Empathy Fatigue and How to Prevent it

Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation. It’s one of the tools to build equality and justice.

20 May 2022 ・ Author: Speaker Agency

In relationships where there is a lack of empathy, parties will experience hardship. If we empathize with people we’re interacting, our communication will be fruitful and healthy. There are circumstances where it’s difficult to empathize with others, let alone maintain the empathic feeling.

What is Empathy?

Empathy is almost essential in relationships for the individuals to understand each other and relate to each other’s needs. Empathy, as a feeling, is basically the effort to understand the other person’s feelings and the way of thinking. To be able to empathize with someone, you have to first try and understand this person’s feelings.

The relationship will improve in a constructive way if you are able to empathize with the other person. The lack of empathy will result in negativity and worry in the relationship. In today’s modern, fast and intolerant societies, it’s even more important for each member of the community to empathize with each other. Sometimes, it doesn’t come easy to empathize with others due to certain factors. The main factors which cause lack of empathy are, insufficient social contact and impatience.

What is Empathy Fatigue?

Empathy is the ability to understand others’ feelings which helps modern human relationships on a big scale. It’s essential for a healthy relationship. When there is not enough social contact and not enough patience, the ground for building empathic understanding is not generated. Although empathy is crucial for relationships, too much of it might cause unwanted reactions.

While the necessity of empathy is vital, we must understand it’s also important to know how much and how we empathize. Too much empathy might be tiresome for the person who empathizes and and the person who is subject to it. Inrovert people might experience empathic feelings more than others as they already have trouble in expressing themselves. Empathy fatigue is the situation where the person empathizes too much with others.

Just like the lack of empathy, too much empathy will bring negativity into the relationship. Excess empathic feelings might be exhausting, even disturbing for both parties. You put more than enough baggage on your shoulders. Excess empathy means over-thinking the feelings of the other person and focusing on his feelings and forgetting about how your own emotional state is. This will wear out the person who is trying to understand the other party and it can lead to toxic relationships.

How do we get Empathy Fatigue?

Insuffient social contact, in other words, not socializing enough is the main reason for empathy fatigue. Spending prolonged time alone and not having social contact will result in empathy fatigue. New methods of working, such as working from home, have become common practice which sets the ground for less social contact. Places and situations for interacting with each other have become fewer and fewer. Working from home, stress, work load, chronic fatigue and impatience are some of the other reasons for empathy fatigue.

How to Prevent Empathy Fatigue

Meeting new people and/or socializing with your existing social circle can help to build healthy empahic feelings towards others. Learning and trying to understand how other people live, experience and feel are the things to do if you want to avoid empathy fatigue. For a healthy mental state and the ability to understand others, we must empathize with others in the right way with a healhy dose. Empathy fatigue is a relationship problem which can be avoided by examining our existing relationships with our friends and family.

If you’d like to know more about empathy fatigue please refer to our web site and check out our personal Well-Being Speakers. Our experts Mimi Nicklin, Robert Waldinger, Mo Gawdat, Pandit Dasa have more on empathy fatigue and related topics.

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