I've been having what I call issues with my work load and final semester of school. It is hard to find someone who can understand my troubles. I spoke to my mom and my husband about it, but I didn't feel better. I guess I wanted empathy, not sympathy. Plenty of people can sympathize, but few can empathize. How many young women do I know who have recently gone through a master's program in mathematics? I know one woman who recently received her master's, and a few who semi-recently received doctorates, all of whom live in Kentucky. I spoke with my one math friend yesterday and I feel a bit better.
I've been reading more blogs lately so I feel like I have been exposed to a lot of personal, touching stories about the lives of relative strangers. Many of these stories are traumatic and I know I can't relate - so I don't pretend I understand. Sometimes I try to leave encouraging comments, something relevant - I offer sympathy since I cannot offer empathy. Most of the time I feel like I might cheapen the post by leaving a comment so I don't write anything.
Which is best: Empathy, Sympathy, or Silence?
I dare to say empathy, although hoping for empathy presents a conundrum: If I have been through a tragedy, and I hope for empathy, then am I hoping others have suffered as well? Misery loves company and all that.
Which is better when empathy isn't an option: Sympathy or Silence?