Did you know that there are two sides to empathy? One is positive and this is the form of empathy that we use when we want to understand others feelings and connect in a caring way. The other side of empathy is negative. This is the form of empathy that occurs when we take on others’ shared and difficult emotions. By tuning into others, we feel drained by their pain and cannot always turn it off the empathy dial to take time for ourselves and decompress.
However, we can guard ourselves against the negative side of empathy by utilizing emotion regulation. Emotion regulation can be defined as our ability to maintain and modulate our emotions and is learned in childhood and adolescence. More on this in our later posts.
During these unprecedented times when there is loss and grief around us and is constantly shared, remember that empathy has two sides. Being fully engaged in empathy includes skills that allow us to separate our feelings from others who share their feelings around us. This is a friendly reminder to take time for yourself after supporting others. It’s hard to pour from an empty glass.
Call Safe and Sound Therapeutics for more information about empathy and emotion regulation.