Being Careful with Empathy
Set the intention that you are going to observe your human interactions.
You may wish to set a time frame in which to do this. You may wish to set the intention:
For the next two weeks I will engage my Observer Self in all my interaction with others.
Begin by practising stepping into the shoes of your Observer Self.
This is the wisest version of the self. It bears witness to all situations by collecting information without judgement or emotion. By doing this it is possible to observe your own emotions and behaviours during interactions without becoming consumed by them. Your Observer Self can collect the information so that you can record it on paper or recount it to someone later. It is the one aware of the emotion, it is not the one feeling it.
Begin to notice when you have the impulse to engage in empathy. You can practise this skill for as long as you need to before taking the process further.
Our previous article about Observing your Emotions in Difficult Times also describes this process.
Once you have cultivated the habit of observing your interactions you can then progress.
This will allow you to process the information that you have gathered. You can now begin to make conscious choices in your interactions with others. When your Observer Self signals to you that you felt called towards an empathic response; you can choose which way to go based on the needs of all concerned. There is no winning or losing when engaging in this practice.
All observation provides valuable information, and all conscious choices produce outcomes, which do the same.