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Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. It also can mean being affected by feelings or emotions. Thus the essence of sympathy is that one has a strong concern for the other person. Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person are deeply understood and appreciated by another person.

The psychological state of sympathy is closely linked with that of compassion, empathy and empathic concern. Although empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, a subtle variation in ordinary usage can be detected. To empathize is to respond to another's perceived emotional state by experiencing feelings of a similar sort.[1] Sympathy not only includes empathizing (but not always), but also entails having a positive regard or a non- fleeting concern for the other person.[2]

In common usage, sympathy is usually making known one's understanding of another's unhappiness or suffering, especially when it is grief.

Sympathy can also refer to being aware of other (positive) emotions as well.

In a broader sense, it can refer to the sharing of political or ideological sentiments, such as in the phrase "a communist sympathizer".

The word derives from the Greek συμπάθεια (sympatheia)[3], from σύν (syn) "together" and πάθος (pathos) "passion", in this case "suffering" (from πάσχω - pascho, "to be affected by, to suffer").

Contents

See also

References

  1. ^ Chismar, D. (1988). Empathy and sympathy: the important difference. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 22, 257-266.
  2. ^ Decety, J., & Batson, C.D. (2007). Social neuroscience approaches to interpersonal sensitivity. Social Neuroscience, 2(3-4), 151-157.
  3. ^ Sympatheia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus

Further reading

  • Decety, J. and Ickes, W. (Eds.) (2009). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge: MIT Press, Cambridge.
  • Decety, J. and Batson, C.D. (Eds.). Interpersonal Sensitivity: Entering Others' Worlds. Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Eisenberg, N., & Strayer, J. (1987). Empathy and its Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lamm, C., Batson, C.D., & Decety, J. (2007). The neural substrate of human empathy: effects of perspective-taking and cognitive appraisal. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 42-58.

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. It also can mean being affected by feelings or emotions. Thus the essence of sympathy is that one has a strong concern for the other person.

Sourced

  • Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is, humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions.
    • Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871), Ch. III : Comparison Of The Mental Powers Of Man And The Lower Animals; Concluding Remarks, p. 96.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The capacity of sorrow belongs to our grandeur, and the loftiest of our race are those who have had the profoundest sympathies, because they have had the profoundest sorrows.
  • We often do more good by our sympathy than by our labors. A man may lose position, influence, wealth, and even health, and yet live on in comfqrt, if with resignation; but there is one thing without which life becomes a burden—that is human sympathy.
    • Canon Farrar, p. 574.
  • Certain it is, that as nothing can better do it; so there is nothing greater, for which God made our tongues, next to reciting His praises, than to minister comfort to a weary soul.
  • There is poetry and there is beauty in real sympathy; but there is more — there is action. The noblest and most powerful form of sympathy is not merely the responsive tear, the echoed sigh, the answering look; it is the embodiment of the sentiment in actual help.
    • Octavius Winslow, p. 574.
  • I ask Thee for a thankful love,
    Through constant watching wise,
    To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
    And to wipe the weeping eyes,
    And a heart at leisure from itself,
    To soothe and sympathize.
    • Anna L. Waring, p. 575.

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Sympathy
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


Sympathy may refer to:


Simple English

Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person lead to similar feelings in another person so that they share feeling. Mostly sympathy means the sharing of unhappiness or suffering, but it can also mean sharing other (positive) emotions. In a broader sense, it can refer to the sharing of political or ideological sentiments, such as in the phrase "a communist sympathiser".

The psychological state of sympathy is closely linked with that of empathy, but is not identical to it. Empathy refers to the ability to perceive and directly experientially feel another person's emotions as they feel them, but makes no statement as to how they are viewed.

Sympathy, by contrast, implies a degree of equal feeling, that is, the sympathiser views the matter similarly to how the person themselves does. It thus implies concern, or care or a wish to reduce negative feelings others are experiencing.

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