Compassion and empathy, what do they really mean? Since I have learned and practiced these more often, it has advanced my life and career in so many ways. Today I’d like to share with you what these human qualities can achieve for you as well.
Compassion and empathy are like two sides of the same coin. They’re related, but also different. If you’ve ever felt that they seem to mean the same thing, I’ll shed some light here on the differences as well.
Let’s start with compassion. Every time you choose to act with compassion, you’re making your inner world and the outer world a better place. You’re taking a moment to consider the situation, yourself, and others, in a more holistic way.
On the other hand, empathy is a built-in, autonomous reaction from your brain. I’ll go into more detail below.
Origin of Empathy and Compassion
Empathy and compassion originate from different parts of the brain. What does this mean? They’re both reflexes, or reactions, that we have to certain situations. But empathy originates from the subconscious brain. It is an automatic reaction or feeling, we have to a situation. So empathy is something that happens without conscious effort. It’s part of our personality.
On the other hand, compassion is in a more deliberate part of the brain. Compassion is a chosen action and becomes a habit when we practice it. Compassion passes through the layers of our conscious being to induce actions.
When it comes to compassion, while our impulsive empathetic response is slower to grow, you can deliberately create some growth here. This will benefit your life in several ways, which I explain in the section on Results.
Scope of Action for Empathy & Compassion
Very often, empathy is understood as an emotion. It is best described as “I can feel how you feel”. For instance, when you see someone in pain and you feel bad about it, that’s empathy.
Meanwhile, compassion is the willingness to do something and help reduce that pain. Empathy is how you feel about someone’s condition, and compassion is what you want to do about it.
You can understand compassion as:
“I wish to help you do this and reduce your pain.”
And you can apply compassion for yourself, other people, and animals.
Limitations of Compassion and Empathy
If empathy is, “I feel how you feel”, can you really feel things you don’t know? Empathy is highly subjective. It is also dependent on how much you know about a person or a situation.
Compassion, on the other hand, is a tool you can apply in many different situations. Even if you don’t know a lot about a situation, perhaps you can make a compassionate gesture. Compassion can also come from making an effort to ask supportive questions, so apply common sense and understanding.
In any case, be sure to tune in with the situation and people, and consider what is best, whether that is no action at all or an appropriate gesture.
Results of applying Empathy & COMPASSION
Empathy is a feeling and compassion is a thought-oriented action. But what happens at the end of applying these?
When you apply empathy and compassion to daily situations, it brings a certain lightness and joy to your day. You’re able to think a bit less and feel a bit more. And those are good feelings we’re talking about.
When you’re more relaxed, you’re able to focus more on your career and relationships. Or whichever things are your priorities right now.
Wouldn’t it be great to feel relaxed and productive all day? That’s the result of practicing compassion and empathy, with yourself, and with others.
When you make this a habit in your daily life, you will notice how it helps your interactions with other people. You will also see how it improves your inner world.
The reason is that you’re applying a bit of gentle action, in a positive way. That makes you feel empowered and peaceful because you feel more in flow with yourself and others. This is also why compassion is constructive in so many ways.
The Final Verdict
So now that you know the difference between empathy and compassion, what should you do? Keep the objective in mind first. I would suggest that the starting objective is to feel more relaxed with yourself, and with other people.
Which small steps can you take in your daily life to apply a bit of empathy and compassion? Just let it flow. Show a bit of empathy and compassion when you find it appropriate.
And as you observe, understand, and learn about yourself, you will learn more about the nature of the personality tools you can use to support your career and life.
And if you need any help with empathy and compassion, trust yourself to reach out. Because getting just a little help can go a long way.
What is your opinion about the above? Share with us in the comments.