You provided a crucial wisdom. As vulnerable as we are at times, our initial response to problems, ours and others’, is sympathy. We sympathize to the emotions we attach to our life circumstances. Sympathy then nurtures those emotions and gives us less power to resolve anything. We are mirrors and the sympathy we give to one another is the very sympathy we want for ourselves. Sometimes it becomes borderline pity/self-pity. How comforting it is to know that someone else shares what we feel, that someone else goes through what we go through as well? That is the opposite of empowerment. That is the opposite of compassion which you talked about. Sympathy sounds like a kind-hearted gesture but in this case, it is somewhat detrimental.
I cannot speak for everyone, though, and when I said “we” or “ours”, it only refers to the people I encountered who fell on the sympathy trap, including myself. It didn’t occur to me before that the most compassionate thing we can do for one another is to just sit, be still and listen. Be present without judgment or personal story.
Thank you, Jonas, for this gem.