Empathy Over Sympathy: How we react to the suffering of others.

I attended a lecture during my third year of medical school as a part of a joint OB/GYN and Pediatric Grand Rounds on helping mothers through fetal loss. The lecturer asked the audience whether they felt empathy or sympathy, as the healthcare provider in difficult situations such as these. Hands creeped up hesitantly, clearly unsure

Can we all just agree there’s no monopoly on suffering?

It’s become a pissing contest, particularly in American society, of who’s suffered more, of who’s endured the most trauma and lived to tell the tale. How often do we feel the spoken and unspoken question asked, “Who are you to suffer–who are you to cry trauma or claim hardship–when there’s x y and z happening