Compassion is often conflated with empathy, but they are very different impulses. Empathy is the ability to feel and understand the state of mind of another. Compassion is feeling compelled to act on that recognition and to assist.
But empathy is not enough. It is only a step, albeit an important one, on the path to compassion. Paul Bloom’s masterful and compelling book, Against Empathy, offers scientific research that supports this claim.
Empathy requires effort; compassion demands action. Indeed, compassion is empathy in action. But there are still several important distinctions.
Empathy is subjective; compassion is objective. Empathy is exhausting; compassion is energizing. Empathy is most often singular; compassion is more often plural.
Empathy is the gateway; compassion is the way.
For your endeavor to be done with intention and integrity, compassion is required.
And like grace, you must extend compassion to yourself if you are to effectively and honestly extend it to others.
Let's keep flying higher together!
This is an excerpt from the book, Endeavor: Cultivate Excellence While Making a Difference.