I caught wind of a study to be released in Health Psychology that examines the psychological and physiological effects of parental EMPATHY on a child.
Dictionary.com defines empathy as:
1. the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.
Not to be confused for sympathy, when you feel badly for someone, empathy is when you feel WITH someone. You truly understand.
Who doesn’t want to be empathized with?
When genuine, which only empathy can be, it is awesome.
The study found that kids who have parents who are empathic are better at regulating their moods and have lower markers of inflammation. Both of these things are GOOD.
Interestingly enough, the study shows that parents who rank high on empathy have higher self-esteem and purpose in life, but also seem to have higher levels of inflammation: NOT GOOD!
What is that about?
How can empathy be BAD for you and cause you inflammation?
Commentaries have noted that parents with higher levels of empathy tend to subjugate their own needs as a result.
Let’s cut the crap already.
Take care of yourself.
It’s BAD for you when you’re so empathic that you forget about yourself. That you don’t prioritize your own self-care, exercise, sleep, whatever you need to be your best. Because you’re too busy being such an empathic martyr.
Let’s be careful — let’s not demonize empathy.
You can love the hell out of your kid and take care of yourself.
It simply comes down to getting over yourself and putting the right kinds of support structures in place so that you can get your needs met too.
Couples run into problems with or without kids when they don’t know what those needs are or how to get them met.
Do yourself, your partner and most of all your kids a favor and figure that out.
I believe you can be empathic without the inflammation.
And I believe we’re all screwed if you can’t figure that out.
When you’ve got a business, a partner and kids, it’s not always easy, but YOU need to enter YOURSELF into the equation so that whole inflammation thing doesn’t lead to some grave disease that will render you helpless and at the mercy of everyone else’s care, resenting everyone around you. No thanks.
Empathy is the glue that holds us together and we need in spades.
Just remember to empathize with yourself.
Don’t feel guilty about that extra yoga class you go to, trust that you’re doing yourself, your family and your business good. Then you’ll have that much more emotional space to feel for your kids and your partner. Sans inflammation.
Cheers to thriving in business & love,