Empathy is WAY Different than Sympathy | 34 Lessons

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Growing up, many of the doctrines and teachings of organized religion taught me to feel bad for people, which never felt right to me.

Last summer, I ran into what I dubbed my last cohabitation and co-dependent friendship with someone struggling with alcohol dependency. Where this may have been the pattern of my relationships in the past, I refused to carry them forward.

In journaling about the scenario, I found that the best I can do when people are struggling is tap into a wellspring of empathy or compassion for what they are experiencing while upholding healthy personal boundaries. Empathy felt freeing for me. I could practice kindness, hold space, and still feel good, myself.

Sympathy on the other hand, kept me feeling bad for this person or scenario. Being the empath that I am, i would absorb those feelings and it triggered my codependent patterns that I’ve been working to heal for the past 10-years.

Empathy is way different than sympathy.

It’s feeling with someone versus feeling bad for someone.

Empathy is grace in action.

I’ll take empathy every time.