A Note on Empathy and Compassion

Emotional intelligence and co-feeling

There are two distinct aspects of empathy:

  1. noticing and understanding feelings (your own and in others)
  2. feeling what the other person feels, co-feeling

I believe understanding feelings is almost always useful while co-feeling is not necessary for compassion and can sometimes lead to stupid or unethical decisions“.


Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.”

The following video does not differentiate understanding and co-feeling but shows a good and a bad way to help someone in a bad situation: