There’s a huge difference between sympathy and empathy, between “I’m sorry” and “I’ve been there.” It’s not that sympathy is bad, not at all. It’s just that empathy invites a connection sympathy simply can’t.
Sympathy says, “I feel sorry for you,” while empathy declares, “I am you.” Sympathy requires you to find compassion — from a distance — for another’s misfortune. Empathy demands that you revisit your own pain in order to relate to someone else’s.
The next time you’re inclined to sympathize,
see if there’s really an opportunity