The Difference Between Compassion, Empathy, and Pity | Berry Personal #21

Monday, May 23
Under pressure, precious things can break and how we feel is hard to fake...
The first draft for this post started off gloomy, uninspiring, with a dash of... sadness, so I decided to scrap it and start all over. I know everyone goes through a TON of hardships during their lifespan, and I'm sure this year alone has been a rocky for everyone, but the other day I witnessed something that I couldn't ignore any longer.

You see, a few days ago I was watching a YouTube video featuring a vlogger I adored. In the video she was addressing some really personal topics because she felt she owed it to her viewers to be open with her dating life. The video started off like her casual ones but took an unexpected turn when she started talking about this heart breaking topic. And sure, she put herself in a vulnerable position, but that wasn't the sad part about this particular video. The sad part was the thousands of mean spirited.. and dare I say it.. cruel.. comments people were spamming the comment section with. Some of the comments literally made me feel like I was getting punched in the stomach and the comments weren't even directed towards me! Sometimes I don't know how YouTubers can take it, but later that day I read a Quora post that made everything click. We all go through pain and suffering but most of us don't show compassion towards the people who are suffering. Instead we tend to judge, or pitty them and that's what makes being open online very difficult. Maybe... just maybe, if we  tried our best to learn the art of compassion the online community will be a better place.

Have you ever experienced a moment when you wish someone would say "You know what, I care about your problem and I'm going to take time out of my day to listen to what you are saying so we can fix it"? Sure, you might not want them to say it exactly like that, but it's natural to want someone to understand you. Its how humans communicate on a intimate level and connecting on this level creates a instant connection. The only problem is that we, aka you and I, aka human beings, are decreasing our compassion levels and increasing on instant judgment. When I use the term instant judgement I'm talking about when we see someone react to a problem differently (from what we would have) and we judge them instead of trying to put ourselves in their situation with their unique mindset. If you're guilty of doing this you're not alone because I use to do it as well. But what if we stopped criticizing, condemning, complaining; and started to express use the other C word. No not that one, hehe, the nice one. Compassion.

You see, there's a difference between compassion, empathy, and pity. For the most part when we hear someones problems we tend to pity them, or show empathy towards their unique situation. But have you ever wondered what the world be like if we were all compassionate? Compassion is something you have to learn and practice. It's a skill. While pity/empathy is in human nature (*coughs* not unless your a psychopath *coughs*, but let's save that for another post). Here's a how a wonderful lady, named Diane Meriwether, said it in a Quora post:


 Until compassion develops, we understand other people's suffering on a numeric scale.  Here's an example:
Pity: This feeling happens when observed suffering is greater than the observer's depth.  For example, someone who is quite shallow (say they have a depth of five) will have no way to sympathize with someone experiencing a 200 loss.  Instead they will feel distant and different from the sufferer who in turn feels isolated and pathetic in their presence. 
Empathy: As depth increases someone may experience empathy instead of pity. Empathy allows us to remember an equivalent amount of suffering inside ourselves.   If an empathetic person sees someone suffering at say 100 (a broken heart)  they remember what 100 feels like to them and use this to resonate with the sufferer.  An empathetic person who sees someone suffering at one often decides that one is not worth suffering over and may say something like "get over it."  
Compassion: But compassion is a ratio, based on capacity.  A compassionate person looks at the sufferer and resonates with how filled with pain they are.  So when a great soul (with a depth of 100,000) feels compassion for the distressed prom queen (with a depth of 5), they don't experience 1 out a possible 100,000 - what they feel is 20%.  They have no problem sitting on the bench in the bathroom with their arm around her as she sobs.  The compassionate person does not remember a 20,000 pain, they experience it anew.  This works to further deepen them in a way that empathy does not.  Which is to say,  the more compassionate a person is, the more they suffer for others but the less they suffer from what happens to themselves. 

Now I'm not saying go around and be a Positive Patty (Lol, the distant cousin of Negative Nancy), but the next time someone opens themselves up to expresses a sucky situation show them compassion instead of judgement. I know, I know, it's going to feel weird at first, especially if the person is a stranger or someone you don't like. But think about it like this: What if that person had no one else to turn to and it just so happens you can provide them with  the proper guidance they're searching for. Who knows you two could become friends, or even better, they could show you some compassion down the road. All I'm saying is that in the WORST case scenario you're going to walk away with an amazing feeling in your heart because you helped build someone up instead of tearing them down.  It's going to take some time to learn this skill, but once you learn it you'll never forget it. And from now on its going to help bring a smile to to someone's face because they found something special, someone who truly cares and that "someone" just so happens to be you!

xx B.Stylish


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