Monday, May 23, 2011

Empathizing a little to much?

My husband has always worked in the sales industry for software companies. They are quota and quarterly driven. In other words, every quarter they have to sell a certain dollar amount of software. Mind you, this is not an industry for the weak-hearted.

Ten years ago, I used to get on the roller coaster ride with him. He’d come home and say, “We’re going to miss our number this quarter and it’s going to be a disaster.” So I would react to that with, “Oh My God! What are we going to do? How are we going to pay our bills and so on?” Then the last week of the quarter would come and he’d say, “You know what, this deal that I’ve been working on is actually going to come through and we are going to exceed our number for the quarter. Isn’t that great?” I don’t know, is it?

I’ve come a long way … or have I?

I’ve come a long way from those days of worry. I’ve studied the Law of Attraction and the power of being positive. I’ve realized that our thoughts are energy and what goes around will eventually come back around. I’ve trained myself to be positive and not let the ups and downs of someone else’s journey affect me.

So now I find myself wondering why I’ve regressed to that point of 10 years ago again. I have to say I’m not quite as bad as I was, but I have been finding myself empathizing a little too much again. I need a refresher course. I need to remind myself that we are all on a journey called life. We all have chosen the challenges and lessons we’d like to overcome and no one can take that on for someone else.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of challenges and I have to honestly say that I probably wouldn’t trade any of my experiences in for anyone else’s. Death is the only one that I have a hard time saying that I’m OK with, but the reality of it is that life has birth and death in it.

We all have choices in life

I have had to remind myself lately that we are the creators of our life. We have the choice to be happy or to sit in a corner and sulk. Experiences will come our way and it is up to us to allow them to bother us or not. I haven’t been as good about that lately. I have chosen to get sick to my stomach about a lot of things.

We are all intuitive beings and very open energetically to experiences around us. My teacher used to say that if you find yourself sad for no reason, turn on the news and maybe you’ve somehow tuned into some disaster or situation somewhere. I have found that to be true on numerous occasions.

I was reading the other day about Mark Kelly’s space mission. He talked about the beauty of the Earth when viewed from space and how it’s hard to believe all the suffering that happens on it. He also talked about everyone doing their part in taking care of the Earth. I thought about that statement for a while after I read it. The only thing we can do is our part. We can’t do anyone else’s work.

I am very passionate about recycling, but my husband is not. I find recyclable plastic bottles in the trash all the time. I dig them out and put them in the recycling bin. I am not with him all the time though. He will be in a hotel somewhere and throw out a plastic shampoo bottle in the trash. All I can do is my part.

Having compassion is very different than feeling sorry for someone

What I truly am talking about is empathizing to a point where I am robbing them of their experience. I never say the words, “Poor such and such.” I find that to be a very victimizing statement. I will always have compassion because naturally that is who I am. My mom always says, “Do your part and leave the rest to God.” I’ve always found that to be a comforting statement.

I recently donated to a maternity hospital in Somalia called Edna Adan University hospital. Apparently, that part of the world is among the highest in infant and maternal mortality rates. I felt awful reading about it, but at the same time I was grateful that this wonderful woman has dedicated her life to helping these mothers and children. I also was grateful to be able to contribute to their well-being in some small financial way. That’s a much better approach than feeling hopeless and bad about it. Obviously, I just have to remind myself of that attitude more. If you’d like to check out this hospital, the link is as follows:

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Obviously, I have to continue reading “The Art of Happiness!”


  1. This is such a challenge for me! I have of late really had to work on this very topic. Also (and this is ridiculous, but true), I find that I have to start limiting my TV "intake" because I empathize with the people on the shows and it sucks my energy right away. And I definitely ride my husband's career roller-coaster, too - the anxiety over what his schedule will be this month, what will the airline do next to change policy (not for the benefit of the pilots), will he pass his annual checkride exam, etc., etc. Thanks for posting!

  2. Mary,

    I do the same thing with TV. I quit watching the news a long time ago. I used to read it online but lately I've found that totally drains me as well.

    I am trying to get back to that place of realizing that all is well because it is. My husband came home for lunch and told me about an issue he had at work. I think I would've gotten sucked right into the drama had I not written this post just a few hours ago.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! It's good to know I'm not alone.

  3. I tend to be a mood matcher and I am working on that. When my husband is irritable or down in some way I tend to lower my own mood in a ridiculous yet somewhat unconscious effort to be supportive or respectful. It doesn't do either of us any good, I know.

    I also stopped TV and newspapers for that reason. Even my once beloved NPR is too much for me. If I can't do anything about it it is not helpful for me to hear because it affects me too much.

  4. Tracy,

    I totally know what you're talking about. I used to the same with anyone who complained about anything. If my friend was having issues with her husband, I'd figure out how to complain about mine, if she was having issues with work or kids or whatever, I would also find something to complain about too. I felt that I was making her feel better about her situation but the end result was I was feeling awful about nothing that warranted that. I had to work hard on changing that behavior.