The textbook definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others." It sounds simple enough because after all, the majority of the human race has some form of empathy. Yet, so few people feel they have too much empathy. How can that be? When empathy is such a kindhearted thing, how can it be possible to have too much of a good thing?
You’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve felt like, or someone even told you that, you cared a little more than you should have. Maybe you find yourself in this situation a lot. Trust me, I've been there. You can't help but constantly think about others and how the comings and goings of daily life affect them and if there is anything you can do to help them. When someone hurts you, you can't understand how someone can do that to another person. It can be a disheartening thing, really. When you think about the people who have wronged you, those toxic people you needed to cut out, you can’t help but wonder how they’re doing: If they had their feelings hurt, if there was anything you could have done differently, if this whole thing was your fault. Being an empathetic person like you are can be an incredibly lonely thing sometimes.
But still, keep doing you. It’s true, not everyone you encounter throughout your life will be able to understand other people as well as you do. It can be both a blessing and a curse, you will come to realize. That doesn’t mean you should change this aspect of yourself just because you might not see it in others as much as you would like to. After all, where would we be without people like you?
That being said, try to seek out the other people in your life who care "too much" and thank them: People like the stranger who smiled at you on the street, the man who gave up his seat for you on the bus this morning, the friend who listens to your rants about the latest dramatic episode of the soap opera that is your love life. These small acts of caring too much often go unnoticed which is really a shame because these are the types of things that can turn a bad day good.
There will be people who take advantage of this. They may see your kindness as a way to step all over you and mold you into any shape they can. They do this because they know that eventually, you’ll forgive them because you just care so much, right? Wrong. Use your powers to help yourself. Empathy may be the ability to care for others, but don’t forget to care too much about yourself as well.
In conclusion, always remember that there is nothing wrong with caring "too much," despite the stigma that society creates. People may try to change you, they may try to tell you to stop "worrying." Here's a secret: There's a big difference between worrying and caring and finding that difference will help you immensely on life's journey. At the end of the day, caring too much is what makes the world go around.
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