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

575 thoughts on “Sympathy – a Poison to the Body

  1. There have been lots of opportunities to go into sympathy with peoples various distresses just lately, and yet I can feel how powerful it is to just hold myself in love and understanding without absorbing what is going on, this gives a true reflection and a true support to help another to come back to themselves.

  2. I’ve been noticing that my entire body changes when I go into sympathy, i start to feel instantly drained and somehow go into the same problem that the person I am talking with is in at that time. In simple terms I thought that was being a good friend when the reality is when I do that I don’t offer a way out of that space for that person. I know for me I used to want people to go into sympathy with me, now I love it when they don’t as it helps me get over what may be getting me down.

  3. I can honestly say that it is also by participating in the workshops of Universal Medicine and the presentations of Serge Benhayon I have come to understand that there is a quality of love that is naturally there for anyone to surrender to and move with. The more we reconnect back to this quality the more natural understanding we will have for other people and where they are at. As we all come to this understanding and live from a quality of self-love the world will it self naturally change and this is evolution.

  4. Sympathy offers another absolutely no support, it is simply an imposing way to communicate to someone that they are not an equal and must be helped because they cannot do it for themselves. An extremely disempowering way to be with another that leaves them feeling less even if we help them out of a situation, for they in the process never get to feel that they had the power within them but instead that they needed our help to do it. This does not mean we don’t support others, but supporting vs. helping are two very different things.

  5. The power of what you shared is huge. Sympathy is a killer – an ugly one, as it brings in judgement. No need to judge when love is present. I too have been greatly in sympathising with people, but came to feel that actually what I was doing was harmful to another and myself. Instead now I empower myself in my way of living, that brings more and more strenght to the table, that then invites others to step in the ability to feel and read.. Which than supports them to go up, instead of down. There is no benefit in going with the issue that another person is in.

  6. Sympathy for another offers them no healing, but instead cements them further into the pain they are in. Understanding on the other hand offers a pathway forward, based from the truth of who they are.

    1. Heather absolutely Sympathy does not offer healing, it cements them further into the pain. However understanding and getting them to understand offers a way forward, a possible healing process in some form.

  7. Johanna – these are wise words indeed: “I feel people are deeply caring by nature but it seems we have somehow erroneously, perhaps irresponsibly, replaced understanding with sympathy.” – Understanding is a completely different word to sympathy, and whilst the latter dis-empowers one person, the former treats another as an equal.

  8. I have been a master at Sympathy! And I still sometimes fall for it! But over the years I have developped a deeper understanding of how it works against the other and myself and as a result have learned to not fall for this. However, it can be hard to hold this especially in our world where so many people actually think that sympathy is a good thing – and that they consider you cold, hard and calculating when you do not go into sympathy. However, when you bring true understanding to the picture, there is no cold hard calculation, and only more love that you hold yourself and another with. And hence it is a win win situation for all as both get offered the opportunity to learn and grow.

  9. I feel sympathy is present when I champion in some way the ideal of human life, and want things to go smoothly for people. If in life there is an accident, injury, illness, or some other challenging situation, I’m learning to read what the situation is truly offering, and what it may mean for a return to ones divine nature.

  10. When people are sympathetic to another it is if they are trying to take some of the person’s pain and in doing so it seems to me that they are judging them as being unable to manage what they are going through. When I have experienced sympathy like this I have felt like I was being smothered in an energy that was not of love but one where the needs of the other came before mine. In stark contrast when we are offered understanding we are being honoured for what we are going through but held in a space that if we need help we can ask and if we don’t we are simply allowed the space to heal.

  11. The most timely read! As I reflect on the year that was, with today being the 1st of January, it has been very evident just how much poison I have ingested, all for the sake of not wanting to feel that I am actually enough and ok just as I am. Instead absorbing others peoples stuff and convincing myself I’m being a good person by feeling their pain or avoiding speaking my own truth. I’ve realised how detrimental this is to my own body and health and feel it’s time to really let that go. I know for a fact that sympathy does not support people, although it might look ‘kind’ and ‘nice’ on the outside. We simply can’t support people any more than when we are really living who we are, no holds barred.

  12. When studying nursing I used to go into sympathy a lot, I would feel guilty that I was healthy and happier than another, I would see someone suffering and feel that there was an injustice in what they were experiencing. I did not want to see the bigger picture and therefore was in reaction to their situation rather than looking at it with deep understanding. What I realise now is that we cannot be truly caring for another if we are in sympathy.

    1. I can relate to your comment SCE. How important then is taking into consideration the whole picture. When we do allow ourselves to ‘read’ the whole situation… zoom out, life and how it plays out makes more sense as you can see the pathway that led to the effect or outcome. Observing all that is taking place in our lives and around us brings greater acceptance and understanding.

  13. In taking the sympathy path, we confirm another irresponsibility and dishonour the fact that another may arise from their situation as easily as they have found themselves in and with it.

  14. A great wisdom bringing the truth to sympathy and under standing and the differences in our bodies this allows. A beautiful reflection to feel how this plays out that i can really relate to and hence make the necessary changes from a place of wisdom and understanding.

  15. It is great to see sympathy exposed like this because so many people still consider it to be a virtue. Sympathy is indeed a poison and a great way to avoid making a true connection with another person.

  16. Sympathy is a big aspect of parenting and wanting to be the good cop rather than showing that this is another ideal and belief that we fall for where we seek recognition and to be liked by another and in the long run no one grows and learns from life’s lessons.

  17. I have reacted numerous of times when sympathy was directed at me when I am expressing vulnerability, because sympathy is a force that is awful and when I buy into it or react against it, keeps me where I am at, while feeling vulnerable I am allowing myself to surrender deeper and to evolve.

    1. Great point! I know these moments too& reading your comment I realise that I sometimes don´t show that vulnerability, because I don´t want to get this ” I am sorry” or sympathetic looks from the others, because it is not uplifting and feels very harming. Actually they make it about them in the moment, although it looks like they’d care for me.

  18. If I go into sympathy I let me off the hook and you off the hook. Off the hook in that I don’t reflect back to you the consequences of your choices and take us both down the slope so to speak.
    It’s an easy ‘get out of jail’ card – because if I was to simply be with you, not offering an ounce of sympathy but seeing you as the equal that you are, then I need to feel that stupendousness I am also equal to – and then live this to offer the reflection.

  19. Thank you, this is such a great post Johanna Smith. Sympathy is so embedded in the fabric of our society and is wreaking havoc with our energy, taking billions of us away from the truth of who we are. Just in reading this I find my own energy changing and become more aware of how I still have sympathy receptors in my body that have become loaded since the last read. I can understand this as I am in a situation that most would say asks for a lot of sympathy, which may be so but it certainly does not require it. Through deeper love and understanding we can bring compassion and wisdom and allow the other to empower themselves – whether they choose this or not. I am learning more about letting go of learned behaviour like ‘looking after others’, and ‘wanting to make things better for others’ in this I am being more true to myself and in that allowing more true love to be.

  20. How does sympathy help another person? It is like you are confirming what they are doing. Are you offering anything that can help them see another way? Why not show them a way, that challenges their beliefs about where they are and what they can do about it?
    Thank you Serge Benhayon for presenting a way of living that has transformed my life. A way that is all about just being me, and allowing my inner wisdom to surface.

  21. Sympathy is disempowering for both parties, the one who perpetuates seeing themselves as a victim and the rescuer alike.

  22. Creation opposes evolution in the sense that what we create, be that certain behaviours, actions, ideals etc. we tend to be very defensive of, because we see ourselves as the ‘owner’ or ‘sole creator’ of it and with this firmly in place, do not allow ourselves to surrender ‘that which we are not’, back into ‘that which we truly are’, because there is a part of us (the spirit) that identifies with all that we have created as coming from ‘self’, and therefore we will not let this go. This is currently where we are at with sympathy. We sympathise towards another because it confirms a certain vibration that we are not so comfortable stepping away from and in this we also hold the other in this vibration by not allowing the space for them to arrest their behaviours that have got them into the mess in the first place.

  23. When we hold another as an equal they are much less likely to go into reaction, whereas sympathy communicates to another that there is an issue and they should be upset about it.

  24. “I feel people are deeply caring by nature but it seems we have somehow erroneously, perhaps irresponsibly, replaced understanding with sympathy.” I have come late to this understanding, having been an incredibly ‘nice, good and sympathetic’ person for most of my life – ugh. Staying connected with myself, having love and understanding for the other, is more beneficial than ending up in the soup of sympathy which can allow wallowing and indulgence.

  25. “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” This is very revealing. For if we know how to undo something that we have created into an issue or problem, then surely we must have known what we were doing when we created it in the first place!

  26. Sympathy is very harmful for both the giver and receiver. It prevents the receiver from taking responsibility for them selves and it is a poison in the givers body

  27. “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.” this is such a beautiful and powerful statement Johanna thank you for sharing. I have lived with sympathy and niceness most of my life thinking this was a loving way to be, I have only just started to feel the ugly effects of this disgusting energy that has not one ounce of love or truth in it.

  28. Our media plays on sympathy. Television, newspapers, can all whip up a large energy of sympathy from their followers – but what is this really achieving – the true answer is nothing but harm. Far better to leave the reader un-imposed on.

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