Sympathy is caring for someone else's suffering, misfortune which results in feeling pity and sorrow for that person.
Empathy is the ability to understand and feel what another person is experiencing. In other words, it is being able to place oneself in another person's position.
Although sympathy is sweet and human, empathy is one of the best qualities a person can have.
A sympathetic individual will feel bad for you for feeling the way you do but they might not be able to help you get through it. Not because they don't care enough but because they don't know what to do. They don't have the ability to comprehend what you are going through.
Sometimes people who have sympathy for you might think that they are helping when in reality, they are doing nothing close to helping you get better.
On another hand, an empathetic person will be able to help you if you are in need of emotional support because they understand exactly how you feel. They make enough effort to put themselves in your shoes, so that they can find a solution. They will sometimes bring you awareness of your own emotions.
If you need it, an empathetic person will give you an unbiased advice about a situation that involves other people. They are a good therapist.
Carrying other people's burdens is a difficult task and at extreme levels can negatively affect one's mental health, this is why most people choose empathy only when it comes to their loved ones.
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