too much compassion?

A friend of mine poured their heart out to me the other day.  This friend knows I willingly listen, and everyone sometimes needs someone just to listen.

I care about this person.  They are hurting and that makes me hurt.  I feel compassion for my friend, too much compassion I think.

The World English Dictionary defines compassion as:

a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it

That is pretty much how I feel.  It’s something I feel when someone I care about has a serious problem they can’t solve.  Sometimes it’s a life changing situation they do/did not want to happen.  Sometimes it’s something involving someone who doesn’t admit they’re part of the problem.  There is a myriad of serious problems.

But I think I feel too much compassion.  As I sit here writing, I am thinking of the conversation and how much my friend is hurting.  It brings tears to my eyes.  It’s not easy for me to stop thinking about their situation and trying to make it hurt less for them.

It makes me sad when I can’t do anything.  I want to fix whatever it is that makes my friend hurt, even though I’m powerless to so.  I know I can’t fix it.  I know my friend will be hurting for a while and I can’t take away that hurt.

All I want is take away their pain.

I don’t know how to be any less compassionate than I am.  Many people I know would be sympathetic and just let their sympathy pass once the talk was over and the person was no longer there.  I wish that was me, but it’s not how I’m built.

I sometimes wonder how could I let the hurt of those I care about affect me so much when I have enough in my own life that affects my emotions.  I have no answer for that.

So I’ll just be here for my friend, sending them my love and support in email, instant messages, phone calls, or any other way I can.

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4 Responses to too much compassion?

  1. Listening and letting people talk won’t solve their problems, but it helps.

  2. barb19 says:

    I used to feel like you, having that feeling of too much compassion.
    Years ago, my sister-in-law was going through a really dark time in her life and all I wanted to do was take away her pain, even if it meant I had to carry it myself. I would cry for her, thinking of ways to help. I ended up having a nervous breakdown because I got so involved in her pain.
    It taught me that we can’t solve other people’s problems, no matter how hard we try and want to. It’s hard, but you have to learn to stand back a little.
    Just being a good listener will help your friend.

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