How often have you had the experience of connecting with someone – a friend or a potential partner – who turns out to be an uncaring person? At first you think this is a really good person, and then down the line you discover that the person is self-centered, narcissistic, angry and uncaring. You wonder how you could be so wrong, and what can you do differently next time?
I have discovered in my many years of counseling that people seem to decide very early in their lives whether or not they want to care about and have compassion for others' feelings. As a result, people have different levels of willingness to feel others' feelings. Some of us deeply feel others' pain and joy, while other people don't. Some people can recall caring about others' pain and joy from a very young age, while other people remember being concerned mostly with their own feelings and needs.
The people who have chosen the deeper level of compassion are often the ones that become the caretakers, while the less compassionate people become the takers. Caretakers are people who have learned to take responsibility for others' feelings and wellbeing, while takers are people who expect others to take responsibility for their feelings and wellbeing and often blame others when they don't take on this responsibility. Keep reading...
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