re you of a sympathetic
If so, do not let your sympathies
help add to the world's miseries.
That may seem a strange ex-
pression, but it can be explained if
you will listen.
Much of the misery in the world is the result
All of it is the result of selfishness and ignor-
But hundreds and thousands of people believe
themselves sick, sorrowful and poverty stricken,
who would be well, glad and prosperous, if they
only thought themselves. so.
Every time you pour out sympathy upon
these self-made sufferers, you add to their burden
of wrong thought, and make it just so much
more difficult for them to rise out of their
I do not believe all the misfortune in the
world is caused by wrong thinking in this life, or
can be done away with by right thinking. The
three-year-old child who toddles in front of a
trolley car and loses a leg, while the tired mother
is bending over the washtub to keep the wolf of
hunger at bay, cannot be blamed for wrong
thinking as the cause of its trouble. Neither can
the deaf mute or the child born blind or
deformed. We must go farther back, to former
lives, to find the first cause of such misfortunes.
No "New Thought," no amount of optimistic
theology or philosophy can restore the child's
leg, or ears, or eyes. It is utter nonsense to say
that miracles like these can be performed.
There are scores of individuals whom we
meet handicapped in life's race by such dire
calamities that we spontaneously pour forth our
But, even to these, it were kinder and wiser
to give diverting thoughts, and a new outlook,
and to open up avenues for pleasure, and enter-
tainment, and profit, in place of tears and con-
Sympathy, without alleviating actions to a
sufferer, is like a cloud without rain to the
But the great majority of people whom we
encounter are making their own crosses, and we
who offer them sympathy, and condolence, are
but adding to the burden's weight.
I do not recommend coldness, indifference, or
ridicule as a substitute for sympathy. But
instead of leading the sick man on to tell you
the details of his illness, and to describe all his
symptoms, while your own body responds with
sympathetic aches and pains as you listen, it is
kinder to divert his attention to some cheerful
and merry topic, or to refer to some case like his
own which resulted in perfect restoration to
health. Instead of going down into his under-
ground cave of depression, bring him out into
the wholesome sunlight of your own healthful
state, even if for a moment only, and impress
upon his mind that health belongs to him, and
must return to him.
To the man in business trouble the same
Tell him you are sorry for him, but do not
take on his despondence to prove it.
Talk of the future and all the possibilities it
holds for a determined man or woman.
Make him laugh. Speak of trouble as the
gymnasium where our moral muscles are devel-
oped. Answer him that everything he desires is
his if he will be persistent and determined in
demanding his own. If you put force in your
words you will leave an impression.
Do not go away from the house of trouble in
tears, but leave the troubled ones you called upon
smiling as you depart.
That is true sympathy.
The Heart of the New Thought by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago : The Psychic Research Company, c1902.