Compassion vs Compassion: The Difference and Why They’re Both Important
So what is the difference between them? According to Spinelli, while empathy and compassion are closely related and can work in tandem when it comes to understanding and relating to the emotions and experiences of others, empathy focuses on understanding and sharing those emotions, while compassion extends compassion, adding proactivity and care. response to suffering.
Thus, according to Thiessen, this sense of community with others is the key difference between them. For example, you can sympathize with another’s suffering without necessarily feeling sympathy, and conversely, you can sympathize with someone else’s suffering without necessarily feeling sorry for them.
In fact, as a recent study published in the journal Emotion2 research, compassion seems to reign supreme when it comes to how empathy versus compassion affects our health. As the study authors explain, too much compassion can harm your health, while compassion seems to improve it.
“Empathetic individuals who struggle to show compassion often use self-focused language and write about negative feelings, social isolation, and feelings of depression,” they write. “Compassionate people, in control of empathy, often use other language and write about positive feelings and social connections.”
This study ultimately highlights that high noncompassionate empathy is associated with negative health outcomes, while high noncompassionate empathy is associated with positive health outcomes, positive lifestyle choices, and charitable giving. “Such findings suggest an approach to moral motivation that is based on compassion rather than empathy,” the authors of the study add.
Indeed, further research on empathy and pain perception has even shown that people with high levels of empathy can literally feel the pain of others when they see it. An interesting evolutionary quirk, to be sure, but it’s not great news if you’re surrounded by negative people all the time.