When we, as parents, hyper-empathize with our children,
The children’s lives feel like our own.
When we, as founders, hyper-empathize with our companies,
the companies’ lives feel like our own.
So much so that we’re willing to sacrifice our health to keep them alive.
Sacrificing our health to keep our company alive
Can produce behaviors critical to the well-being of our company
In its early stages of development.
But as our company develops—as do our children—
Some of our “sacrificial” behaviors born out of care
Can also stifle its development,
Not to mention fuel our frustration, resentment, and disappointment,
As we can’t help but take everything personally,
When we hyper-empathize.
He does what he does,
for the good of others.
Just as caregivers & leaders unintentionally hurt others,
while merely trying to solve these others’ problems,
so does he.
In his pursuit to fulfill his need for balance,
he also hyper-empathizes with humanity
and assumes that they, too, desire to fulfill this need.
This is a fallacy.
To reckon with this fallacy
and to connect with the present need of humanity,
he has to see them in the eyes.
He has to be willing to realize his empathy directly,
not through imagination,
but through conversation,
which he never does.
Why would he?
After all, he cares.
He has good intentions.
Many of us think that’s enough.
Why would he think different?
Imagine two circles: self & other.
Not empathizing is them separated,
Empathizing is them intersecting,
Hyper-empathizing is them overlapping.
When we hyper-empathize,
we lose any boundary or distinctions between self vs other, and
our sense of identity becomes significantly affected.
A mother throwing herself to save her child
A business owner who feels like a failure
because her company has failed,
and kills herself,
It’s important we learn the ability
to notice when hyper-empathizing works against us, so as
to choose another way of being.
Let us not unwillingly fall prey
to the whims of others.