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This is a question that I am often asked as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Asheville.  It was in my graduate studies at John F. Kennedy University when I first realized the importance of being able to differentiate between these two very different ways of being with others. I recall my teachers emphasizing that while ‘sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else, empathy is actually feeling what the other person is feeling,’ or ‘a willingness to feel with someone else.’

This morning, I came across this great animated video featuring Dr. Brene Brown that truly clarifies and explains the difference between empathy and sympathy, and as some have already asserted, it may very well make you a better person. Watch and judge for yourself:

Rachael Chatham – LPC Asheville