Compassionate empathy is different from the other types of empathy as it offers space for mutual sharing of experiences. Psychoanalysts Mark B. Borg, Jr, Ph.D., Grant H. Brenner, MD, & Daniel Berry, RN, MHA explain “While empathy can be all-absorbing (consuming) and leave one totally empty and burned-out, to the point that one loses a sense of one’s own boundaries, compassionate empathy allows behaviors that allow profound feelings of connection to another person, without danger to one’s own emotional balance because the compassion applies to oneself and others.” When caregiving becomes mandatory and compulsive, empathy can become weak and distorted. However, compassionate empathy is driven by caregiving and relieving others of their pain. Borg, Brenner, and Berry believe that the antidote to compulsion is compassion.
Compassionate empathy involves the perfect balance of both thinking and feeling with loving & kind detachment. It enables us to appropriately respond to a situation utilizing our emotional intelligence. Instead of being burned out or overwhelmed, we learn how to balance compassion with self-awareness. And when this compassion is coupled with genuine empathy, we are driven to take the right action to help another person in pain. It enables us to identify, understand & sympathize with someone and help them to resolve their problems.
Put yourself in others’ shoes
Empathy is a superpower. It makes us human and empowers us to make our society a better place for everyone. The different forms of empathy mentioned above are the basic types and although they may be known by different names, they all can be majorly categorized under the 3 distinct categories mentioned here. Learning about the types of empathy can help us identify and understand our own empathic abilities and take necessary action to offer help to someone who needs it. It can help you be more authentic when being empathic towards your loved ones and others.
Read also: Why Empathy Must Start With You