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Mon 01 November 2021

The Pros and Cons of Empathy and Feeling

Meet Cassie, an amazing clinician who whilst trying to fix herself, discovered the very thing she was trying to fix didn't need to be fixed at all.

I have been emotional my whole life. I feel everything so intensely, all of the time.

If someone was having a hard time, I would run through all the scenarios of what I might be able to help with. If I was in trouble, it would be earth shattering. If someone made a passing comment, it would bother me for days. If I got negative feedback, it would hit me in my soul. If I hadn’t done something exactly right, it would be earth shattering and I would feel like a failure for letting people down. If people had something happening with them, I would take on all the possible variables and fight hard for a good outcome because I could not stand someone feeling troubled or distressed.

I have always been hard on myself for not being enough. I felt this innate pressure to do better, to try harder, to make people happy, and to fix what was broken – but at what cost, I genuinely don’t know because I don’t know another way.

I was always confused as to why I had to feel all these feelings, all so intensely, at all times. Why was the world so heavy and hard? I also spent a LOT of time angry and frustrated that no one understood me. Why was I so different?

I have been accused of being emotionally manipulative when it’s perceived that I am over reacting about situations or events. People have gotten frustrated with me for feeling too much or showing too much emotion. I have been called a cry baby and dramatic. I have been over involved and often help too much. Boundaries and self-care are not my strong points - I am a work in progress.

As I have gotten older and done my professional training, I have embraced who I am and I have owned my truth. I see the alternative narrative now, my ability to deeply connect and emotionally empathise makes me who I am. Furthermore, it has afforded me the opportunity to create a real difference with the people I work with. Genuine empathy leads to connection and a safe space for people to be truly vulnerable – this is where I can make a difference. Trying to make sense of my world, I accidentally found my place.

The one thing that I have questioned about myself my whole life, that has been tried to be fixed and baffled others, is the thing that I now love most about myself and now brings me peace and joy, but more importantly – purpose!

I still cry and I always will. When I stop feeling this intensely or emotionally reacting then I will know something is truly wrong.

Find the things that define you, even if you feel misunderstood - embrace them and use them for the foundation of your drive and purpose in life. Don’t let anyone make you question your worth.