Discernment = balance

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like to live inside somebody else’s skin. Frederick Buechner in “Wishful Thinking.”

Compassion is a wonderful thing. It helps us to be kind to others. It is a gift. To be able to understand what someone else is going through on a deep level can be enlightening.

There is also another side to compassion. One can feel the pain so deeply that they are too involved. We have to have the ability to know that although we understand we are not that person. Sometimes people who feel other’s pain very deeply are called “empaths.” Empaths often have trouble removing themselves from the situation. They become so involved that it may not help the other person and can be harmful to them. That is why Buechner calls it a “sometimes fatal capacity.”

This is one of those things for which we have to find balance. Compassion is needed for us to be loving people. But we do have to be able to discriminate between what is enough and what is too much? It can be a tricky thing to do.

4 thoughts on “Discernment = balance

  1. I am an empath and I have to work very hard to keep things from penetrating my little head. If I don’t, I find myself physically ill and emotionally drained. This is why I don’t watch or read the news daily. I am off of Facebook too. I just can’t…. Thankfully, I have a strong faith and I am learning how to stay compassionate and healthy.

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      1. I am pretty good with setting boundaries with people. I am a tender cookie, but I have very strong convictions. My problem is that I pick up on ‘vibes’ for lack of a better word. I am like a sponge and when I am in the company of people, I take on their emotional state. It just happens. That’s why I thrived during the stay-at-home order. It was just me, my husband, son and doggo with lots and lots of nature!

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