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The Many Faces of #Empathy | TINA FRISCO

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Tina Frisco has written a beautiful article on the differences between being empathetic and sympathetic. Empaths are also often referred to as HSPs (highly sensitive people) and being that I am one, I found this article of great interest and thought some of you may find it equally interesting.


The Many Faces of Empathy


For the past three days I’ve wanted to review my copy editor’s suggestions and revise my novel, but something has been getting in the way.  It took me a while to identify what that was.  Then this morning I received a call from a friend, and the core of our conversation lead me to realize that I not only was empathizing with her, but also that I unconsciously had taken on her emotional distress prior to her telling me about it.  So what is the difference between being empathic and being an empath?


The Oxford Dictionaries define empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  Merriam-Webster defines empathy as ” the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another . . . without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”  In other words, empathy is the capacity to feel what another person is experiencing from their vantage point rather than exclusively from our own. 


Empathy is sometimes confused with sympathy.  Unlike sympathy, which is the ability to acknowledge another’s emotional state and then offer reassurance and comfort, empathy derives from having had the same/similar experience or the capacity to put oneself in another’s shoes.

It’s interesting to note here that . . .” Continue Reading


Source: The Many Faces of Empathy | TINA FRISCO

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • marianbeaman

    I recognize the distinction and appreciate your painting it in bold relief here. Interestingly, my son Joel rates high on the empathy scale. So does his son Ian, artistic too. Empathy is a good trait but sometimes a catch-22, an emotional drain for the sensitive soul.

  • SDuggan-VA

    As an empath, the book The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron has been really helpful to me. If my memory serves me right, she says that empaths are the minority so the majority just “doesn’t get us” and tries to mold us into ‘them’.

    Carrying the emotions of others is draining and until you understand this about yourself (or someone you love), it can wreak havoc in your life.

    The best thing for me is to give myself time to rid myself of others emotions.

  • CJ Andrews

    I’ve never really given much thought to “why” I feel some of the things I do or considered that these aren’t feelings everyone gets. Interesting article… makes me want to investigate this further.

  • Annika Perry

    There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to be a strongly empathetic person as Tina says. They can relate wonderfully to others trauma and distress but at the same become emotionally exhausted by taking on so much. As with all things a sense of balance is so important and learning to take a step back now and then for self-preservation.

  • Deborah Jay

    Very interesting analysis – I’m an empathy (surprise, surprise!), and I’ve found it has shaped the life I’ve carved out for myself – I don’t do crowds, I don’t do negative people, I often prefer the company of animals over people, yet it also helps make me an excellent coach in my business, and help some who others have given up on – so very rewarding.
    Given the choice, I wouldn’t change how I’m made.

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