Restoring Radical Empathy: I’ve drained my empathetic listening tank.

by sarahbeahan

I’ve learned about compassion fatigue. Those of us whose jobs (or relationships, for that matter) rely on compassionate listening often find ourselves facing burn out. It’s a fact of the job. Our trainer in my last position, a brilliant and kind therapist, taught us this: the only way to refill that cup of empathy is by having someone empathetically listen to you.

All the yoga and running and boundary setting in the world is a drop in the bucket compared to someone listening, really listening with genuine care. Why do you think so many social workers and other mental health professionals are in therapy?

This makes me think two things:

My anger at anyone offering love as an answer is just that, fatigue at trying to thoughtfully, kindly, empathetically engage and connect about things I feel passionate about

. All the comments about “colorblindness” and “coddled college kids” and “taking care of our own” have left me bone dry.

I’ve drained my empathetic listening tank.