Difference Between Compassion & Empathy – Pros & Cons

People used to think that empathy and compassion are ordinary topics of discussion for elderly people, social workers, monks, and church priests. We all know their significance in our lives. In fact, they’re the center of attention for the world’s leading businesses and companies. Today, we’ll discuss the difference between compassion & empathy; their pros and cons, and the significance of practicing both in our lives.

What is Compassion? 

Compassion is such a state when you truly understand the feelings of the other person and want to take certain action on their behalf. For instance, if someone drops their shopping basket on the ground, and you assist them by picking up the groceries. Every small gesture of kindness helps you to balance out the negative action in your life.

Compassion implies that you put yourself in the shoes of the other person. It’s probable that people help out other people for their own practical reason without having any real feelings for them.

Compassion has deep roots in helping others who are suffering and admiring other human beings. The gesture and act don’t have to be big like selling your house and becoming a social worker. It could also be in the form of taking a moment to listen to your colleague, helping your friend to move to a new place, being polite to the shopkeeper, and giving a seat to the pregnant lady.

A compassionate act could be in any form like putting a smile on someone’s face and boosting motivation level at the right place. The object is to reduce the suffering of others.

Pros & Cons of Compassion 

The key difference between compassion and empathy is that you take real steps and actions in compassion, and it’s the main advantage over empathy. It allows you to lower the stress, anxiety, and depression level, and it offers you many other benefits like improving your self-esteem and confidence level.

When you’re overly compassionate, then it results in the form of compassion fatigue. Usually, professions like caregivers and nursing experience such fatigue. Some of its physical symptoms are disconnecting from reality, aggression, difficulty focusing, depression, and anxiety.

The other disadvantage of compassion is that it’s very simple and easy to become compassionate. Being compassionate means doing your best for others, and it is difficult to do so. In reality, we do what is good and nice rather than doing compassionate acts. Usually, people develop bad habits because they surround themselves with such people who aren’t good for them and they stop them from their personal growth and development. It brings more pain and suffering rather than any type of benefit.

What is Empathy? 

Empathy and compassion may seem similar, but they’ve got great differences. However, empathy is a state of awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people and trying to comprehend how they feel. It’s the process of comprehending the shared humanity and putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. Compassion is the other dimension where you want to help the other person.

The roots of empathy are in our instinct, body, and brain. It stirs up our desire to comprehend the emotions of others. However, psychologists usually it cognitive empathy, and it’s good for establishing your personal relationships and your physical and mental health.

Pros & Cons of Empathy 

It’s difficult to ignore our personal human biases and prejudices. But the idea behind empathy is the feelings of oneness and the pains of others, and it makes you feel good about being a human being.

The pain and suffering are the same, when the natural disaster hits or any other type of natural calamity occurs, then we feel the displacement of strangers. Even then relationship changes our emotional response, and it’s not the same for everyone.

Empathy isn’t possible in the long term, because when you’re feeling exhausted and burnout, then you can’t give your best and boost the morale and motivation of others.

Research studies in psychology and neuroscience showed that empathy makes a person cruel, tribal, and biased. Studies have suggested that even the best-intentioned empathy isn’t neutral, instead of developing and proliferating our relationships, it jeopardizes them.

Empathy could make you unconscious and sympathetic toward the people that you can relate to. It becomes difficult for you to connect with people that are different and don’t reflect your ideological views.

Significance of Practicing both Empathy & Compassion 

Practicing both empathy and compassion plays a significant role in our lives and the workplace. We need both of these elements, they can either help us or hurt us. However, empathy is a very powerful instinct of human beings, if you leave it unchecked, then it would turn against you. Compassion is like an ignition that compels us to do something and take steps when we see the pain and sufferings of others. You would forget to take care of your personal needs when you overthink about others.

Therefore, you should practice both of these elements in a proper balance. If you want to become a better leader, then they both would help you to do so. Empathy allows you to establish trust and rapport with others in the society and workplace. Compassion would help you to impartially deal with the behavior of your team to meet the objectives by helping out the team members when they’re facing challenges.

Conclusion: Difference Between Compassion & Empathy – Pros & Cons 

After an in-depth study of the difference between compassion and empathy; we’ve realized that they play a significant role in our lives. The key is when you practice them in a proper balance, and they would help you in various ways.