We are all suckers...
What an attention grabber, but I mean it in the nicest possible way!
It is what I call the Dyson Effect where we Hoover (look at me go with the brand association) up the emotions of others. And like a vacuum cleaner we internalise what is going on around us, bag it up and call it empathy, then keep it within until we can empty the bag. When the bag is full we explode ourselves but often not from our own life challenges, it's from what we have sucked up! It is a grim picture and some do it more than others.
Is being a human vacuum for emotions sustainable and even healthy?
The answer is no for you but often yes for the other person. So what is the answer to this perplexing reality of life? Stop it (or at least part of it).
We are emotional beings and we have our highs and lows which may be mental or may be physical with both being intertwined and dependent on the day! Lets face it, managing ourselves is hard enough without taking on someone else's problems and emotions- and this is the kicker - empathy is actually not about taking it on and internalising, that would be sympathy. Because sympathy is imagining the same thing happening to you and relating that to what you would do. That's why two people can often end up crying when the situation actually only affects one.
Simply put empathy is understanding an emotional reaction and cutting some slack.
We cannot stop being emotion vacuums, it is simply one of the things that make us human- but we can operate like a broken vacuum that has a torn bag or no collection canister and let the dust pass straight through!
It takes hard work and practice to let it flow through and still be seen to be doing your leadership role (I can just see the clean freaks shuddering at the image of a vacuum pumping out everything it sucks up...) however like any good vacuum you only have limited capacity to hold stuff within.
Don't just be a sucker, be a blower as well- you will feel more in control if you do.
Chris Phillips (CEO)
Chris is a human capital expert who works with individuals and organisations for exceptional results in his current role as CEO of Grey Matta Solutions.