How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Others(5 Ways How To)

This article will explain what it means to feel sorry for others and why this is different from empathy. It will also explain why it is not always a good thing to feel sorry for others – that too consistently. Furthermore, the article will focus on how to stop feeling sorry for others.

How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Others?

You can stop feeling sorry for others by doing the following things:

  • Get To Know Them Better – Another Side To The Story
  • Help Them Out – Doing Is Always Better
  • Accept Life As A Test & Challenge
  • Read Success Stories
  • Develop Healthy Thinking

Before we look at each way, we will explain what it means to feel sorry for others and why it may not always be a good thing to do especially when it seems so!

Empathy – What Is It?

Is empathy the same thing as feeling sorry for someone else? No it is not! Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions, feelings and thoughts of others especially when they are going through a certain situation. It is a trait not all people possess and hence they may not relate to what others go through and thus may not show the sensitivity the other person requires. 

Feeling sorry for others is more of an act rather than a trait where you just sympathize with the person over their situation or misfortune. It does not do much good except for the fact that you feel bad for them. It may not even mean you would help them! Empathy, on the other hand, allows you to understand the other person and puts you in a better position to help others. Feeling sorry will not only deplete your own energy levels but may not do much good for the other person. We will explore this more in the next section!

Is Feeling Sorry For Others Always A Good Thing?

Sometimes feeling sorry is the only thing we can do – at least temporarily or in the moment! It shows your ability to sympathize with others and may also communicate to others that if you could, you would definitely help the other person or would not have wished upon such a misfortune upon them.

However, it would not be surprising to say that feeling sorry is not only insufficient but may not have a good impact on you or the other person. Firstly, it lifts the responsibility over you to help the other person. By feeling sorry, you may feel that you have already done your part and convince yourself there is nothing more than you can do!

Secondly, feeling sorry may actually make the other person feel bad or embarrassed. What if someone had a certain skin condition that made them appear unattractive or undesirable. Do you think they would like it for every other person to feel sorry for them? No! They would prefer people treated them the same but understood their situation and helped them accordingly. Yes there are exceptions where people want sympathy but this is not helpful.

Furthermore, feeling sorry gets you nowhere. It actually makes you feel upset and helpless for the other person and this may lead you to become sad or even depressed especially if you have a habit of overthinking. Hence, feeling sad for others is not even good for your own mental health.

How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Others?

In this section of the article, we will look at ways on how to stop feeling sorry for others.

Get To Know Them Better – Another Side To The Story

Sometimes we only focus on the bad things going on or may be a better way to say this is that people tend to show the bad part of their lives – depending on their intention or personality. What this means is that sometimes people have a habit of gaining sympathy and hence will only express or expose the negative part of their lives – troubles, misfortunes, bad experiences and problems – rather than both sides of the picture.

Not everyone who is going through problems is having none of the pie. Everyone has problems but at the same time they have a lot to be grateful for in life that they may not realize or may simply not wish to show. As a person, before we actually judge someone and decide to help them, we need to see both sides of the picture. Not only will we be able to better decide who needs our help and to what extent but it will also save us from excessive feelings of sadness for someone’s situation. 

For example, you may learn that someone lost their mother at a younger age. You feel sorry for them but at the same time you do not know that very person has a loving husband and 3 beautiful kids unlike you. Hence, we need to be careful in how we perceive others and not let one part of the picture completely blow us away. One must sympathize – but only to an accepted extent.

By understanding a person’s entire situation, you will save yourself from a lot of hurt or sadness – in simple words you won’t feel too sorry for others.

Help Them Out – Doing Is Always Better

Feeling sorry may be an emotion you feel or some words that come out from your mouth. However, they have little impact and hence doing is always better than the aforementioned!

If you start engaging in action rather than words it will have a number of advantages. First of all, you won’t really have the time or attention to feel sorry. You will be too busy figuring out a way to help the other person or gathering the necessary resources to help them get to where they need to be. Also, you will actually be doing something to get them out of the situation they are in. Hence, if you solve their problems, there won’t be any reason to feel sorry for them anymore.

Take an example. You live next door to a family of 3. A mom who has two kids and they recently lost their father and loving husband. The woman is not only going through emotional, financial and physical strains but also being interrogated over the death of her husband. You do feel bad for her and the kids who have no idea what is going on. Instead of feeling sorry, you volunteer to cover their groceries for the next entire month. You also convince neighbors and mutual friends to gather money for extra costs they are experiencing. On top of that, some of the neighbors agree to babysit the kids to give the mother and wife time to grieve. By doing all of this, you will help the family cope and actually do something for them.

Accept Life As A Test & Challenge

Life was never supposed to be heaven – even though we can all agree there are moments we all experience that are just like heaven! It is a series of tests, challenges, losses and surprises that not only test us but make us grow stronger – we don’t really know why but that is just how things are here.

If we accepted the challenge in front of us it would be easier to understand and make sense of what is going on rather than feel sorry for others or ourselves and question the way the world works especially when you can’t change everything all at once. By accepting the challenge, not only are you more prepared for what life and destiny throw at you but also you focus less on feeling sorry because you are too busy coping with life and it’s problems that appear to never end.

Read Success Stories

It is human nature to follow and lead. This is an interesting phenomena we experience and live out as beings in this world. Nonetheless, we take inspiration from others’ stories. There are so many real life examples where people, despite their problems and disabilities, did wonders with what little resources they had. This not only allowed them to reach their full potential but also served as an inspiration for others. If you read more about these people, you would realize that there is very little time to feel sorry.

Develop Healthy Thinking

This is an art and a trait that we must develop and preserve. We need to think the right way and practice that. We must focus less on the negative and identify opportunities and solutions to problems we see being experienced. This is a trait that will greatly help one act instead of feel or say they are sorry for others.


This article focused on the difference between empathy and feeling sorry for others and how feeling sorry for others can actually do more harm than good. Finally, the article took much interest in the ways you can stop feeling sorry for others.


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