I can sympathize with my sister who hurt me, but I have a hard time empathizing with her (stepping inside her shoes, so to speak, and feeling what it is like being her). Can I ever feel compassion for her without empathy?

Not being able to empathize with your sister today does not mean you will never be able to do this.  Empathy can open the door to compassion.  Sympathy, or feeling sorry for her, also may be such a door to the eventual development of compassion.  Yet, as you are seeing, empathy is the deeper, more challenging perspective.  Here are some questions that might help you with empathy toward your sister:  Was your sister hurt by others some time in the past?  How deeply was she hurt?  Is she still carrying those wounds?  Can you see your sister’s struggles in life?  Your answers may induce a greater empathy for her as you see her wounds from her perspective.

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