Empathy is an interesting world, often mistaken for something quite different; unhealthy boundaries, and not knowing where we end and the other begins.
I think of how often I remained connected to hurtful people when I was younger (and others to me, when I was hurtful) because I imagined myself empathic. And I was! But that didn’t mean that I had to endure their madness. Our empathic capacity can be as misdirected as any other ability. Just because you can feel where someone is coming from, doesn’t mean that you have to put yourself at risk.
When we allow ’empathy’ to keep us invested in that which brings us suffering, when we confuse it with a boundary-less way of being, it becomes just another word for misplaced faith and self-hatred. It is empathy run amok. It abuses your gift. Better to not turn your compassionate nature against yourself. Empathize with humanity, but shield yourself from harm.
Are you REALLY practicing empathy in a relationship? Or, do you need help setting healthy boundaries with someone? I would be honored to help.
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Colorado Springs, CO, email@example.com
Operating online with compassion, consistency, and trust since 1999