The Oxford dictionary defines empathy as ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’, so in relation to this month’s topic ‘is being an empathic person for losers’ the topic translates as; is understanding and sharing the feelings of another for losers.
Insight into the answer to this question could be found by asking yourself; is the parent who understands the feelings of their children a winner or a loser compared to the parent who can’t? Also, is a partner who is able to understand and share their feelings with their lover a winner or a loser?
Being empathic, can, and often is, framed by our unconscious as problematic or stressful, because being in touch with the hardship or pain of another can push you to feel that you should spend your time, energy or money on helping them.
However when feeling this way, your unconscious tends to let you know that you don’t have an unlimited amount of money, time and energy, and so using some of it to help out will leave you with less to spend on your own well-being.
Being an unconscious concern, you don’t consciously think, if I help this person, I will have fewer resources to support my well-being. You instead feel uncomfortable or stressed by the idea of helping, especially when you’re feeling time/energy poor, or financially strapped.
When dominated by such feelings it is easy to succumb to an unconscious fear alert that says; warning, warning, your wellbeing will most likely be compromised if you provide help!
When fear alerts are active it tends to prime your fight and flight triggers. In flight mode you place those needing help, out of sight and out of mind, or take on the idea that their need for help is not real, or convince yourself that there is no evidence to support this conclusion. In fight mode, you start feeling hostile towards them.
You see this dynamic play out within communities in relation to refugees. People subliminally feel they will be disadvantaged, or their wellbeing will be compromised if they allow refugees into the country.
When this type of unconscious mindset dominates, it is easy for people to become caught in a glass half empty frame of mind when it comes to evaluating the pros and cons of being an empathic person.
A major con for many is the pressure they experience from within themselves to help those in need who they feel empathy for, and the stress this often creates. We all know the dialogue; I feel I should help this person, but I don’t really want to, or; I have too much going on with myself to do so.
When compassion pulses through a person’s mind and heart they are less prone to feel this way, they take the glass half full perspective when it comes to unconsciously evaluating the pros and cons of empathy. Compassionate people tend to believe the pros of being able to understand and share the feelings of another (oxford dictionary definition of an empathic person), far outweighs the cons.
In my upcoming webinar we will address all this and much more. I look forward to seeing you then.
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