If there’s one thing that empathetic people are tired of hearing, it’s that we have it easy. You understand other people! You’re sensitive to when people need something from you!

Everything seems like it’s under control, right?

Wrong. The issue with everything, as we’re taught from birth, is maintaining the right balance. The balance between emotional empathy and compassion, but also prioritizing yourself and knowing how to say ‘no’. 

Saying ‘no’ is basically kryptonite to an empathetic person. It’s worse than normal people making time for themselves, because, for an empathetic person who is so highly attuned to other people, we can never value our own time. 

Certainly not as worthy as someone else’s. that’s why we so often face mental health problems of our own, despite seeming so well-adjusted on the face of it. That’s the issue with empathetic people, a lot of it comes from a well-meaning place of interest. 

But sometimes it can feel like a performance.

And that’s where we begin to overthink things and doubt ourselves. Suddenly, just because we’ve said no to one person – having wrestled with it for days – we’re the worst person on earth. 

Not only do we feel bad for letting the other person down, even though it’s totally reasonable and they probably thought nothing of it, but we also don’t even end up using our ‘me time’ effectively. We’re so stressed and anxious about other people that life can pass us by.

In short, we risk being so empathetic to other people that there’s no room left for us to look after ourselves properly. It also means that we are so undervaluing ourselves that we start to think that we’re the only people who make mistakes on the earth. 

Even though we’re so attuned to everyone else’s behavior, it’s really hard to sense what anyone is truly thinking. We barely notice when anyone else makes a mistake, but never give ourselves credit for surviving such an emotionally chaotic world. 

More still, we start to give our time away to people that don’t deserve it. Assholes can lord over us because we let them. We start to lose our sense of the world and our place in it. It’s almost masochistic, but it’s just how we are wired.

We don’t know any different. 

Indeed, it’s hard to withdraw these empathetic ways. Not to say that all forms of empathy are bad, obviously, that’s not the case. But in extreme doses without regulation, you do have to be careful as an empathetic person. Careful that you don’t start letting your own issues pile up. 

Make no mistake, just because you care about other people does not mean that you automatically receive the same back in return. That’s the bitterest and toughest pill to swallow. 

You can be putting time and effort, even money, into relationships. People that simply don’t prioritize you in the same way. And, because you’re so attuned to them, you often have to bear the brunt of actually recognizing when relationships become more distant.

Or when you can see behind the façade of all the ‘nice guys’ that your friend goes out with. It’s hard to be the downer, the realist that has to tell her that her guy is cheating on her. But someone has to. It’s really tough and a problem that empathetic people feel all the time. 

You can’t avoid it.

You know better than most that the emotional trade-off is much better in the long term. Everyone has to accept this.

Equally, though – empathetic people out there, there is a solution to this!

Even if you feel that people aren’t listening to your needs, or taking you for granted, change your behavior. Not just in response to them! Be less available, or firmly communicate your needs. 

You don’t need to threaten your entire relationships. But, if you can’t be honest with them and you face so many problems… You have to reflect on whether they’re really serving you.