There’s confusion around what empathy is exactly and how it’s different from sympathy. Of course there’s confusion; the dictionary lists empathy and sympathy as synonyms — they’re absolutely NOT.
Sympathy = feeling pity or commiserating with others over a tragedy or bad situation.
Empathy = putting yourself in someone else’s position; imagining what they might be feeling and/or thinking.
Here’s a wonderful illustration of this concept illustrated by thersa.org, audio taken from a talk by Brené Brown.
Conversations around empathy are typically connected to professions related to mental health, medicine, education, or the arts. …
No one warned me midnight on December 31st, 2018 would feel like gut punch. When you’ve lost a loved one, you expect holidays to be difficult. You think about the big ones like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc. Why didn’t I ever hear anyone talk about New Year’s?
My grief process has been a mix of expected and unexpected reactions (to experiences and sometimes to nothing at all). Of course I expect to cry when I hear a song that triggers a memory of my dad. I also expect to be upset the morning after I have a dream that includes…
In my previous career, I was a psychologist. (I’m still a psychologist — licensed to practice in my state, but not currently practicing.) One might assume that, as a trained psychologist, I’m an expert at handling whatever life throws my way. Untrue. I have more coping skills at my immediate disposal, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I especially wouldn’t call myself an expert during September of 2018 — I don’t remember a lot about that month.
Let me explain.
On the night of September 2nd, I got a call from my mom. She started with the four words…
UX Researcher | Psychologist | Crafty Nerd