The Power of Empathy
We all know how crucial empathy is. But how do you know when you're being empathetic instead of just sympathetic? And how do we get from that judgy, snarky, self-protective place we all live in and find the right response? It turns out there is no right response. There are a lot of wrong ones. But mostly it's just about being willing to go there instead of distancing yourself from the pain. Because it's not the words that make someone feel understood, it's the human connection. Simply explained, gorgeously animated, this video could change your life, one empathetic response at a time.
To me, this video gave the impression that “sympathy” was the same as “being a jerk” which seems rather shallow.
I also feel that the “I don’t know what to say, but thanks for telling me.” response might work for some people, but I imagine that a lot of others would be rather frustrated or even hurt by such a response. After all, it’s perfectly possible that what they want is help and advice, not just people telling them how good it is to talk about ones problems.
And that is where the strength of sympathy lies. You might not necessarily share the suffering, but you have an understanding of it, you switch the viewpoint and are driven to help. That is not at all the same as putting a silver lining on things, as the latter displays a clear lack of understanding of the suffering.
Not to mention that this video implies that empathy is only possible if you are able to share someone’s suffering. Obviously, that does not apply to everyone and as this video also paints sympathy as bad, people who have not themselves experienced “what’s it like down [there]” might instead be driven to not try to help at all.
This video gives the impression that sympathy is bad. Just because someone does not understand, they should leave the sufferer alone? Well, yes if it causes more suffering, but that can also happen with empathy; as the sufferer may see it as pity.
On another forum, someone pointed it out, that ruling out sympathy makes autistic people’s attempts at caring bad.
I can’t help but think this video has the potential to make it worse for sufferers and those who do not understand, but still care.