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The Empathy Keeper – Taking on the Pain and Joy of Others

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Deep empathy is a computer chip I came out of the factory with. I’ve had it my entire life. Since I was a little girl, if someone was being teased or made fun of, I went totally banana-grams! And it goes both ways, I always seem to get more excited about other people’s good news than even they do—go figure!

“Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling, often to the point of taking on the pain of others at their own expense.” A. MEN.

I’m the Empathy Keeper in our parenting duo. I feel and anticipate the pain and joy of our children, our extended family… the mailman, Deb at Big Y—some days it feels like I think of every single person I’ve ever met. And it’s not that G-Man doesn’t feel empathetic, he just seems to ease his way into it, and has a more balanced handle on it. But, it’s incredibly difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t have this empath-chip how deeply draining it is to be flooded with so many feelings and emotions all day. And holy joes! I’m beginning to realize just how much of an impact being the Empathy Keeper has on my productivity level. Like perfectionism, I have to acknowledge my deep compassion when making decisions about how much I can take on. Tough-stuff when my circuitry is programmed to both celebrate and comfort everyone around me.

As things seem to be rapidly piling on my plate, it feels like the perfect time to CTFD and take time to get a better perspective on my life. I can’t keep adding things to my list, without taking other things off. Hmmm, I should probably start with not writing back the woman from Alaska. The one I know because she used to call me accidentally in the early 2000s trying to reach her great aunt in Washington state. She dialed 203 instead of 206—completely understandable mistake. That can wait… Right?


And (if you haven’t already)…


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  1. That’sme!

    • Thanks so much for checking in John. It’s exhausting work, right?
      “Still waters run deep.”
      Thank you for ALWAYS being such a kind, loving soul in my life.

  2. Ugh…. this is so true and so completely unrecognized by me…. until now .. thank you

    • You are very welcome.
      And in your defense, pretty sure you would classify yourself as growing up in the, “…OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT!” generation.
      It takes a long time for me to grant myself permission to do it/things/life another way.

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