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One question I get a lot is about the differences between empathy and compassion. Empathy, as Webster’s dictionary defines it is “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions; the ability to share someone else feelings.” We share one mind, and we can certainly be empathetic to someone else’s feelings, but is it actually helpful?
Myself and many spiritual students I meet are emphatic by nature. Literally, we’re empaths. We intuitively sense other people’s feelings and can get pulled into feeling their feelings when it’s not helpful to us. As a spiritual counselor I had to realize that if I’m supporting someone who is upset, and I empathize with them, then there are two people who are feeling upset and I’m not going to be helpful.
I quickly learned that compassion is much more helpful. Compassion is loving understanding. Love is actually healing and empathy isn’t.
It can feel unkind or ungenerous not to be emphatic with someone. However, most people would rather have a healing than a shoulder to cry on. Our being able to have compassion for someone does real good for all. Anyone expressing Love brings benefit to all.
The big challenge can be to have compassion for those we don’t like. When we don’t like someone it’s a result of rejecting them and not having compassion for them. The antidote is our willingness to have compassion. Sometimes we have to be willing to be willing before we can get there and that’s ok. We start where we are.
No matter where we begin we will reach the kingdom of heaven in our mind. For myself, I’m interested in being there now without delay and compassion is my ticket to ride!
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RADIO SHOW TODAY: On my radio show today my topic is True Empathy You can listen in LIVE on my radio show – click here for details – or you can click here to get the download later at iTunes or Stitcher for Androids. All the previous episodes are free at iTunes right now! You can subscribe to the podcast and get the show every week automatically. On your phone, iPod, or computer. Check it out! And if you enjoy the radio show, will you please write a review so more people find the show? Thank you!