Can Empathy Lead to Apathy?
I spend a fair amount of energy attempting to cajole others to become informed, to take part in causes near and dear to their hearts, to be active citizens by voting and keeping up with their elected officials. I do this because I firmly believe that in some small way, such activity and behavior will make a difference.
There have been times I've defended the apathetic, presenting what I felt were some reasons for the lack of concern about issues. I get that many individuals and families have all they can do to get through each day, to put food on the table, to find or keep a roof over their heads.
Never once did I imagine I might drift into apathy myself.
I find that at times I feel I can't possibly read another news article or listen to a news program. As much as I usually hunger for information, for learning about my fellow human beings around the world, sometimes I am simply overwhelmed.
I feel helpless to do much of anything of substance to take corrective action about even the smallest thing -- but when it comes to people, there really are no small things, are there?
My empathy works against me in times like this. I feel too much and internalize the hopelessness, injustices and despair.
I have an improved understanding of yet another reason why a person may become apathetic. I don't want to become that way, so I take a stand back, some deep breaths -- and push forward.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all this is going on in your town, your country, in the world? How do you handle it?
Image Credit » Mike Sansone CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikesansone/4293930581/in/photolist