"So I'll tell you the positive effect and you know it already: empathy is pain's best antidote. It is, says Robert Burton in his astonishing Anatomy of Melancholy, 'as fire in Winter, shade in Summer, as sleep on the grass to them that are weary, meat and drink to him that is hungry or athirst.'
The pain doesn't go away; but somehow or other, empathy gives the pain meaning, and pain-with-meaning is bearable. I don't actually know how to say what the effect of empathy is, I can only say what it's like. Like magic".