E is for Empathy

E is for Empathy

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

Empathy is NOT the same thing as hypochondria. Hypochondria is the OBSESSION with the IDEA of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition. Empathetic people actually have the ability to share in the emotional and physical pain of another person where as a hypochondriac believes he has a condition all his own. The two are easy to confuse if you don't know a person well enough.

My hubby's name should be listed along with the synonyms of empathy. He will take on my pain as his own more often than not. If I'm having a bad pain day and share this with him, he will go from happy-go-lucky to down in the dumps with physical and mental pain of his own in a matter of minutes. If you know him, you know this too. It's for reals man!

I see this as an incredible gift and at the same time I think it can be a curse too. When I was in the hospital, he was absolutely miserable for me. I am blessed because he totally gets what I'm going through, he understands, he feels it quite literally. This is also when I think his life might be easier with out this trait. I find that I try to protect him by not letting him know every time I feel bad. I want to protect him just as much as he wants to protect me. 

Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing either. Sympathy is having feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune. It can also be defined as the understanding between people, a common feeling.  For example: 

Sympathy is a wonderful and important trait as well. It's often what we feel when someone we know loses a loved one or suffers loss of any kind. With out either of these characteristics, friendships would be very hard to maintain. 


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