Many of you have asked me the same question since the publication of my last post on the subject: How can I stop suffering from this “too much empathy”?
As Monk (the famous San Francisco detective) says about his disordered phobia: “It’s both a gift and a curse. ” Empathy allows you to detect the lie, detect discomfort during a conversation, know if someone is wrong and so on. Besides that, empathy conveys to you all the negative feelings of people around you (especially your loved ones).
Take 2 examples of everyday life. A friend, a father, lives a difficult situation at work. She risks losing everything. You are empathetic? Her anger and anguish are likely to overwhelm you when she talks to you about it all.
You are a teenager, a friend of yours (who studies in another high school) explains that her whole class rejects her for a reason X. She lives badly, depressed and does not want to go to class. You are empathetic? Her sadness will probably cause you a ball in the stomach.
In both cases, you will feel the suffering of your loved ones. Here are some tips that will help you distance yourself and live your empathy better.
1. Be selfish!
In one of my last posts, I explained to you that you had to be pretentious to succeed. Today, I suggest you become selfish. Have that, if you do not become a good person …!
Truce of jokes. When you experience the emotions of a loved one, take a step back. We are 7 billion on the planet. Your friend is bad, her problem does not concern you at all, and yet you are as bad as her. For what reasons?!
There are 6,999,999,998 other people who go wrong on the planet (you may even be a part of it). Should you suffer from everyone’s discomfort? No, not more than your friend’s. Nothing prevents you from being complacent, it is even essential. I’m not telling you to make fun of their problems, but simply to realize that sharing their suffering does not make sense. They are already suffering enough alone, no need to duplicate this suffering. It does not even serve them.
2. Return to your head
When we show empathy, we imagine ourselves in the head and in the body of the other. We make a real transfer. Take a few seconds to “get back in your head”, to reassure you and tell you one thing: ” personally, his problem does not concern me and I am in a stable situation “. One tends to take the problems of others for one’s own problems when one is empathetic. It’s a mistake, the problems of others do not concern us directly.
3. Avoid “harmful” contact in the worst moments
Empathy is all the more active when you go to people. If you are alone in your couch, the empathy that you felt the minutes before will gradually dissipate. If you can not stand the ball in your stomach that causes your loved one’s problems, stay alone for a moment and relax watching a good movie or series. Think back to points 1 and 2 from time to time.
4. Talk to another friend
When you have a problem, talking to a loved one often helps you get rid of weight. When you feel someone else’s problem by empathy, it’s the same thing. Do not hesitate to talk about it to someone neutral: “I feel bad for my friend Paul … he will lose his job … it gnaws me …” The mere act of externalizing will do you good. By cons, do not talk to Paul himself, it will only amplify the discomfort by making him feel guilty.
It is important to talk to someone who is neutral and who do not know Paul for a simple reason: if you pass on your anguish to another friend of Paul, that person will be in the same state as you.
5. Do not transfer the situation, you are already experiencing emotions
To use the example of Paul who will lose his job: do not physically return to his sphere of anxiety. If Paul is looking for work, do not look for work for him as if you were looking for work for you. You would go from a transfer of emotions to a transfer of situation, the discomfort will be growing. Detach yourself from the situation.
Help Paul if he asks you, participate with him in his job search (by going to appointments with him, by going home …), but do not peel the classified ads at home alone when You have free time.
This example of the job seeker is quite abrupt. It’s a crude illustration. You must adapt it to your situation. The underlying idea is simple: do not make yourself suffer the situation of your loved ones, you already suffer their emotions.
6. Lock yourself in a bubble
Unlike the exercise of emotional transactions that help you develop your empathy, you can put yourself in a bubble to decrease it.
The gesture is important. A “bubble” position may be the following: on your couch / bed with headphones and music to “turn off” hearing, legs that do not touch the ground to close your gesture (you can curl up a little ), in a room that does not open directly to the outside to disable the visual (basically, do not open the windows big but not worth it in the dark either).
Empathy is something very complex to describe, very complicated to progress … and very complicated to disable. This article gives you some keys, which I use frequently to get me out of trouble. I hope you will benefit.
Feel free to suggest your personal methods in comments! Read more…
Kindly use one of the share buttons | Someone might need it too | See Comments.