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Empathy v Compassion


The compassion community has ongoing criticisms and attacks on empathy and trys to promote compassion as being better. 



Here are articles where compassion advocates attack empathy. 


Paul Bloom


Is Empathy Our Most Dangerous and Self-Indulgent Emotion?
Compassion has numerous health benefits and is inherently kinder than empathy.
Danny Penman 
 January 31, 2018
Neuroscience explains why.
Tara Well Ph.D. 
Mar 04, 2017


"The idea that there can actually be too much empathy can be traced back to early Buddhist teachings. Instead of focusing on empathy to the point of draining ourselves emotionally, Buddhism teaches the practice of compassion, called karuna. This is the idea of sharing in suffering, having concern for another, but essentially “feeling for and not feeling with the other.”"



DIFFERENTIATING COMPASSION FROM EMPATHY
Antonio T Fernando
"Compassion comes from the Latin roots com, which means ‘together with’, and pati, ‘to bear or suffer’.3 Compassion is built on the capacity to empathise — a form of cognitive and emotional perspective taking — but involves the additional step of wanting to alleviate suffering. 

The distinction  is important. An after-hours GP may recognize and feel the distress of a crying child having an asthma attack but, because he is now 30 minutes late in picking up his wife at the airport, rushes to the car park and lets colleagues manage the child. The family concerned might feel fobbed off and is unlikely to have experienced compassion as part of the clinical interchange. The doctor was empathetic but, technically, was not compassionate. 

Empathy without compassion is not only out of step with professional requirements but also is differentially likely to sustain negative emotional states (for example, distress), which may contribute to emotional fatigue and burnout. When confronted with intense suffering, shifting from empathy to compassion fosters positive emotions in the clinician rather than creating a situation in which empathetic misery results.  "



Compassion Is Better than Empathy
Empathic people feel the pain of others acutely. Is it possible to be too empathic? Could feeling too deeply for someone else’s pain or sorrow actually hurt you?    Indeed, too much empathy can be debilitating. When we become too distressed about the suffering of others, we don’t have the cognitive and emotional resources available to do much to help them.


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