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Empathy (narrowly FEELING another's pain) prompts us to care deeply about a dozen Thai kids trapped in a cave...#good. Compassion (love, understanding, & concern in the face of suffering) causes us to care about them AND the tragic flooding of 1000's in Japan...#better (cont.)
Empathy shines a narrow spotlight on the few, and can cause us to overreact and act short-term to relieve pain. You can't empathize with 100's or with a statistical abstraction like massive flooding. You empathize with one story at a time, and you FEEL it personally. (cont.)
Compassion involves understanding, concern, and love in response to suffering wherever it's found. You don't assume the suffering as your own, but you act sustainably to try and relieve it. This may involve "tough love..." say, with addiction (cont.)
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