Dr Brené Brown describes the difference between empathy and sympathy...
If you have heard any of these following phrases:
"At least they are no longer suffering"
"At least you are in good health"
"At least you got that time with them"
"At least you still have a home"
You have probably experienced intense feelings of grief after a loss or encountered other challenging and distressing times in your life. Sometimes people don't know what to say or with good intention want to relieve someone else's distress.
However, sympathetic responses like this whereby a person tries to point out the positive in someones individual grief experience can in fact minimise the person's grief responses.
Empathic responses can include listening wholeheartedly, validating and holding the space for the person to express their thoughts and feelings with you, without judgement and with compassion.