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Folks Who Confuse These three Easy Phrases Have Very Low Emotional Intelligence

It is a story about three associated phrases that individuals usually confuse, to their detriment.

It is an comprehensible mistake in the event that they have not taken the time to review the variations, as a result of all three ideas typically fall below the umbrella of constructive emotions that individuals specific in response to the experiences of others.

Nonetheless, the refined variations turn out to be profound once you discover them–and doing so is an train that may assist folks enhance their ranges of emotional intelligence.

We’ll discover the three phrases under. They’re: empathy, sympathy, and pity.

Empathy

First, “empathy.” Let’s go together with the dictionary definition: “The power to know and share the sentiments of one other.”

The important thing for our current functions is that empathy entails an motion: actively making an attempt to expertise another person’s emotions or ideas. It is about attempting to “put your self in one other individual’s sneakers,” to be colloquial.

Empathy requires effort–sometimes, a heck of plenty of effort. We’ll see under how that is completely different from the opposite ideas, and why it issues.

Sympathy

Once more to the dictionary definition: “An affinity, affiliation, or relationship between individuals or issues whereby no matter impacts one equally impacts the opposite.”

The ideas of empathy and sympathy do have lots in frequent. However sympathy entails a extra computerized or involuntary affinity. Empathy, as we have seen, differs in that it entails a state of understanding reached by energetic effort.

For example, I would virtually routinely sympathize with the sentiments of somebody who grew up in the identical hometown that I did, and who has a life story that sounds just like mine.

However I must work more durable to empathize with somebody who lives in a special nation than I do, and who has had very completely different life experiences.

Pity

Our ultimate phrase is, “pity,” outlined as “The sensation of sorrow and compassion attributable to the struggling and misfortunes of others.”

The keys for us listed below are twofold: First, that the individual feeling pity does really feel something–but it is sorrow in response to the sentiments of others, not a shared emotional understanding of the opposite individual’s emotions.

(That is refined, however crucial–it’s like the truth that another person is chilly makes you are feeling sorry for them, however does not imply that you simply really really feel the chilly.)

Second, and associated: You can really feel pity with out sympathy. In reality, pity carries with it a connotation that you simply explicitly aren’t in the identical emotional place as one other individual. As a substitute, your place is larger than theirs.

The facility of semantics

Some may say, “Effectively, that is all simply semantics:”

What does it actually matter if somebody makes use of pity, empathy, and sympathy interchangeably, even when they’re technically completely different?

One cause to care is that separating the three ideas successfully is a brilliant and easy option to information your self towards actions and reactions that illustrate emotional intelligence.

For example, I’ve written earlier than that there is a well-meaning phrase that some folks use that’s really an indication of low emotional intelligence: “I understand how you are feeling.”

I suppose there are exceptions, however it’s normally very tough to really “know” how another person feels.

Instinctively, folks perceive this, even when they can not articulate it. That is why it may be wildly unsatisfying to specific your emotions to somebody, solely to have them reply with this phrase.

However individuals who have excessive ranges of emotional intelligence–or who’re working to extend their ranges of emotional intelligence–understand this, partly as a result of they perceive the differing ideas amongst these three phrases we have mentioned.

Fascinated with the variations may lead you to acknowledge that pity is unhelpful in a specific scenario, and sympathy is unlikely (when you do not really have shared experiences).

The one you are left with–the larger calling of empathy–will require effort. Which may lead you to reply to the individual you are coping with utilizing far more supportive, useful, and emotionally clever ideas.

Accomplished repeatedly, it might lead you to empathy, which greater than the opposite two ideas is a key milestone on the highway to creating deeper emotional intelligence.

Plus, you get the private satisfaction of understanding you’ve got used three associated phrases accurately. That is one thing I can simply sympathize with.

The opinions expressed right here by Inc.com columnists are their very own, not these of Inc.com.

This is a story about three related words that people often confuse, to their detriment.

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It's an understandable mistake if they haven't taken the time to study the differences, because all three concepts generally fall under the umbrella of positive feelings that people express in response to the experiences of others.

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Nevertheless, the subtle differences become profound when you explore them--and doing so is an exercise that can help people improve their levels of emotional intelligence.

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We'll explore the three words below. They are: empathy, sympathy, and pity.

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Empathy

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First, "empathy." Let's go with the dictionary definition: "The ability to understand and share the feelings of another."

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The key for our present purposes is that empathy involves an action: actively attempting to experience someone else's feelings or thoughts. It's about trying to "put yourself in another person's shoes," to be colloquial.

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Empathy requires effort--sometimes, a heck of a lot of effort. We'll see below how this is different from the other concepts, and why it matters.

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Sympathy

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Again to the dictionary definition: "An affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other."

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The concepts of empathy and sympathy do have a lot in common. But sympathy involves a more automatic or involuntary affinity. Empathy, as we've seen, differs in that it involves a state of understanding reached by active effort. 

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As an example, I might almost automatically sympathize with the feelings of someone who grew up in the same hometown that I did, and who has a life story that sounds similar to mine.

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But I would have to work harder to empathize with someone who lives in a different country than I do, and who has had very different life experiences.

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Pity

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Our final word is, "pity," defined as "The feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others."

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The keys for us here are twofold: First, that the person feeling pity does feel something--but it's sorrow in reaction to the feelings of others, not a shared emotional understanding of the other person's feelings.

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(That's subtle, but crucial--it's like the fact that someone else is cold makes you feel sorry for them, but doesn't suggest that you actually feel the cold.)

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Second, and related: You can feel pity without sympathy. In fact, pity carries with it a connotation that you explicitly aren't in the same emotional position as another person. Instead, your position is higher than theirs.

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The power of semantics

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Some might say, "Well, this is all just semantics:"

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What does it really matter if someone uses pity, empathy, and sympathy interchangeably, even if they're technically different?

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One reason to care is that separating the three concepts effectively is a smart and simple way to guide yourself toward actions and reactions that illustrate emotional intelligence.

n

As an example, I've written before that there's a well-meaning phrase that some people use that is actually a sign of low emotional intelligence: "I know how you feel."

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I suppose there are exceptions, but it is usually very difficult to truly "know" how someone else feels.

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Instinctively, people understand this, even if they can't articulate it. That's why it can be wildly unsatisfying to express your feelings to someone, only to have them reply with this phrase.

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But people who have high levels of emotional intelligence--or who are working to increase their levels of emotional intelligence--understand this, in part because they understand the differing concepts among these three words we've discussed.

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Thinking about the differences might lead you to recognize that pity is unhelpful in a particular situation, and sympathy is unlikely (if you don't truly have shared experiences).

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The one you're left with--the higher calling of empathy--will require effort. That might lead you to respond to the person you're dealing with using much more supportive, helpful, and emotionally intelligent concepts. 

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Done repeatedly, it can lead you to empathy, which more than the other two concepts is a key milestone on the road to developing deeper emotional intelligence.

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Plus, you get the personal satisfaction of knowing you've used three related words correctly. That's something I can easily sympathize with.

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