is recognizing and feeling the same feelings as another.

According to this example, it is recommended to have an empathic doctor instead of a sympathetic doctor.  An empathic doctor will recognize your pain and discomfort caused by your throwing up.  A sympathetic doctor may also start throwing up with you.  An empathic man will recognize the emotional turmoil of his partner and will not allow that to prevent him from helping to get over this turmoil.  The sympathetic man may join in the emotional turmoil, crying and or fighting with his mate.

I like this simplistic definition as I can understand it and it clearly tends to prefer empathy over sympathy.  Reading Wikipedia it is a little less clear.  Wikipedia's definition of empathy is " the capacity to recognize feelings that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient (in fiction writing) being." and sympathy is "an extension of empathic concern, or the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being."

One thing that strikes me about these two definitions is that empathy mentions feelings and sympathy says "distress or need".  This would indicate to me that empathy can cover all feelings, pleasurable and painful and sympathy is only focused on painful feelings.

According to the Law of Attraction, this would clearly indicate that we should pay attention to empathy since it covers all emotions of other people.  If we focus on the painful feelings then more painful feelings will tend to come up.  If we focus on
 


Comments

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