Sympathy is an extension of empathic concern, or the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being. This empathic concern is driven by a switch in viewpoint, from a personal perspective to the perspective of another group or individual who is in need. Empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, but the two terms have distinct origins and meanings. Empathy refers to the understanding and sharing of a specific emotional state with another person. Sympathy does not require the sharing of the same emotional state. Instead, sympathy is a concern for the well-being of another. Although sympathy may begin with empathizing with the same emotion another person is feeling, sympathy can be extended to other emotional states.
Famous quotes containing the word sympathy:
“Self-pity dries up our sympathy for others.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)
“With each divine impulse the mind rends the thin rinds of the visible and finite, and comes out into eternity, and inspires and expires its air. It converses with truths that have always been spoken in the world, and becomes conscious of a closer sympathy with Zeno and Arrian, than with persons in the house.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.”
—Edward Gibbon (17371794)