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  • Writer's pictureJason Kiesau


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Empathy is a good thing. It's a key trait, a key skill in building relationship and trust with others. I probably talk about empathy in 90% of my work with clients. Those who can empathize seem to be humanized more than those who tend to struggle with it. But, there are risks and blind-spots with empathy.

  • Your empathy for others may be more about you than them. It's more about you feeling good than it is about the realities of their situation.

  • Your empathy may lead you to compromise your boundaries and standards. In the spirit of supporting others, you may disregard your needs and well-being.

  • Your empathy may actually enable others and hold them back. If others receive your empathy as validation for unproductive thoughts and feelings, they may stay in that place longer. How can you empathize while encouraging and challenging them?

  • Your empathy may be holding you back from reaching your potential and achieving your goals. People who tend to be more relational can easily become distracted when something is off with others and/or they see another person suffering. It's easy to lose focus on the big picture and get consumed with the current emergency.

Like many things, empathy needs to be used intentionally and in moderation. A lack of empathy management can have some big impacts on our quality of life and relationships with others. So, empathize in moderation.

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