Empathy is the supreme sense of understanding when it comes to feelings and emotions. This skill is appreciated in both professional and personal fields of life. Little do we know that it is a finite source of skill, and you can run out of empathy if not recharged well. The result can ruin your life.
Is empathy finite?
Nurses, doctors, police authorities and liberals lack a sense of empathy because they were exposed to compassion way too much, which is said to be an exhaustion of empathy state.
Scholars have argued that empathy is limited. On the other hand, psychologists who studied empathy disagree on this. They believe that empathy appears to be limited in possible ways than real.
Depleting empathy or empathy burnout is said to be ordinary among people. This occurs when a person invests 'too much time and emotional strength empathizing and relating deeply to the issues and problems of others so much that they forget to care to look into themselves properly.
Focusing on empathizing with people who are with us at work or home a lot can reduce our ability to empathize and support people outside our contact.
This type of empathy leads to outgroup biases, anti-social behaviours such as hate, dehumanization, and torture, which afterwards backfires into us and ruins us eventually.
Empathy depletion isn't the end of it. You can run out and come back to it. It needs recharge of self-time and love. You need to replenish it again and again.
Signs of Empathy depletion
- Extra stress
- Carelessness in work and personal life
- Other errors of omission
- Lack of attention to details
- Violent reactions
All these signs can be severely physically and mentally in an individual's personal and professional life.
How to prevent it?
It is not an easy thing to overcome this, especially if you are going through constant burnouts. Do not panic if you realized that you are going through this after reading the article, there is a solution. Let us breathe and approach simple steps to prevent and overcome this depleting empathy problem.
Develop consciousness and awareness about your exhaustion in empathy. If you are in a situation or doing a job where there is a high demand for empathy, then this is the perfect start.
- Develop a 'meter' to help you check how weighed down your emotions are and how you are feeling right now. Check up on the signs mentioned in this article to know where you stand in the empathy rate. It will help you decipher when to take a break and recharge for yourself.
- Take a break and solve such tasks 'one at a time' with a proper breather. There is nothing wrong with being out of your comfort zone in the jobs where you need empathy the most, but you need your self-time and healing to get more of it. Healing is hurts than getting hurt, similarly, empathizing with yourself is strenuous than empathizing with others, and once you reach this level of self-connection, and healing then such tasks of empathy demanding stuff, get very easy.
- Unethical standards when it comes to mental health practice and high exploitation in demanding empathy give too much stress to people in work and personal life. Setting boundaries, setting limitations, and sticking to own/ company's ethical standards are helpful to create and maintain an ethical work climate.
- Understand and accept your feelings. Held yourself responsible and name this depleting feeling of numbness for being compassionate to other people. Identify this feeling. Try to differentiate your feelings and negotiate yourself on why and how you are feeling this way and how to cope up.
- This burnout can become dark and drag you to endless spots like the future or the past, or somewhere you find yourself constantly chasing. Take a breather out and notice yourself around and stick to the present as much as possible. It will help to prevent you from not only zoning out but cleaning the negative energies in and around you. Your present surrounding can give you a new perspective or reasons to kickstart your empathy and replenish it.
- Try to watch your current state and your empathy depletion meter from the third person's point of view. View yourself as a friend who is in this position. It helps to identify your problems in the most sorted way, and it will help you empathize with yourself first and bring out the solutions to get back to your form in efficient ways. Visualize yourself surrounded by a glass wall as you while moving through the crowd and your current situation. Notice your energies, feelings, and signs through that wall like a third person.
- Try to keep a wall when you are dealing with a situation where things demand your empathy. Keeping your feelings separate and empathizing with other's feelings and predicaments from the start is a great way to guard yourself and look into yourself first before it gets too late and you experience empathy burnout again. It will help you gain a deeper understanding of other's problems in efficient ways without getting hard on yourself or backfiring you in any way because you have kept your feelings aside from the start.
- Have firm boundaries mentioned above. Never compromise your boundaries for anyone, because your boundaries are for your well-being, and it’s your fundamental right. None of them has the right to cross that limit or step on the limits. Setting a firm boundary is an okay and not selfish act, so whether if it’s your best or the most favourite person you can willingly die for without a second thought, you need to have more strong boundaries than this. This way, you can limit the people who drain your energy in and around you and help you understand patterns, identify people who drain your precious energy.
- Release the emotions from time to time, especially if you are a person who is naturally sensitive to the feelings of others and oneself. If the sponge absorbs and is oversaturated, then it can't take any newer kinds of emotional events and situations, but if you squeeze it and let out the off energies and emotions which you absorbed, then it will give you space to let your new feelings to get inside and will help you sort things out. Empathy burnout replenishes by letting go of emotions first. You get the space to allow your feelings to get sort first calmly and efficiently. You become an empath to yourself, resulting in a stronger you, and it’s the key to being more empathetic to yourself.
I hope this helps you cope with this issue if you are going through this in any way. If you are new to this term and understood this for the first time, then what is your opinion on this topic?
Let us know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!
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