Here’s how I see it: Empathy is the ability to respect and maybe even understand another’s point of view, revealing larger truths about ourselves and others. Exploitation is the use of another’s experience for personal gain. Empathy requires self-awareness. Exploitation is marked by self-interest. Empathy is about deepening connections. Exploitation, about filling one’s pockets, literal or figurative.
This isn’t to say that those who attempt or express empathy always succeed at it, even though they may be well meaning.
By Anna Holmes