Are all forms of empathy good? Can you be TOO empathic? If so… so, and what does that look like in a life?

Empathy is often thought of in 3 different buckets:

Cognitive empathy

This is a more mental exercise and has elements of thoughtfulness, and careful consideration of the experience of another. It’s best thought of as “being able to walk in someone else’s shoes” for a moment… you consider their circumstances and situation. While some feel this is the most detached form of empathy, it often allows us to respond in an appropriate, and well measured way – in service of supporting another.

Affective empathy

This is much more of an emotional empathic experience. You may actually find yourself feeling the interior experience, emotionally of another person. This sort of empathy is often called “emotional contagion” as people who are high in affective empathy, often find ourselves being subsumed by the emotions of another. (and it can sometimes leave us helpless, in relieving their pain or problems)

Compassionate empathy

This is the best of both worlds above – you feel the pain and suffering of the other, and are animated by a deep desire to relieve that suffering. Compassionate empathy is loving kindness, in the presence of suffering, with a deep desire to help!

Your turn…..

What sort of empathy do you feel most often? Share with us in the community comments below!

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