Empathy is the capacity to experience the suffering of others. Empathic people often feel the pain of others, sometimes to their detriment.

Empathy seems to be the big word in the past year or so, although longer for some.

Compassion is about feeling for not feeling with the other persons. There is no pain for you as there may be if you were feeling empathic.

Empathic people feel the pain of others acutely; empathy can drain you emotionally. They get caught up in others’ experiences instead of maintaining and being observant. One may only achieve burnout with this viewpoint. Think of your first responders and nurses, for example.

The brain goes in different directions for empathy and compassion. Empathic individuals register the pain of others and it can be debilitating.

There is more positivity with Compassion.

To have more compassion in your life, first, limit your exposure to negativity. Do not dwell in the negative, but hope and extend to others the need for them to feel less danger; you need perspective.

I have known many who have identified with negative occurrences, become distracted, tired, and dried up expressing only empathy without loving-kindness.

It is not necessary for you to feel the pain of others. It is only necessary for you to live a life of compassionate loving kindness and pray for others to achieve the same. We do not want to suffer, nor do we want others to suffer. This is different from taking on the pain of others and owning it ourselves so that we continue to suffer or feel distressed.

Empathy or compassion – you get to choose how you want to live your life.

Another choice could be-talk to me about your choices.


Joanne Victoria