Compathy – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

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Happy Friday! Well here is a new word for you…”Compathy”, Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day. It is another word to add to your arsenal of “feeling” words like Sympathy and Empathy, but with just enough of a subtle difference that you may find yourself needing to use it more and more.  The suffix of all three words is –pathy from the Greek ‘patheia’ which means ‘suffering’ or ‘feeling’.

Sympathy’s prefix, sym- comes from the Greek sum or sún, meaning “with, in company with or together with.” While feelings are part of the word, it is possible to be sympathetic without actually feeling what others are feeling. For example one could be sympathetic to a cause. One who is sympathetic might be overheard saying, “Oh poor so-and-so…” and in the next breath commenting, “I’m sure glad it’s not me.” So much for sympathy. No wonder  we are loath to sympathy from others. It smacks of pity.

Enter Empathy. From the Greek ‘empatheia’, when one combines em + pathy the literal meaning is ‘in’ + ‘feeling’.  It’s a feel good word…much more to our liking than sympathy. Having empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; to consider their plight while also considering how you might feel in the same circumstance. It’s a bit more engaging. Being empathetic moves us emotionally and compels us to act with compassion, but it is not the ultimate of –pathies. One can remain detached more or less and still feel and respond with empathy.

Which brings me to today’s word of the day, Compathy. It’s little prefix of a word, ‘com’ is a loaded when you add it to -pathy.  For this word’s etymology we turn to the Latin ‘com-‘ or ‘cum’ which means “together with, similar, extremely, completely.”  Compathy contains an intensity that the other two words do not.  Compathy is defined as “feelings, as happiness or grief, shared with another or others.” There is no detachment here, no standing on the sidelines. To have compathy means to feel the intense emotions of another with that other person or persons as if you share the same heart.

I can understand why compathy is more obscure than the other two words. Have you ever heard of it? I know I hadn’t.  And my ignorance allowed me to be quite content, considering myself a caring, feeling, empathetic person…which is a good thing, right? The fact is my ability to care has now been challenged to rise to the next level; to allow myself to enter into the suffering and joy of others whole heartedly and with abandon.

We call a person who acts and feels this way an “empath”, but I believe we have it wrong. Empaths are truly Compaths when you get right down to it. And it’s something to aspire to. Not because I’m a masochist but because I believe having compathy is the one true way to connect with another person in a deep and meaningful way. It’s where love and healing and true joy happen.

Have a great weekend. Peace and love to you and yours.

sympaths say “poor you”
empaths say “poor you, I know…”
but compaths say “we”

~kat – 14 April 2017


12 responses to “Compathy – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

  • anotherfoodieblogger

    This is certainly a new word to me too! But it is hard to actually incorporate a new word into your vocabulary if it’s not used often. However, your haiku makes excellent use of it, by also defining it! Great job. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  • the dandelion contessa

    Interesting word, and it certainly walks in company with sympathy and empathy, but I have to say, although your post is interesting, I don’t agree with your point of view – respectfully of course.

    You’re right, sympathy often smacks of underlying pity.

    Empathy, is about relating, often in a more personal way, and if one is spiritually minded enough, there can be a sense of distance and detachment, not borne of falsity, but rather compassion.

    But, if one happens to be an empath – and highly empathetic, often “living the world” is really tough. It becomes overwhelming, too often.

    Which is where the word Compathy becomes interesting in this trio of ideas. I’m not sure how you’re “reading” shared/ or sharing …. but I’m not sure it means anything more than one sharing *their* feelings as opposed to “we share the same feelings, therefore we understand, and empathize.”

    [” …. in that compathy strictly refers to one’s feelings (happiness, sadness, joy, sorrow)”]

    I’d be interested to learn exactly when this word came into existence. I haven’t been able to find anything precise – or even hinting at a possible date, but for some nagging reason, I just feel like it’s a “newer” model that is kind of like a “catch phrase” ……

    [and then the source cited compathy came into use in the 20th century] – pretty vague really …..

    I mean really, isn’t expanding one’s growth really about self-knowledge and understanding, which isn’t just limited to the personal “I” – and then is applied with compassion to others?

    As for aspiring to being a Compath?

    Personally speaking, I’d rather be a sociopath – being a high level functioning empath – as a “psychic” or clairsentient trait”

    {Definition of empath in English: (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual. [English Oxford Living Dictionaries]}

    is NOT a cool and fun thing – at all.

    Being empathetic:
    Definition of empathetic in English:Showing an ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

    (same citation as above)

    And no, being empathetic doesn’t necessarily make someone an empath – and just because like you, I’m curious, I really couldn’t find much more info on “compathy” other than what the word of the day had to offer.

    Right then, interesting post reading, and I have to say, I enjoyed the Haiku – as for the word compathy, I’ll pass on it, myself.

    And thanks Kat 🙂 Always something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kat Myrman

      Thank you so much for delving deeper and sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate your insight. Like you I found the etymology of the word compathy to be lacking. A newly coined word then. One that I think may describe the empath’s plight on a deeper level than empathy in that there is no sense of detachment. I confess my aspiration to become more compathetic is less about becoming and more about accepting the deep connection I personally feel in crowds or in close proximity to extreme emotional energy. I recently happened upon a site of newly formed words that are meant to convey emotions that fall outside of the limitations of our vocabulary. You might find it interesting: http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com
      And again…thank you for the stimulating chat! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • the dandelion contessa

        Ah, the dictionary of obscure sorrows – a wonderful concept – I’m quite familiar with it and the whole project. 🙂

        Like I mentioned, I’d be interested to know if compathy is more of a new buzz word or if it’s just one of those words that is truly obscure.

        I’m a bit confused by part of your answer, and if you can and don’t mind sharing? Are you saying you’re an empath and have or need or want to learn to better handle the energy in crowds and the connection of feelings you can “read” ….. so that you feel, well, connected but not overwhelmed? Or are you saying you aspire to be more compassionate, as in understanding, and “turn the other cheek” etc. in your efforts to be connected as one ….

        And yes, always wonderful to share ideas, thoughts and experiences …. which probably makes us empathetic, as well as genuinely curious, and I’m thinking honest in our efforts to relate to each other, and then, with an open heart, spirit and mind, others. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Myrman

        As an empath I think you captured my dilemma perfectly. My answer to you would be both. 😊 seeking to flow with the feelings I read. The overwhelming part happens when my inclination to “help” kicks in. And frankly, that’s just vanity or ego on my part. Being compassionate and understanding are part of that process. I spent some time in pastoral ministry at a local hospital once upon a time. The training was invaluable, especially the part that taught us to simply “be” with the other person. It is a profound connection when I get that right, but takes mindfulness especially in crowded or busy situations where feeling feels more like being blasted. I guess I am saying that I aspire to be mindful of every moment more than I am. A tall order for mortals who are so easily distracted! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • the dandelion contessa

        I see … LOL … or should that be “read and feel and know” more, better? now??
        😉

        Thanks for filling in and sharing more. 🙂

        Well, feeling “blasted” is never good, even if it’s not directly pointedly at you, so it can be hard to just, as you say, step into an energy stream, safely of course, and just let it ride itself out to a natural place.

        Simply allowing someone to “be” as they are, without prejudice, judgement and certainly, with compassion, is hard for many. All the “illusions” we must learn to strip away and let go of in our own spiritual earth walks makes for a long process. For me, personally, it’s recognizing that not everyone is coming from the “same place” in their journey, but it’s okay, I’m learning …. 🙂 But then we mortals do get caught up in all kinds of nonsense and drama – part of the learning curve maybe?

        Anyhow, thanks again Kat …. helps me understand … and no, I’m still “off” on “compathy” …. but I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open to see if it now starts crossing my path in my travels, just to see if it’s a coincidence or what 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Myrman

        Took a peek at your blog. Welcome to WordPress. I love it here. And I also want to say I like your writing very much. Have a great weekend! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • the dandelion contessa

        thanks Kat – and thanks for the follow – and just so you know, LOL – I never made a big announcement, but it’s me, Pat, from Black Cat Alley. Given all the damn spam and other problems with my account, I had to open a new one, so I’m just working from this one, keeping my head down, so to speak.

        Hope you have a wonderful weekend too Kat ☺💜

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Myrman

        Well now! So glad to see you back!!! 😉 Have a great weekend yourself! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • the dandelion contessa

        thanks 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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