Friday, January 6, 2012

Which one are you?

The English language is full of fun. I love it, and love how many words that we have to choose from. I am glad, though, that I didn't learn it as a second language. Woa. And punctuation? Yes, it matters. Consider these examples. Same arrangement of words, but the COMMA makes allllll the difference. Especially to a certain someone:

Let's eat Gramma!
Let's eat, Gramma!


But that isn't why i am writing today. Here's why, actually. There are two words that are often used in ways that the person speaking doesn't intend (okok, YES, there are THOUSANDS, but...) to use them.
Sympathy and Empathy. More precisely, sympathetic and empathetic. Which one are you? I recently heard another nurse use empathetic correctly when talking to a patient, and I congratulated him, saying that the misuse of the word is one of my pet-peeves. He had this to say:

"When I was younger, and i'll never forget this, my uncle explained it to me this way: 'Imagine you are in a canoe with another person. Suddenly they fall into the water and begin so sink, as they can't swim. If you jump into the water to help them, knowing that you can't swim either, you are being Empathetic. If you sit in the canoe and toss them something that floats, you are being Sympathetic.'"

So I ask us, which one are you? When your friends come to you with a problem, either IRL or online, which one are you? Do you dive in with them and actually DO the extra workouts, eat better, and continue to offer support, or do you just sit back and tell them that they should be working out harder, and eating better?

This year, I will endeavor to be more empathetic.

Join me?

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