Sympathy – a Poison to the Body

In the last 8 months or so I have been looking at how sympathy has played out in my life, especially in my relationships with others.

But sympathy is a good thing, I hear you say with a puzzled look???

The more I unpack, feel, observe and be honest about how sympathy works its way in and through interactions, connections and relationships, the more I am understanding that sympathy is quite the opposite to what we have been sold and have believed it to be in life, and quite truthfully, how absolutely harming and poisoning it is for our bodies and for us to be in.

I feel people are deeply caring by nature but it seems we have somehow erroneously, perhaps irresponsibly, replaced understanding with sympathy.

For me, after the last few months, I see that true understanding comes from a place of observation, of care, of listening and most importantly, a space that offers true support and even evolution to take place. Understanding is confirming, yet sometimes it may not be what we always want to hear or feel. However, it usually comes with truth and love.

For myself, I see that I have used sympathy to avoid feeling what is happening around me with people I care for as a way of cushioning, or to make things better for the other. I now realise that the harm in this is that it doesn’t allow each person to feel what is going on for them, where they are at in-truth, to take responsibility for their part, or to work through and make change. Sympathy is also a kind of load from the other that we take on into our body, which is very difficult to heal and clear, and offers no evolution but keeps the other (and even ourselves) limited and exactly where they are.

As I have allowed myself to feel how I have used being in sympathy with family, with work relationships, with friends and so on, I have felt how it alters the quality of my being and the queasy residue that it has left in my body. I have also absolutely felt that there is nothing about sympathy that has served me or the other in-truth. When I have gone into sympathy with others, a part of me has taken on their issue or situation as a trying to ‘fix it’ for them or ‘save them’ from feeling the effects. Even though in the past I have thought I was helping by doing this, taking on another’s stuff is something that makes my body feel physically queasy (like sea or morning sickness), much like ingesting a food that I know is not good for me.

When we absorb another’s situation, circumstances or issues, we are taking that poison into our body, effectively ingesting it. I have learned that the person who creates or is part of the situation or issue is the person who actually knows how to undo it; even though outsiders may want to help, only the people involved can deal with it. Me being all of me and reading situations as they are and responding is the best and only true support I can give.

So with the awareness of these two words, sympathy and understanding. I am able to look at, in some detail, how and most importantly, why I have chosen sympathy over understanding. This is a big one for me and one that exposes how I have used and chosen sympathy in the past to not express, to hold back, to shut down, to not shine, to not stick out, to enjoin, to fit in, to not feel lonely, to not feel I am missing out and to not be shunned, rejected or disliked.

The reality is that it has all been at the expense of the one thing I (and we all) want most – Love. It’s been a way for me to avoid taking responsibility to reflect the love that I am, the pure heaven and divinity and all I am actually here and designed to reflect in just the uniqueness that only I can bring. It is with all these divinely designed, unique flavours, everyone playing their very needed role, that makes us all a one unified complete whole. I like to think of it as a spherical jigsaw puzzle – even one piece missing matters greatly.

Letting go of sympathy, has at times felt like ‘walking through mud’, as it has been on some levels quite ingrained and a repeated pattern and behaviour with people I have known for a long time.

What has supported me greatly in this process is developing a true quality that I can tangibly feel in my body and then marking how things, relationships, patterns and behaviours either do or don’t belong with that quality. I have connected to, developed and deepened, this known quality, my natural and true way of being through amazing supports such as allowing myself to surrender during Esoteric Yoga, Sacred Movement, the Gentle Breath Meditation and bringing presence to my daily activities such as walking and driving.

Today I define the truth of life from the known quality of love and truth that I have surrendered to, connected with and move with in my body. The more I honour myself in this way, the more I further appreciate the value of bringing understanding to relationships, and can see that there is no need to burdensomely hold the fort for others resulting in less and less place for the poison of sympathy to enter.

By Johanna Smith, Bachelor of Education (Major Special Needs, Minor Psychology), Graduate Certificate of Early Childhood, Studying Diploma of Counseling, Esoteric Complementary Health Practitioner, Woman, Teacher, Mother, Wife and Friend

Related Reading:
Being Nice
Nursing, me and Serge Benhayon
True Friendship: Serge the Friend

750 thoughts on “Sympathy – a Poison to the Body

  1. I had a very loud and clear experience of how destabilising it is to take on another situation. I was constantly thinking about ‘how to best help them’ and it was driving me nuts. That is until I stopped, re-connected to myself and chose to understand the situation and allow the other to have their situation without me being invested in it changing. It’s not mine to change and putting effort into such to fuel my own investment is imposing onto that person and not helping at all. I felt lighter once I had let go and can enjoy my time with this person more.

  2. True love brings understanding and will not allow any situation to fester like we do with bringing in sympathy. The understanding that someone is in a situation because of their own choices and too that they are the only ones that have the key to undoing this, we can only be there to support people in this process and not bring any sympathy as that will only prevent any healing to take place.

  3. Bringing sympathy to a situation someone is in will prevent then from taking responsibility to make the steps themselves to come out of this situation and instead will make them indulge in it and let it fester deeper in their bodies.

  4. ‘to burdensomely hold the fort for others’ describes it so well, we attempt to carry or prop up something that isn’t ours, and we miss what we can do, be us, live us and inspire another in that living.

  5. In my experience going into sympathy can stop us from calling out abuse and it is an easy way to make excuses, justify and accept ill patterns and behaviours into our life.

    1. Sympathy is like driving on a slippery road to then slowly get stuck in the mud. And the more effort you put in it the deeper you will sink.

  6. I know that when people feel sympathy towards me it feels like they are pouring syrup laced with poison over me. It feels sickly down to my bones.

    1. So true Esther and there is no love in sympathy because it doesn’t support us to take responsibility, be honest and evolve. And, the merry go round of emotions leads to exhaustion.

  7. Sympathy – not wanting to feel the emotional discomfort or tension in another therefore seeking relief in joining and rescuing instead of holding everyone in love and letting them be.

    1. That holding love eventually calls us out of the emotional discomfort and/or tension without going in and being the saviour. We all have to save ourselves from our own created troubles.

  8. Knowing the difference between understanding and sympathy is super important because we can think we are being understanding, but it comes with an energy that is not only imposing, draining and tiring, but also keeps both people held in a certain way that is not supportive of the situation. I have learnt to observe myself in these situations and quite often it is my lack of understanding of the full picture that will lead me to want to try and make things better for the other person, which as you say is impossible.

    1. No wonder I used to feel so tired, I went into sympathy very quickly in the past and I used to step into the rescue mode often. But it wasn’t at all loving and it doesn’t allow others to take responsibility for their own choices and it doesn’t support anyone at the end. It is, therefore, draining for everyone.

  9. Well said. I agree that we have replaced understanding with sympathy. The problem for me was that I couldn’t understand as I was unable to observe. Although I was aware I was so emotionally involved in everything/everyone that I didn’t have the detachment to observe. This is the key for me to stay with myself and observe from that space.

  10. Probably we all have been at the receiving end of sympathy and I know one thing for sure, I don’t want sympathy from anyone as what I am left with is a feeling of being a ‘poor thing’ and that’s definitely not the case whatever is happening as everything has to be read to why we experience what we experience at a certain time and how we always have the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our purpose in life.

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