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Why Do I Lack Empathy/Compassion?

I notice that I have a real issue genuinely feeling for others. A coworker tells me she has to go somewhere for her cancer and I fake compassion, but I don’t think I actually care. Another coworker has someone dying in the hospital, all day she complains about being tired, and all I wanna do is tell her that nobody cares about her problems and to shut up. I feel in the workplace that you shouldn’t discuss personal issues and complain so much about them because you’re there for work. When i see a mass casualty online I don’t feel anything about it. I find out someone dies, unless they’re close to me I don’t care. Essentially, unless an issue matters to me or the person having the issue isn’t close to me, I don’t care. Do I lack empathy? And if so why?

By definition, you lack empathy, but I think what you are describing is something, perhaps, a bit more than this. My guess is you don’t believe others care enough about you. Often we will feel toward others in a way that mirrors how we think others feel about us. I may certainly be wrong about this, but this would be the first thing I’d explore. I’d encourage you to experiment with a loving-kindness meditation (LKM). This may help develop both compassion and a feeling of being cared for. You can learn more a out a LKM and other similar ones here.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral



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