Personally, I express more sympathy than empathy for other people. The people who are closest to me, depending on the situation, I will likely have empathy for them. I feel the feelings they feel, and I take it just as hard, or great as they do. I experienced this in two different situations recently. The first- one of my closest friends lost her brother. Now… I have never lost a sibling, so I couldn’t exactly feel for her, but I do know what it is like to lose someone significant in your life. My first reaction was shock, and in the moments that I wasn’t talking, or trying to comfort her, I would feel all the feelings myself and get it out. The second situation was with another great friend of mine who had a current life changing situation happen to her that is more frustrating than anything. I felt that frustration for her BIG time, and I still do.
I feel a lot. I feel everything, and sometimes to the extremes. Luckily, because of the medication, I am more on a straight line than have major ups and downs. Situations seem to hit me out of nowhere, and then when you throw emotions in to match what your friends are going through, it can seem overwhelming at times. How do you balance both? It has definitely been a struggle for me, but I have realized that I will never not feel for my friends, no matter good or bad. Family included.
With those that I don’t know well, or don’t know at all… I still feel for them, but it is sympathy. I care and understand where they are coming from and why they feel the way that they do, but it doesn’t mean that I am feeling it myself. Experiencing the same feelings that others have is a much deeper connection, so I save it for those that are very important in my life. I don’t think that necessarily makes me a bad person, but I also need to care for myself. If I was constantly feeling every emotion of every single person around me… well just imagining that makes me feel like my head would explode!
Heightened emotions get my anxiety going. It makes it difficult to control, which is why I do my best not to let things pile up. I am definitely a person who needs to address and solve any conflict or misunderstanding right away. And I mean RIGHT away. Sitting and waiting on something to address to me is so extremely stressful. I need to let my emotions out asap, or they get wild!
It has been important to me to make sure that I express the correct emotion in any situation. Something I will continue to work on.