The main difference between pity and compassion is that pity highlights feeling sorry for the predicament of the other whereas compassion highlights a feeling of sympathy and a need to help the other.
Pity and compassion are human emotions that emphasise kindness and sympathy towards others. Thus, they showcase values of humanity. Though they are similar, pity has a certain negativity since it involves feelings of condescension whereas compassion does not.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Pity
– Definition, Nature, Significance
2. What is Compassion
– Definition, Nature, Significance
3. What are the Similarities Between Pity and Compassion
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Pity and Compassion
– Comparison of Key Differences
Compassion, Feelings, Emotions, Pity, Humanity
What is Pity
Pity basically means to feel sorry and sad after seeing someone’s misery and suffering. However, to feel pity one should not need to have a proper understanding of the other person’s circumstances. You can pity someone by simply seeing their desolation and misery.
Moreover, the feeling of pity has a sense of condescension and disdain where you tend to think of the miserable person as in a level below you; therefore pity does not involve any feeling of empathy. Thus, this goes in contrast to the feeling of sympathy.
Likewise, the feeling pity for someone also emphasizes that you feel yourself in a level above that one and that you only feel sorry for their misery and their troubles, but you do not any step further to alleviate their life condition by helping them. For instance, think of a situation where you feel pity for a beggar or a helpless animal. You only feel sorry, but you do not take a step further to change the predicament of their lives.
What is Compassion
Compassion refers to the sympathetic feeling and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Consequently, you have a need to help the other, along with the feeling of empathy. Thus, unlike just a feeling pity you, will take a step forward and will lend a helping hand to improve the life condition of the other.
Moreover, compassion does not come with a feeling of condescension or disdain, unlike pity. As a result, you will see them at the same level as you, but suffering from misery and helplessness. Therefore, instead of just feeling sorry; you will try to help them to overcome their misery in life.
Thus, having compassion for someone can lead to feeling empathy for another person or vice versa. Similarly, once you have the compassion for someone, you will try to share their grief by deciding to share their sorrows with you. Hence, compassion involves feelings of caring and empathy for the other person.
Similarities Between Pity and Compassion
- Pity and compassion highlight a sense of concern for the other.
- Also, both indicate a feeling of sadness and sorrow for the other.
Difference Between Pity and Compassion
Pity refers to the feeling of sorrow for another’s misery or troubles in life. Compassion refers to the feeling of sympathy and the need to help the other one to alleviate their living conditions. Hence, these definitions give a bit of an inside into the difference between pity and compassion.
Expanding the above further, pity does not indicate a feeling of empathy whereas compassion has a feeling of empathy, which encourages to help the other person to overcome their suffering. Therefore, this is the main difference between pity and compassion.
Moreover, pity only concerns feeling sorry whereas compassion involves the need to help the other person to overcome misery.
Sense of Condescension
The sense of condescension is another major difference between pity and compassion. Pity is necessarily followed by a sense of condescension whereas there is no sense of condescension in compassion, where you see the other person on the same level as you
Pity and compassion are feeling that show human values. They are both necessary feelings that will help to ensure the sense of humanity in the world. However, pity involves feelings of condescension whereas compassion does not. Thus, the main difference between pity and compassion is that pity highlights feeling sorry for the predicament of the other whereas compassion highlights a feeling of sympathy and a need to help the other.