A life lived with compassion for others is a wonderful thing, yet why do the people we love the most seem to be the first to annoy, frustrate, and discourage us?
If you find yourself losing patience, finding fault with everyone around you, and feeling more and more detached from your loves ones and caregiving responsibilities, you may be suffering from Compassion Fatigue. Here are ways to identify compassion fatigue, address it, and create compassion stamina. Be compassionate with yourself and take the time to learn the symptoms as well as the remedy.
What is Compassion Fatigue?
Ironically, if you spend most of your day running a household, caregiving for an elderly person, or work in a helping profession you may have never heard about compassion fatigue. The process of caring for others can be emotionally and physically draining. If only compassion didn’t come with a price, but when we continually reach out to others who need our help we put ourselves at risk for feeling stressed out, hopeless, and chronically tired. We may also experience self-doubt, anxiety, and negative thoughts about ourselves and those around us. Even if we refocus our efforts, be more loving and more dedicated to those around us, it doesn’t work. Fatigue sets in, and our compassion begins to check out. Compassion Fatigue is the loss of ability to love and support those around us due to constant, ongoing caregiving responsibiilities. First step to doing something about it is knowing you have it!
Why is everyone else so annoying?
Good possibility that there are annoying situations in your life. But when you find everyone and everything annoying than you may be tired of giving out all the good vibes. Quick to argue? Tuning out when you should be tuning in? Could be that all the compassion you provide is taking a toll on your patience.
I’m always so tired
We aren’t built for round-the-clock compassion. We may even have spiritual, religious values that speak to caring for others in a selfless way. Nothing wrong with that, unless that is all you are doing! From a physical standpoint we need rest, rejuvenation. Even Mother Theresa was fatigued, so don’t take it personally when you don’t have the energy to care as much as you want to. We simply need our rest.
I hate what I’m doing
Whether it’s a relationship or job caring for others when we are exhausted and stressed from caring we begin to resent what we care about. Most classically defined as “burn-out” in the job market, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to us, what motivates us, when we continually give to others and lack the time to recover and recuperate. This feeling feeds into being resentful, angry, and annoyed with the ones we care for, and may cause detachment and ambivalence towards the people we care about the most.
I’m don’t think I can do this anymore
Finally, we reach a point where we can’t sustain the effort, we haven’t taken a break, and there is no end in sight to our responsibilities caring for others. Hopelessness may set in, and we lose faith in our own abilities to care for others, which compounds the stress and negativity we are already experiencing.