xxxxxx) Empathy & Sympathy

Not appreciating the difference between empathy and sympathy. These two involve understanding the other person's emotions. Sympathy involves feeling the other's emotions as if they were coming from you; empathy involves understanding the other person's emotions but not becoming overwhelmed. Empathy involves observing, watching and imagining what the other person feels, ie being able to distance yourself from others' emotions. Careful questioning, use of supportive body language (facial expressions, hand movements, breathing patterns, etc) and the use of an appropriate tone of voice can help others feel understood. Too much sympathy will result in one becoming overwhelmed and unable to help, ie in extreme cases it can cause "burn-out". Not showing empathy is to treat people in a mechanistic way. Empathy skills can be learnt.

. Not realising that fear is our dominant emotion and it is

"...often the thing that is standing between us and our ability to make things happen..."

Seth Godin as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2010c


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