2/25/2019 0 Comments
Welcome back empowered readers,
I wanted to take the opportunity this week and discuss empaths. As a counsellor and an empath, I am passionate about how empathy works, but also the effects that it can have on our minds, body and spirit. Our ability to feel what another person or animal is feeling can be tough. Always feeling everyone’s hurt often leads to putting our own needs aside to do whatever it takes to stop the pain, and it can be hard to stay empowered, balanced and healthy.
What is Empathy?
According to an article in Psychology Today, empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own. Basically, empathy is the ability to feel another’s emotions in our own bodies. Empathy helps facilitate “helping behaviors” that come from within so that people behave in a more compassionate manner. Empathy can make us great at our jobs, a great friend, humanitarian or even a great parent, but empathetic engagement is also what contributes to compassion fatigue.
To sum it all up….
Excessive empathy can lead to a lack of empathy. Too much can turn into not enough.
But how will I know if I am struggling from compassion fatigue as an empath?
Basically, compassion fatigue is a coping mechanism that our mind, body and spirit can utilize when we feel overwhelmingly burdened by the suffering of others. It means that you are no longer truly engaging in the cause, whether that be promoting animal welfare or caring for an aging parent. You might start to blame others for their suffering as compassion fatigue can lead to mental and physical fatigue, as well as depression or anxiety symptoms. Individuals with compassion fatigue often begin to ignore stressful issues altogether – either by using unhealthy coping techniques (like alcohol/drugs), withdrawing from a loved one in need, or by being in denial about the nature of a problem.
It can be challenging to find balance between engaging in an issue and identifying with the suffering, this takes constant practice. Even professionals need to make ongoing adjustments to their coping and self-care skills.
Tips for Identifying Compassion Fatigue and What You Can Do About It
You may be suffering from compassion fatigue if you:
Tips for combating compassion fatigue include:
To your empowered living,
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another”