Empathy is foundational for the human race to sense the stresses, struggles and emotions of another human being. Without empathy we are walking, talking stone-like statues. It is empathy that stirs our hearts to assist those that are in need. It is empathy that gives us the ability is to recognize that those around us are human too with needs similar to our own.
Empathy can also hook us and bring us down to our knees if we take on the burdens of the world and carry those burdens on our backs as if we are the only ones who can carry it for the world. People tell me that they can no longer go to shopping malls or even the grocery without being crushed by all the problems around them. We cannot and are not meant to carry the weight of their burdens. We will eventually be crushed and consumed by it.
We are not meant to be crushed. The true meaning of empathy is to hold the brightest light for others. We are meant to illuminate the pathway out of their darkness. That is the true meaning of empathy.