As a society, we have faced much grief over the last few years. When in the mode of navigating care for ourselves or others, we often run into misconceptions about what we should or shouldn’t do.

Often, the confusing part is actually clarifying the differences between empathy and sympathy. An online search reveals that “Empathy involves feeling what someone else feels, while sympathy doesn’t. Sympathy, instead, involves understanding someone else’s emotions, but from your own perspective.” Both are beautiful and healing for different reasons.

But there is a raw beauty in empathy. It’s not about us trying to relate from our own lens, but rather, by stepping into the space or fear with the other person, hearing where they are coming from and connecting to that.

When stepping into other’s grief or brokenness, it’s tempting to try to be optimistic and uplifting, and to start problem-solving. But what most of us need in times of sadness or grief is to feel heard, feel love and feel we are not alone. The gift of connection is healing.

Check out professor, author and podcast host Brené Brown’s “Empathy vs Sympathy and the Power of Connection” on YouTube.

Facilitated by KOKUA MAU (nonprofit)
808-585-9977 |
Learn more about grief and the healing process: Help For The Bereaved—The Healing Journey (