Do you ever have days when you feel like you just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with someone else?
It’s a tricky business, navigating difficult times. We want to be there for others, but all the while know we need to take care of ourselves.
I often talk about the fact that we know self-care is important. But when our personal rule book says we “should” keep busy or that having a rest is “lazy”, taking care of ourselves becomes secondary to everything else.
It’s one of the reasons why, we start to lose patience with people. Why you might snap at someone you didn’t mean to, or act like you don’t care when someone else is struggling. We are all born compassionate, so when our empathy for others starts eroding or we’re on the receiving end of someone else’s lack of it, it can be a warning sign. It’s a measure of resilience and a sign of burn out.
Jamil Zaki explains that empathy is not a trait (a characteristic you either have or you don’t), it’s a skill. We know this because researchers found if they paid people to show more empathy, they could do it. However, Zaki also warns that collectively there is an empathy shortage; we have significantly less empathy as a society than we did fifty years ago; it’s the very medicine the world needs right now.
The good news is empathy is not just a precious resource, it’s also a renewable one.
So how can we protect it?
This week, maybe set the intention to Heal the Gap. If you suspect you may be on the way to burnout (e.g. you’re feeling negative, cynical or exhausted) then self-care becomes almost mandatory. This article offers 10 simple ways to start putting your well-being first. It includes building in “breathing space” and setting healthy boundaries.
If someone else’s lack of empathy has caused you pain or stoked feelings of unworthiness, remind yourself that you matter and you’re worthy of love and belonging. You could ask them, if it’s unlike them, if they’re alright because they may not be ok.
Consider also talking about your feelings in a way that’s helpful to you, especially if someone else’s actions have taken their toll. And remember that you are always worthy of kindness and respect from others; to be gifted time and space to be heard and to be you. Every. Single. Day.
For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here
Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021