The key difference between love and compassion is that the love is a deep feeling of affection and attachment towards someone whereas compassion is a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Love and compassion are two positive feelings that help to make the world a better place. We feel compassion for people who are in unfortunate situations (poverty, sickness, etc.) and we feel the desire to help them. Love, however, is an emotion we feel for someone close to us.
What is Love?
Love, often described as a deep affection and attachment, is an emotion we feel towards a close person. It is often associated with strong positive feelings like warmth, happiness and caring. Most of us tend to think of romantic love when we hear the word love. However, it can refer to the love for friends, parents, siblings, parents, children, etc.
In fact, love is a complex emotion, and it can mean a wide variety of feelings and emotions to different people. Caring, liking, warmth, affection, and attachment are primarily among these feelings. The love we feel towards a person differs according to the familiarity and relationship with that person. For example, the love you feel towards your child is different from the love you for your spouse. Love for a child is tinged with emotions like caring, warmth, protectiveness, and affection and while love for a spouse is tinged with emotions like desire, attraction, and affection.
Ancient Greeks believed that there are four types of love: storge, phileo, eros and agape. Storge is the love you feel for your family and relations. Phileo is the love you feel for your friends; this affectionate and platonic love. Eros, characterized by desire and longing, is the passionate love between lovers. In contrast, agape is the pure and ideal love, which is unconditional.
What is Compassion?
Compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. This is a feeling of wanting to help someone who is in an unfortunate situation, i.e., someone sick, hungry, in trouble, etc. When you feel compassion, your heart moves for another’s situation. Disability, disease, death, pain, poverty, violence and sadness are some situations that evoke our compassion. When we someone in such a situation, we feel sympathetic towards that person and want to help to alleviate his or her distress.
People often associated compassion with virtues such as patience, wisdom, kindness, and perseverance. Moreover, compassion is the main component of altruism. Although compassion is also similar to pity, sympathy, and empathy, these qualities are not the same. When you are compassionate, you will feel a strong compulsion to ease the suffering another in addition to recognizing his or her suffering (sympathy) or feeling his or her suffering (empathy). For example, you may see an old homeless person on the street; you’ll recognize that this person is in need of help and then act towards helping him. Here, the first act is understanding the child’s situation –this is sympathy. However, when you are compassionate, you’ll automatically feel the desire to alleviate the suffering of this man.
What is the Difference Between Love and Compassion?
Love is an intense feeling of deep affection while compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress and a desire to alleviate it. Therefore, we can consider this as the key difference between love and compassion. While love is associated with feelings like warmth, affection, caring, and attachment, compassion is associated with feelings like sympathy, pity, and kindness. Thus, this is a significant difference between love and compassion.
Moreover, love is a feeling we feel towards someone we close to us or someone we know; for example, parents, friends, siblings, lovers, etc. However, we may feel compassion for total strangers as well. So, this is also a difference between love and compassion.
Summary – Love vs Compassion
The key difference between love and compassion is that love is a deep feeling of affection and attachment towards someone whereas compassion is a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.