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Life Coach Jenn A. Nocera on Sympathy, Empathy & Compassion

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Andrea Tarr

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Buddha says, Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. Sympathy is the heightened awareness of another’s plight such as I’m sorry for your loss. Empathy is the ability to step into the shoes of another person, attempting to understand their feelings and perspectives. Compassion goes a step further, where you first feel empathy and then a desire to help alleviate the suffering of another. Compassion is used to express the same feeling as empathy, but you have a desire to take action. Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified an empathy circuit in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. Evolutionary biologists have shown that humans are social animals who have naturally evolved to care for each other, like our primate cousins. Psychologists feel that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships in the first two years of life. Empathy is a topic for scientists, business leaders, educaters, and political activists. According to research, empathy is a habit we should cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives. The buzz stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to the side by evidence that we are also wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid. Join me and Life Coach Jenn A. Nocera as we discuss this topic. After the show, check out After Hours at Jersey Coastal Live.

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