Empathy versus Sympathy

by Dawn Billings, founder of RelationshipHelp.com

Sympathy involves understanding from your own perspective. Empathy involves putting yourself in the other person's shoes and understanding WHY they may have these particular feelings. In becoming aware of the root cause of why a person feels the way they do, we can better understand and relate to a person in their particular situation.


Empathy is stronger than sympathy. It goes beyond feeling compassion for their loss. It is the ability to put yourself in the place of another and understand someone else's feelings by identifying with them.


Each of the six color personality tendencies experience empathy and sympathy at greater or lesser levels. See the image below.

People with strong purple color personality tendencies struggle with sympathy and empathy. They do not care as much about feelings as they do results. Instead of imagining how you are feeling, they want to imagine how to best solve the problem at hand.


People with strong red color personality tendencies have little time for sympathy or empathy. They are more likely to respond to an emotional crisis with "That's life." Or "Suck it up. It happens to all of us at some time or another." Or "Snap out of it." They do not like weakness and believe that if you allow your feelings to control or dominate you, it is definitely a sign of weakness.


People with strong blue color personality tendencies are slightly above red tendencies on the empathy and sympathy spiral because they are curious. They at least want to understand how and why things work the way they do, therefore, when they believe that empathy is an important component of emotional intelligence, and they respect all intelligence, they are curious about how having empathy for another will enhance their emotional intelligence.


As we move up the empathy and sympathy spiral, people with orange color personality tendencies are next. People with orange color personality tendencies can be empathetic, especially when it is to their benefit. They like and want attention and if being empathetic gets them more of what they want, so be it.


The next color personality tendency on the empathy and sympathy spiral is green. People with strong green color personality tendencies can be most empathetic. They use both their heads to imagine and their hearts to feel what another person might be experiencing. They want to understand. They also want to help in any way they can.


The top of our empathy and sympathy spiral is the personality color tendency yellow. This is the most sympathetic of all the personality tendencies. They believe that each individual and their feelings are important. Because people with yellow color personality tendencies believe that relationships are the most important treasure that exists in the world, they are great listeners and great listeners always tend to be more empathetic and sympathetic.

Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the executive director of the luxury RelationshipHelpResort.com in Arizona where she holds couple's therapy intensives to help heal and strengthen broken relationships. Dawn is the founder of RelationshipHelp.com and author of the ONLINE relationship help programs called Relationship Help At Home.

Dawn is also the author and architect of the Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and Insight Tools