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Mormon Discussion: 305: Empathy vs Sympathy

Bill Reel examines within the pain of a faith transition the development from Sympathy to Empathy.  We look at what each of these look like and how they express themselves within our faith and within our faith transitions.


5 thoughts on “Mormon Discussion: 305: Empathy vs Sympathy”

  1. Unfortunately as humans we don’t have an infinite amount of empathy to offer. It’s self consuming and wears you out emotionally. A certain amount of self care is needed afterwards least you are left destitute yourself.

    I sort of hate the Good Samaritan parable for that reason, because I feel like crap when I have to turn my back on the poor and destitute.

    However, in many other circumstances we can do better, and I love how you call out on the scriptures where they are wrong. It’s high time we point out circumstances found in scripture where we simply know better than that.

    Although for D&C 121 perhaps Joseph needed to hear the voice a vengeful god for his emotional needs. Sometimes that’s what we need. Again, you’re right.

  2. Thank you, Bill, for the clarification. I am going to choose empathy in the future. I know the difference. I have been the receiver and giver of both empathy and sympathy in my lufe. I, too,know connection with each other IS the key;the desire of our hearts. Namaste.

  3. In a sympathy response we take on another person’s emotional state and are equally overwhelmed by their emotions unable to distinguish their circumstances and self from us and we often try to moderate their emotional response because we cannot endure feeling what they feel or being int the presence of suffering so we attempt to end their emotional response by consoling them or “as least…” or “look at the bright side…” or “I’ve had it worst …”

    This is an important topic in faith transitions.

  4. Great podcast, Bill! I always enjoy listening to your profound insight coupled with your entertaining dry humor.

    I always looked at both empathy and sympathy as two forms of giving forth compassion–the former in the case where the giver of compassion has actually experienced first hand the recipient’s need for compassion and the latter in the case where the giver of compassion has not experienced the recipient’s need for compassion.

    Keep up the great work!!

    Namaste. ✨

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