A fellow DoNM over at OneAngryDaughter wrote a great post on the difference between empathy and compassion. Thought I'd share a bit of it here:
Empathy is the capacity to truly understand the experience of another, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically. It doesn't mean that you necessarily agree, simply that you understand. In an empathic state, you experience the thoughts, feelings and sensations of another within your own mind.
Compassion requires some level of empathic awareness, but it goes beyond awareness. Compassion is a radiating desire to console, comfort, and alleviate the pain and suffering of another. It is a deep sense of sorrow and sympathy for the other person's misfortune. Compassion is the tendency to feel another's ache, along with the need to extend a kindness, to do something about it.
To read more of this great post, click here.