Compassion vs. Empathy and Sympathy

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On March 31, 2023

One of the things that sets Reynolds Defense Firm apart from other DUI law firms, and the reason we’re so successful at what we do, is the sincere compassion we have for every single person who calls our office looking for help. And you don’t have to take our word for it, you can review our client testimonials and see how often clients mention the word.

When you hear people talk about compassion, it often means different things to different folks. Because compassion makes up so much of who we are, as individuals and a business, we want to take the time to explain what it means to our team.

What is compassion?

Compassion is considered a feeling or attitude. And empathy and sympathy are two words used synonymously with compassion. But although the three words are often used interchangeably, they do in fact have very different meanings. They all represent unselfish traits, but they don’t refer to the exact same experience. The three words represent a feeling or attitude towards the suffering of others – a single quality. But when someone acts out of compassion, something else happens. In addition to acknowledging or understanding what another is feeling, showing compassion means taking action to help.

Harvard Business Review provides a great example to help visually distinguish compassion from the similar experiences of empathy, sympathy. In short, sympathy is largely used to convey commiseration or feelings of sorrow for someone else who is experiencing misfortune. Empathy is the capacity or ability to imagine yourself in that person’s situation. It’s feeling with the person, and we experience the same emotions, ideas, or opinions as them. With compassion, we have a good understanding of what the other person is experiencing, and we have a willingness to act.

Two-Step Process

Empathy helps to make the other person feel less lonely in their experience, creating a connection. Empathy is an important first step to helping someone through tragedy. But the action piece, the important next step to truly help the other person, is to assist them in finding clarity about what they need to move forward. We need to remove ourselves from emotion to think objectively and figure out what we can do to support them. And that is exactly what Reynolds Defense Firm does. Part of why our clients hire us is both our ability to understand their immediate circumstance and our capacity to help them figure out their big picture.  We know that the best way to set our clients up for success is to not only support them, but to also empower them.

Call us today

If you’ve been arrested for DUI (DUII) it’s important to speak with a specialized DUI team, like Reynolds Defense Firm. We have over 100 years of combined experience in Oregon’s DUI laws. Call us today, at 503-496-7558, or visit our website for more ways to contact us.  We’re solid, we’re here if you need us, and we are very good at what we do.

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