The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.
What’s the difference between sympathy and empathy? At the most basic level, sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, while empathy is understanding their pain. These words are related, but they are not synonyms. Discover the differences between empathy vs. sympathy so you can be confident in your ability to use these two words correctly.
Sympathy involves feelings of compassion, sorrow, sadness, or pity for another person or other people who are facing difficult circumstances. It is an emotion experienced in reaction to something that happens to other people. When you feel sorry for someone, you have sympathy for that person.
Empathy is stronger than sympathy. It goes beyond feeling compassion for their loss. It is the ability to put yourself in the place of another and understand someone else’s feelings by identifying with them. With empathy, you put yourself in another’s shoes and view the situation through their eyes to get a real sense of what their experience is like. Rather than just feeling bad for the other person, showing empathy involves sharing their feelings.