Being empathetic is a great thing. Sometimes it feels like the world is in short supply of caring and understanding, and empathy (and people with empathy in abundance) help bring everyone back together. Empathy allows us to see where other people are coming from and appreciate why they do the things that they do. However, there are some pitfalls to being a little too empathetic. We know them, well. And we bet you do too:
1. You’ve been called “overly sensitive” more times than you’d care to admit. People have told you to get a thicker skin – and you will, as soon as everyone else in the world stops having emotions and obstacles to overcome.
2. You’ve also been told how quiet you can become. It’s not like you want to not participate in the conversation; you’re just fascinated with everyone else’s story.
3. Sometimes it can feel like every emotion is just a little too intense and a little too raw. Apparently no one gave you instructions on how to scale your feelings back down from an 11.
4. Their pain is your pain. No, seriously. You watch someone bump their leg against a table and suddenly you’re reaching for your shin.
5. If the person next to you is starting to stress out, your blood pressure starts to spike because of it. Their situation might have nothing to do with you, but you’re now frustrated along with them.
6. It’s easy for people to emotionally manipulate you. You could approach someone with a serious grievance; if they counteract it with their own sob story, you have a hard time remembering why you were so angry/disappointed in the first place.
7. There really is no way to talk about the energy someone is giving off and have the average person take you seriously.
8. No matter how much you love debating, it takes a lot of energy to do it for any length of time. On the one hand, you’re less likely to start name-calling in the middle of it. On the other hand, you’ll probably be the first one to say, “No, no, I see your point,” and back off — even if you’re 100% adamant about your own perspective.
9. Is someone in the room crying? Guess who else is crying now, too. Hint: it’s you. It’s always you.
10. When that crying moment inevitably comes, you pray that no one will start paying attention to you. This isn’t you bringing up your own problems or trying to steal the spotlight. I mean, just look at that other person! They’re so sad! How can you not be crying as well? Taking in everyone’s emotions is hard work and can really put a damper on things.
However, pitfalls and all, you wouldn’t trade being overly empathetic for anything else. It makes you who you are and you couldn’t imagine life any other way.