Too empathetic ?

planetweirdo

Well-known member
#1
I think that its great for people to be empathetic. But is it possible for a person to be too empathetic? If a person is constantly stressed or depressed about feeling the collective pain of every one he knows, is this taking empathy a bit too far. What about feeling guilty about living in a first world country? Obsessing over why I deserve to eat while hundreds or thousand of third world children are starving to death. Just watching the news and hearing about all the crime and murder can cause me to sink into deep depression. there are so many children suffering in the world. I wish that I could save them all. I often fantasize about having some kind of superpower that allows me to go around saving people, or fixing peoples lives and making people happy. But I real life I just feel useless.
 

MikeyC

Well-known member
#3
I think that its great for people to be empathetic. But is it possible for a person to be too empathetic? If a person is constantly stressed or depressed about feeling the collective pain of every one he knows, is this taking empathy a bit too far.
There does come a point where you can't empathise anymore, where your own needs have been put aside so much that you have no choice but to deal with them. Where no matter what happens to others, you know you have to look after yourself. So yes, being too empathetic can cause you misery because you're trying to deal with everyone else's problems while also managing your own.

I work in a police station and if all the cops empathised with every domestic they attended, every robbery, every car crash, every siege, they wouldn't last a week in the job. So they have to let go. At times we have to do it, too - there's only so much empathy we can give.

I think it's humane to be empathetic, and to care for our fellow humans. In fact, if we did more of this, the world would be a much nicer place to be. But you have to understand your limits, and when you're putting yourself in a secondary or tertiary position.

Maybe this would be handy to read? http://narellewarcon.com/empathy-overload/

What about feeling guilty about living in a first world country? Obsessing over why I deserve to eat while hundreds or thousand of third world children are starving to death.
Do you think about this often? To be honest, I think about this. I would like to sponsor a child one day, but I need to make sure my money is going where it's needed.

I am incredibly, unbelievably lucky to be born in Australia.

I often fantasize about having some kind of superpower that allows me to go around saving people, or fixing peoples lives and making people happy.
Haha, I do this, too. :)
 
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nodejesque

Well-known member
#4
I think that its great for people to be empathetic. But is it possible for a person to be too empathetic? If a person is constantly stressed or depressed about feeling the collective pain of every one he knows, is this taking empathy a bit too far. What about feeling guilty about living in a first world country? Obsessing over why I deserve to eat while hundreds or thousand of third world children are starving to death. Just watching the news and hearing about all the crime and murder can cause me to sink into deep depression. there are so many children suffering in the world. I wish that I could save them all. I often fantasize about having some kind of superpower that allows me to go around saving people, or fixing peoples lives and making people happy. But I real life I just feel useless.
I can definitely relate. This issue has led to depression, for me. It's too much to watch the news or read about it.

And yes... the guilt is horrible. I'm sorry that you too feel this way:/
 
#5
Empathy can be a double edged sword because it opens you up to getting hurt by the mindset and emotions of others. The best advice I have for this original poster involves the 4 golden rules for living a happy life.

1. Be friendly to happy people
2. Be compassionate towards unhappy people
3. Be happy for other's success
4. Ignore the haters
 

Feathers

Well-known member
#6
I can relate too. I need to watch my media consumption, some days I don't watch/read/listen to the news at all, or at least not early in the morning and late in the evening or when hungry/tired/already stressed or overwhelmed with other things.

You can do a lot of good, by joining an organisation or sponsoring a child or such, or even just like-ing and promoting worthwhile causes on FB or Twitter or such.
 
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