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April 6, 2021

Compassion Fatigue? That’s not a thing.

Taking care of yourself so that you can care for others is not just “okay”…it is vital.

Compassion fatigue? That’s not a thing.

(Okay: Compassion Fatigue is a thing, as is burnout—but not because compassion is finite).

Empathy is not a finite resource.

From a Buddhist point of view, true empathy is simply caring, from your heart, to another. It is not an act, or an action. It is self-existing, inherent, natural.

Caring arises directly out of your basically good human nature—which is inexhaustible, unconditional.

What’s exhausting is performative caring that isn’t rooted in our basic goodness. Sadly, caring or activism is often rooted not in empathy, but in aggression, ignorance, or clinging.

That doesn’t mean don’t care, or don’t act—that means meditate before you do so, for the rest of your life—and establish your intention as being of benefit, not soapboxing.

 

Note: Trungpa Rinpoche said that enlightenment was the ego’s ultimate insult…many commenters think that I’m saying they or we don’t get tired. We do. But it’s not because we’re exercising empathy. It’s because we’re viewing it as finite, which we all do. But it’s natural.

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