I watched a movie over the weekend that made me wonder about how much empathetic people suffer.  Do people that care deeply for others or actually physically care for them have a great  toll on their psyche?

We all know that, while it’s very rewarding to help others, I was quite shocked to hear that a very renowned caregiver suffered sadness during her lifetime. It has given me pause as I have carried this same kind of sadness.


Maybe the trouble, illness and sadness in others piles up in empathetic people and acts like cholesterol lining our arteries, slowly suffocating us until our joy level cannot flow freely anymore.

I don’t know. I’m only theorizing. It can be an isolating feeling, which is almost the opposite of what one would think. One would think if you care and are helping people, then you would be connected. But for me, usually I am not, and this person wasn’t either, even though she affected the lives of millions of people.

Anyway, maybe I come closer to an answer. I would never choose to be different or not care, even if I could, but some days it does feel like a lonely place.

There’s more research to do.



39 thoughts on “Caring

  1. I think to live and love passionately it opens the door for both suffrage and joys.

  2. I’m not really talking about love…I’m talking about empathy. It’s different. I didn’t love the people on my ambulance. I cared for them and took care of them….

  3. Yes, I did read it as empathy. I guess what I am saying is that love and passion (people, healing, arts, etc) are wheels from empathy and that within empathy is this reservoir that gives energy as well as can sap energy. If that makes sense. Sometimes I can start my thoughts at the middle lol (it is adhd)

  4. I don’t think that empathy will make you happy, helping might bring satisfaction, but not always happiness. Happiness is not the easiest thing to achieve I guess..

  5. Maybe us empathizers should open ourselves up more for care from others? That’s hardest for me because I do it all for everyone…and then I’m a wiped out cranky toad by the end of the day.

  6. Believe it or not I googled this effect (google knows everything!) and found some fascinating things. There does seem to be a real correlation between empathizing and suffering physically. There were suggestions how to protect oneself (obvious things) and how to replenish. The person I spoke about was actually Mother Teresa. I was actually shocked. She always seemed so peaceful and joyful. Not so. If you’re interested in the movie, it’s on Netflix and called “The Letters”.

  7. Hmmm, I’m not even sure it brings me ‘satisfaction’ per say. It is just something that happens–sort of like being hungry. There is really nothing I can do about it, it just is when I’m around other people. Overly sensitive. I’m that way about sounds, or fighting, or joy, or sadness, heat, cold—I just am tuned into my external environment. And yes, happiness is different. And for me, very hard to achieve because I’m constantly distracted from it….

  8. I’m not sure I am following, or maybe I’m not deep enough. To me empathy is almost always more like a bowl that fills with other people’s moods and feelings. If they are sad, angry, fearful, happy, spiteful–this energy spills into that bowl and swirls around. It’s not that I agree with each mood, but the bowl can be porous so the energy seeps inside of me and if it’s negative, then my energy gets pulled down and I become exhausted. Partly because I will work hard trying to help the person (if it’s appropriate) to fix the situation. If it’s positive, then I will be pulled up–which can be good sometimes. Either way, sometimes it feels my life isn’t my own. I’ve learned over time to regulate things much better, but it is still hard to filter. I appreciate your thoughtful responses! xo

  9. Eating the bowl from other people’s feelings… no I don’t think that is empathy, that is more like (at least to me anyhow) taking on others feelings rather than being empathetic. Empathy can happen only if there is separation.

  10. Google does know everything! I can only imagine her exhaustion. You watch the most interesting movies! Around here it’s a lot of cartoons and super heroesπŸ˜€I try to find ways to replenish by running and writing. These are things I generally do alone and I need that time.

  11. Ah, I remember those days!! I have 3 grown girls. πŸ™‚ Some of the movies are recommended by blog folks actually. I used to run for that very reason, but now it’s simply walking and yoga/meditation. And yes, blogging too. Wonderful thing. I wish I meet many of the bloggers. They are so wonderful. xo

  12. Maybe I said it wrong. I wouldn’t say I eat it then…just feel it deeply (share/understand as the definition is). In this understanding/sharing, I am affected. I’m human and highly sensitive. What can I say?

  13. Have you read The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron, PhD? You might see yourself in this overview of HSPs and get a lot of comfort out of her advice…I did!

  14. A friend actually gave me that book! Ha ha. I’ve gone through it, not cover to cover. Some of it applied, other parts not so much. It was an interesting read though. xo

  15. I found some parts of it useful too, like career choices (I write from home because I hate workplace politics) and relationship stuff (being aware that I may use sensitivity as an excuse for not doing things I probably should do). πŸ™‚

  16. Oh I would love to run my own business! Someday maybe. I forget about what it said about relationship stuff. I have some wonderful friendships, but very few. As far as love ones….well, I don’t try those anymore.

  17. I’m not sure if this is related, and I don’t know if this is a real term, but my mom and I are sympathetic criers. I think I am generally very empathetic and I let other people’s burdens affect me whether I know them well or not. But the oddest thing to me is that if I see someone crying and especially if their eyes are just read and it’s obvious they’re about to tear up, my own eyes will match theirs. It’s an uncontrollable response. Except there’s not always feelings attached to my own tears, I just see someone cry and I do as well.

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