Let’s start first by defining empathy:
Empathy is, at its simplest, awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the connection between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves.
It is the capacity to tune in to experience with a warm, caring and genuine interest that allows us to understand the felt- experience. It is the ability to connect with other’s feelings at the moment and understand deeply what they are going through.
With emotional empathy, you feel the pain and suffering of the other person and will be involved in their stories ……, so you use your energy which will drain you gradually then you won’t be able to help the other person/ persons and hold space for them without attachment.
You actually feel other person’s emotions with attachment, you become emotionally involved in the situation. This is the type of response that can lead to caregiver’s burnout, which we want to prevent and be aware of it in order to replace it with compassionate empathy.
With compassionate empathy, you feel concern about other’s suffering, without being attached to their story, like hearing and observing with awareness and a desire to help the person in need. You will hold space for them to open up and release the mental and emotional pains they experience at the moment.
In order to be able to have compassionate empathy instead of an emotional one, you need to learn mindfulness and practice it regularly to build up the capacity to hold space. To feel concern about anyone’s suffering without attachment. When you observe and understand your own feelings every single day for a few minutes or more without judgement & biases, with kindness & curiosity, you will be able to listen deeply and understand other people’s feelings without judgement and attachment.
Finally, I suggest to all service professionals to practice mindfulness regularly and learn how to build up the space they need for themselves to express their compassion without being attached to one’s story and prevent burnout and compassionate fatigue.
Love & Blessing,