October 6, 2016

9 Sympathy Quotes That Will Help You Understand Yourself And Others Better

I find that a lot of people are looking for sympathy quotes for the loss of someone or something to help their friends, family or themselves feel better. It’s a great way to work through a painful time. But, I think it’s equally important to understand what sympathy is, what it does for us, and how to show it properly. That’s why these 9 sympathy quotes are so important. They highlight what sympathy is and the importance it has in your life and this world.

1. The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy

“Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.” – Dr. Brene Brown

If you think that sympathy and empathy are the same thing, then this is one of the sympathy quotes that makes it crystal clear that they are not. But, despite what it looks like, I don’t think that being sympathetic is a bad thing. Not in the slightest!

Being sympathetic means that you feel bad for someone else and what they are going through, but you do not get overwhelmed by someone else’s feelings and situation, which is what happens when you are empathetic.

I experience empathy quite a bit. I often cry at the misfortunes of other people and feel their pain, which is being empathetic, but it freezes me from being able to do something for them because I’m so caught up in the feelings that they are caught up in. It’s almost as if I am going through what they are going through, and it’s hard to think clearly and take action when you are in that state.

Someone who is sympathetic doesn’t feel overwhelmed by emotions, so they can take action to help that person if it is possible. They can help them find the silver lining, or they can find it themselves, and take action for someone when they are not able to.

For instance, a natural disaster requires sympathetic people. People who feel bad for the situation, but don’t get dragged down by the intensity of it, can see what needs to be done to help. They can quickly contribute on a big scale to help people.

That said, I think empathy is important for relationships where a connection is necessary. Sympathy promotes a response from you, but it doesn’t necessarily make the person talking to you feel better. Your response may be frustrating and hurtful rather than helpful. Your actions may be more annoying rather than beneficial. But when you are empathetic with someone close to you, you resonate with them, hug them, and listen to them. You empathize with their pain, and in doing so, your connection gets stronger.

2. How Every Sympathetic Person Feels About Cruel People

“It’s sickening to me the lack of compassion and sympathy that some people have for others” – Ricky Smith

We are connected to people like never before, and it gives us a lot of chances to be sympathetic to what is going on in their lives. Those of us who understand what others are going through and feel bad for them don’t do anything to harm other people. We don’t leave mean comments. We don’t make fun of people. We may interact with the person letting them know we understand and care, but we don’t take the time to make them feel worse.

Unfortunately, there is a ton of people who are not sympathetic to others who are in distress. They are rude, hurtful, and downright disgusting to others. They go out of their way to make people who are suffering suffer some more.

Coming from the perspective of sympathy, it’s hard to see why these people do what they do. We can’t sympathize with their need to spread hate, fear, or anger, and that’s because we can’t relate to them. Our brains just don’t work that way, thankfully.

3. Sometimes It’s Hard To Have Sympathy For Someone

“I’ll always have more sympathy for someone taken in by a snake oil salesman than I will for someone who helps him sell the snake oil.” – Ben Howe

People who have sympathy at appropriate times are not always sympathetic. There are some things and people they just can’t sympathize with, such as a cruel person or a person with a huge victim mentality.

For instance, a friend of mine has a mother-in-law who lives with a victim mentality. At first, he sympathized with her pain. He saw where she was coming from. He tried to help her feel better. But, after ten years of her whining and being a victim in life, he couldn’t sympathize with her anymore. He saw the ‘real’ her. The one who wouldn’t take action. The one who lied and manipulated people to feel bad for her. The one who thrives off the negative attention rather than positive attention. Even though it was clear she was still in pain – it was a pain that she had created for herself, and he lost his ability to understand and try to comfort her.

Another example of when it’s hard to have sympathy for someone is when they choose to put themselves in the way of trouble.

For instance, Michelle Obama recently said to Stephen Colbert that she doesn’t have sympathy for the pressures that Melanie Trump is facing because this is what you take on when you choose to support your husband for president.

That is an interesting point. When someone knows that they are putting themselves into a path of ridicule or hate or problems, do they deserve sympathy? I think it depends on how you feel about them, how you relate to them, and what they do. If they do stupid things, like copy a speech or support someone who is spreading hate, then – for most people – it’s going to be hard to be sympathetic to their pain.

4. And Sometimes It’s Really Easy To Have Sympathy For Someone

“I think we feel this sympathy for her because she’s the woman scorned.” – Paula Feris on Jennifer Aniston

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced their divorce, I saw very little sympathy for them on social media. Everyone was celebrating for Jennifer Aniston. Why? Because most of us remember when Brad Pitt left her for Angelina Jolie and we had sympathy for her during that time.

We didn’t lose that sympathy. We maintained it throughout the years, so when the relationship born from her pain ended, we sympathized with Jennifer Aniston’s feelings more than the people who were actually in pain at the moment!

There are just some things that many of us can relate to, and I think that’s what stirs up our sympathy meter. Painful breakups, the loss of a loved one, a natural disaster taking a home or a life, or someone being abused are all things we can relate to. We have either experienced these situations or had someone close to us experience them, so it’s hard not to relate to a person going through them.

5. How And Why To Listen Sympathetically To Kids

“You don’t need to come up with a solution. You just need to let them spit it out and the whole thing will be over. And the mileage you get with doing that with a child is incredible.” – Dr. Thomas Phelan on sympathetic listening

This is one of those great sympathy quotes that every parent or person around children should read, memorize, and take to heart. It’s a great way to help raise a generation of sympathetic and compassionate people. Moreover, it gives you more chances to be sympathetic with them when they turn into teens or adults.

Dr. Thomas Phelan says that if you are able to listen to children, despite how badly you want to correct them on how they ‘should’ feel, you are able to earn their trust and let them work through their problems. Moreover, you are able to teach them the value of listening and being sympathetic rather than trying to inject their opinion into other people’s problems and concerns all the time.

Kids who have sympathetic parents will grow up more willing to confide in them. This is beneficial for both the kid and the parent. Secrets are often what end up in resulting in big problems and teenagers putting themselves into dangerous situations or being unwilling to seek help when they truly need it.

6. What Happens To Some People Who Don’t Get A Lot Of Sympathy?

“They think their life is boring and so they’re not getting payoffs. They’re not getting attention, affection, sympathy, praise.” – Dr. Phil on why people lie

Perhaps my friend’s mother-in-law didn’t get a lot of sympathy from her parents. Her dad was a drunk and her mom was distant. Maybe that’s why she’s resorted to manipulation and a victim state of being. It does seem to earn her a lot of attention, which seems to make her happy in the moment. And since she’s not a very aware person, she may not realize that there are better ways to get attention. She may not even realize what she is doing to get attention. She may just be trying to make her life more interesting on a subconscious level.

All she is really doing, though, is pushing everyone away. She has lost family, friends, and even her kids are having a hard time dealing with her. She is making her life more miserable because she is so focused on how miserable her life is.

Moreover, she is not getting a lot of sympathy anymore, which I’m sure is frustrating for her. A lot of people would say that you get what you believe. Therefore, her believing that there is a lack of sympathy in her life may actually be creating it!

In short, people who believe that they are not getting a lot of sympathy in life, and feel that they deserve it, will do things that don’t pay off for their happiness, health, or relationships.

7. Why You May Want To Induce Sympathy From Big Crowds

“A crowd always thinks with its sympathy, never with its reason.” – William R. Alger

Obviously seeking sympathy can be detrimental to your relationships. But, as this sympathy quote points out, winning over a crowd may require you to get their sympathy. It’s a much better strategy than getting a crowd to hate you, be jealous of you, disengage with you, or be bored of you.

This doesn’t mean that you should play with a crowd’s feelings. It just means you should relate, be personable, and share stories that help people understand where you are coming from and why you are acting the way you are and why you are doing and saying the things you are saying or doing.

For instance, one of the vloggers I watch constantly says things that are ridiculous. She offends people. She makes herself look dumb. And she gets into emotional rants. But, she has a knack for fixing everything by making her followers sympathize with her. She can explain why she does what she does, and she can explain it well. She shares stories. She shares her personal thoughts. And despite her ridiculous behavior, she gets her audience to understand where she is coming from.

If she can do it, you can do it! If you are a blogger, vlogger, boss, social media personality, rising star, host, or someone else in front of a lot of people, then you may want to try to induce sympathy with your audience, when it counts, to help you relate to them and win them over.

8. How To Become More Sympathetic

“In any business, the more you learn, the more sympathetic you can be to other people’s positions.” – Peter Asher

If you’re not feeling very sympathetic right now, and you want to be more sympathetic, there is one big way to do so. Learn. Learn all you can about everything.

This sympathy quote applies to much more than just business. If you learn more about relationships, mental health, how the opposite sex thinks and feels, or how people deal with tragedy, you will become more sympathetic to others.

Moreover, if you learn about different cultures and how they relate to each other, what they believe, and what rituals they hold dear, you will be more sympathetic to others.

The more you learn, the more you will relate.

I’ve found that educating myself on a wide variety of topics helps me keep my mouth shut when I shouldn’t be opening it. It helps me avoid saying things that I could regret later on because of ignorance. Why? I can’t count the number of times I’ve learned something that helped me see a situation or a person in a different light, and I instantly regretted things I said or done when I didn’t have that knowledge. I don’t want to feel that regret anymore, so if I don’t have all the facts or if I’m not educated on a topic that is frustrating me, I choose to keep quiet until I can learn more and can form a valid opinion. And, usually, I end up feeling sympathy for the situation or person that I didn’t feel before.

9. An Important Thing To Remember About Sympathy

“You can show sympathy and empathy, but you just can’t really understand.” – DJ Steph Floss

This is one of the most important sympathy quotes, in my opinion. You can have sympathy, but you can’t really understand where someone is coming from. Not even if you have gone through a similar situation. Why? Because they have different perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs than you do.

They also have had different experiences which makes their current situation a little bit different than anything you have gone through. You may resonate with their fear or anger, but you can’t pretend to understand exactly how they are feeling.

Therefore, you shouldn’t tell them how they are feeling because you don’t know. You should tell others how someone else is feeling, because you don’t know. You don’t know anyone’s inner thoughts, what they think and do when you are not around, or how their mind and body is reacting to a situation, so don’t pretend you do. Remembering this will help you build stronger relationships with people and be more helpful in their unique situations.

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