The words sympathy and empathy are often thought to be the same, and yet they are distinct expressions.
In times of death, we often extend sympathy by sharing our sorrow for what’s happened. Sympathy cards are usually synonymous with condolence messages. When offering sympathy, we’re expressing concern for another’s feelings. Cards, notes, phone calls, e-mails, meals, and offers of assistance are all expressions of sympathy.
But you don’t offer empathy, you feel it. Empathy…
I saw Billy Crystal in his one-man show “700 Sundays” and was deeply touched by his personal story. He relates how his father’s untimely death at age 54, when Crystal was 15, set him apart from his peers and forever changed him. He tells of looking in the mirror shortly after his father’s death and seeing a man instead of a 15-year old.
Crystal’s story resonated with me because I share the same legacy; I was 11-years old when I too lost my 54-year old father. When Crystal relates…