‘There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy but learning the difference can make huge changes in the society.’~ Anonymous
Rightly said. Sympathy has its place but is more about the feelings of the sympathizer than the one being sympathized with. Empathy allows a certain detachment from the feelings so the empathizer is better able to help.
In layman terms, Empathy is understanding the shoes someone else is walking in; sympathy is putting them on as if they belong to us.
It is often said the rich don’t make enough effort to appreciate what it is like to be poor and if they did we would have more equality and social justice. The gulf between the rich and the poor has made it increasingly difficult for the people to understand what it means to live in poverty — and that's hurting efforts to try to eliminate it.
The main problem with empathy is that it works like a spotlight, highlighting certain people in the here and now, making their suffering salient to one. This can sometimes be a good thing. Indeed, one of the best arguments in favour of empathy is that it really does makes one kinder to the person one is empathising with.
It often just seems right to try to feel the world as others feel it, to experience their suffering vicariously, to listen to our hearts rather than just listening to the mere sufferings of others and crying all about it.
- by Bhavya Bhatia