In the broadest sense, the power of sympathy is beyond measure. Unfortunately, however, in the Western world the word sympathy often gets conflated with self-pity. From a blog post at Dictionary.com:
Nowadays sympathy is largely used to convey commiseration, pity, or feelings of sorrow for someone who is experiencing misfortune.
For me the term has very little, if anything, to do with commiseration. It’s really about affinity, which is one of the definitions given at Vocabulary.com:
a relation of affinity or harmony between people; whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other
In the sense of: a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character