I guess there will always be that one person that will take advantage of your kindness, or even mistaken it for weakness. But for the most part, no, I don’t think you can be too empathetic, at least not in the long term.
Looking back, I find it hard to believe I was once so one sided with my views. In retrospect, I think it was mostly because I lacked my own voice. It’s easy for us as kids and teenagers to want to be loved and often in that attempt we emulate those we so seek to impress. With that behavior, in looking back, it’s not surprising most of my views were not mine.
Lucky for us, time changes everything.
And it’s not something to be mad at either. It’s progression. Time does change a lot and hopefully it does so through progressive and positive change. As a young guy I’d confidently and passionately argue my views, and indeed although the outcome I sought had the best intention of still helping people, it lacked empathy. Lacking empathy mean’t that my impact was not lasting.
One of the things I’ll diverge to say I’m most proud of lately is that this blog is as much about gently opening your minds eye to something different as much as it is about fulfilling my own selfish desire to be a great writer. It’s so easy for us bloggers to use the words “I” and “me” because we are, in most cases, blogging about our own lives. That’s what lifestyle blogging is all about. Doing so, however, can lead us astray in terms of empathy.
Lately, a lot of thinking has been done around what it means to create change. To have an impact on those around us for the greater good. How can one have influence over others without making them feel undermined, undervalued or underappreciated? It’s a real challenge because most people can’t take themselves out of the equation which means others simply can’t see past us, and our perceived agenda.
It’s all too easy at times to feel that by giving more than you often receive, you’d feel a little underwhelmed in what you get back. I don’t blame you, no one wants to give and get nothing in return. Even true altruism feels good.
But long term, when we add up all of the little wins along the way, the results can be profound, even in the smallest of respects. But this takes giving more than you receive. It just does. I don’t know why. I don’t know if we ever will. One thing’s for certain; if we deploy real, genuine, and honest empathy, then for every instance where it doesn’t manifest into a win-win-win, long term, another time it will, two fold. Again, I don’t know why, it just does.
You know that saying, give more than you receive? It’s a real difficult one. Especially when you’ve been burned for it before. It’s hard when your kindness or empathy was mistaken for weakness. We fear it will happen again. And it may. But remember, time changes everything. Like anything in life, things take practice. Even the skill of empathy. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least once. If they burn that candle too short, it’s OK to hold back a little, saving your energy for those willing to receive it. It would just be sad to see someone like you hold back indefinitely.
I blog regularly so I invite you to visit often. You can expect to see a post at least weekly. To ensure you don’t miss a beat you are encouraged to join my newsletter here. I won’t inundate you with emails, but if there is a message to get out or something I think you should read, watch or listen to, I’ll let you know. The best place to engage is in the comments or on twitter.
The only thing left to do is invite you to leave a comment below. I’d love your feedback or just seeing you say hi.