Care is Not the Only Fuel for Realizing Empathy

One of the most important things we learn
in our journey
of realizing empathy

is that our care
can actually get in the way
of realizing empathy.

Care is good,
but as a fuel for realizing empathy,
it often burns too quickly.

And once it burns out,
what’s left
are residues
of bitterness,
frustration,
and resentment.

Appreciation
is an alternative fuel
for realizing empathy.

It is not an intuitive fuel to use.
It is also not as strong.
But it is powerful enough
in most cases.
It is also more sustainable.

There are different fuels
we can choose to use
when working towards
realizing empathy.

Let us choose
appropriately.


p.s: My colleague Julia Dorbic was gracious enough to interview me on a related topic called Bringing Design to Human-Human Interactions​.

2 thoughts on “Care is Not the Only Fuel for Realizing Empathy

  1. I love the idea of another tool in realizing empathy. I’ve definitely found myself at a point where I skip over someone’s story, avoid a conversation, or scroll past a topic I usually care about, because for whatever reason, at that time, I feel like I’m too tired to care. The phenomenon that affects caregivers — I’ve heard it called “compassion fatigue” — seems to be affecting more and more people in a technologically-facilitated global community, since anywhere we turn, we’re seeing tens (or hundreds, or tens of thousands) of people with situations that should elicit empathy. Trying to use our limited energy to care for everything we encounter is impossible. But I love the idea that, instead of foregoing empathy in cases of fatigue, we can fuel our empathy with something else entirely. Thanks for sharing your insight!

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