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Empathy: How Your Greatest Strength Can Hurt You

Podcasts

Aug 02

​Have you ever been told to toughen up? To suppress your feelings? To stop being such a baby about things?

​Empathetic people are often accused of feeling things too deeply and made to feel that there's something wrong with their level of compassion and concern.

Sometimes we internalize that message and beat ourselves up for the depth of our feelings. We tell ourselves that we should be able to ​compartmentalize, just put the hardest parts of the job into lockbox and hide it away.

But the best way for us to deal with the challenges of our jobs is share how we're feeling, not hide it!

Fiia Jokela, DVM, DABVP, talked with me about her 28 years of experience as a veterinarian. For her, developing a specialization in behavior helped to rekindle her enthusiasm by virtue of learning something new and by strengthening her collegial contacts. (Our brains love both of these things!)

We are wired to connect. We can't lock our hearts away to protect them. ​Doing so ​​diminishes our positive emotions every bit as much as the negative ones until we simply become numb--and that's no way to live.

​​A few questions for you:

  • Who can you talk to when you are feeling stressed? Who will listen without judgment and help you move forward?
  • What is ​one great thing that happened at work this week? What could you do to make it happen again?
  • What do you feel is missing in your life right now? What's one thing you could do to move toward it?

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