Tag Archives: #Narcissism

From frown and fight to freeze and flop : Why stress makes empathy go limp?

Image source: ‘People often avoid feeling compassion for others, feel it’s a lot of effort’in keralakaumudi.com on Sep.01, 2021.

On that hot sultry summer afternoon in Kolkata, I found myself running through the ever crowded Howrah railway station, convinced I was about to miss my train this one time.

My anxiety surged at the sight of a long baggage security line. I was about to give up entirely, when luckily a colleague’s brother- he’s some bigwig in there- saw me and ushered me to the front. At that moment I didn’t care how the waiting passengers felt about this privileged treatment. I don’t even remember much about the people I encountered during that nerve wracking afternoon. I was thinking only about catching that damn train and getting home, a thousand miles away.

In short my empathy graph had plummeted as my anxiety feared its worst hit.

Many would explain this episode by linking my jitters to narcissism, but I consider it differently. I find it a clash between apprehensions and sensitivity. Or maybe it’s the fear and shame of failure that overshadowed the disappointment of missing the ride!

Like everybody I too hate to fail, but then I‘ve another skill to call it shots… I have a natural capacity for empathy and I swear it’s not like some fixed trait. My genes might have played some role in here. I think I inherited it through some great combinations of experiences and relationships… childhood care-givers matter most!!

But it isn’t wrong to say that just as the fear of failure mars the motivation to succeed; your compassion also takes a beating when you are burdened with emotions and anxiety. It unconsciously sabotages your chances of success in a variety of ways. If you have a compassionate bend, you might find yourself deluged with emotions of those around you. When they are happy, you are caught up in their joy; when they are sad; you carry their emotional burden too.

But there is something else besides this that might surprise you! High empathy and anxiety have some unforgiving analogy in between. And you cannot trust either of them entirely for your emotional well being.

Here’s to share something about that strange connection between them and few bonus tips to keep an eye on your emotional health;

Feature credits: ‘Offer Empathy’ by Genevieve Chesney in Youtube.com on Jan.30, 2016.

Want to share but don’t know if you’re ready for it!

When you hear the word-empathy, what strikes your mind? Understanding one’s pain? Feeling bad for another person or perhaps giving a shoulder to lean on?

Yup…those are the things that help in times of distress. But what about empathizing with one’s joy? It sounds alien or perhaps absurd; but believe me caring for yourself is about happiness too.

If it’s any comfort to know; our neural responses are more accustomed to feeling one’s pain more than being happy for someone. This is rather more intense when we empathize distress. We cry feeling more about other’s pain than laugh and love feeling happy for someone. We all have this wonderful ability to respond to difficult challenges of others, but react faintly to other’s joy.

So, can we somehow tutor ourselves to be happy for others as well? Would that make this world any better place to live in?

I tried it cautiously hesitant of the outcome, but it did help. I think this might be the choice you should make a head start with!

When someone brings me some news about something good happening in their lives, I hug that person or at least touch his or her arm in an appropriate way. I look the person in the eye and ask everything about the happy event. I share the joy of goodness happening in someone’s life and don’t hold back anything in expressing it. I share the vibes and could almost feel mirth tingle down my neck! I feel happy to see them stoked…

Reaching out to someone in happy times and partaking, helps in conquering your fears. And…it shores up your aplomb as well!

Try me and witness anger, anxiety and disgust giving way to surprise and pride.

Image source: ‘How the Highly Empathetic Can Avoid Absorbing Others’ Stress’ by Jessica Stillman in inc.com.

Being real about how you feel helps!

If I were to judge compassion, I’d say it’s a higher state of awareness. In an empathetic state of mind, I could fully experience the anger and wrath of someone who has been wronged. I could even go beyond feeling sorry for what someone else feels. I simply couldn’t keep my head and heart closed for trouble, indignation and nightmares and prefer to see through the present situation with understanding and love.

When we are in a conflict with someone or face something challenging, owning our fears and insecurity is one great way to move past our defensiveness and take a call on deeper issues of the situation; I’d say, more buckled up.

You may not know, but doing this lets you empathize yourself no less. The more you are willing to imagine what it’s like for them, the more of it you’d be able to experience yourself.

Shell shocked and stewed? Brainstorm your way out of chronic stress

Failure makes us feel both fear and shame. On the brighter side, it preps us to find people whom we can trust and with whom we can share our emotions. Once you will yourself to brainstorm your way out of the heat; relabel and play down your stress and save yourself from vandalizing your sunny side. Besides, reassurance and empathy from others would reinforce your feeling of self-worthwhile.

Getting peevish and judgmental already?… Take a break and for a moment imagine a possible scenario as creepy as this! …

You have lost your job in pandemic and desperately searching for a new one. Yet you ain’t getting it and keep failing in finding it just because you don’t know “the right people,. You are at your wits end and reeling with hard time stress.

If you think you failing to make some ground and are clueless how to go about it; start with some small but powerful choices to hit the frame. Begin by setting up for yourself the goal of expanding your social network. Reach out to everyone you know who might help. Even if they are not in your field and couldn’t do much, they might know someone who could.

See… the cliché’ works well when instead of mourning you put your foot down!

Empathy is all about the ability to feel and reaching out to another person’s emotions and thoughts. It gives meaning to our lives and our relationships. It works well to thaw our emotions out of limbo.

#It might also mean getting a job offer from somebody hitherto stranger to you!

Besides, who would say Nah’ to a decent break from some nerve wracking ‘Fight-or-flight’ episode every time each day?

Feature credits: ‘’ Someone else’s shoes’ by Blythewood SBO in youtube.com on Nov. 11, 2016.

That day in Kolkata, I caught my train. I also learned something. No one wants to live life in a hurry as if they’re always late for a train, too stressed to look around or connect with others. We’re much better off cultivating compassion, rubbing shoulders and accepting that what will be, will be -missing the train journey and all that…

If you were to ask me to explain empathy as I see it; I’d say, ” I know exactly how you feel” Another more jaded one would of course be, ” I know exactly where your shoe pinches most”.

I guess I have learned when to ease off the emotional overwhelm and steer clear of becoming a damaged empath.

All that and more on my own!


Three ways to know if the time is right for a good bye; burning slow doesn’t help!!

From moments of pure bliss to “badass togetherness”, relationships sometimes flinch. Between valleys and peaks, you are never certain whether or not it’s meant to be what it is. Sure you could work around to fix the rough patch somehow. But will that hold? Will everything be the same as before? At what point should you draw the line between rough times and simply giving up?

Or is it time to say enough is enough?

Like everybody else, I could realize the spoil only when it was too late. But  I spared myself the anguish, for I knew it’s never too easy to see it from the inside. Sometimes it’s blindingly true, yet we couldn’t see the red flag or smell the rot.

And surprisingly you couldn’t get to start over again…

Bad things do happen in relationships and the rot might ruin the romance, friendship or just about anything familial. Sometimes it hurts and in your  anger or inconsolable grief you feel like lashing out, cursing or yelling to let the world know how bad the hurt is. You may even get to the state where you want everybody to be hurt no less; to make everybody feel the misery no less.

The edge happens only when you find there’s no time left to reveal your love; to let others  know that over the last few months they made your days a bit brighter and helped you heal better from the hurt that others left behind; that they sank into your heart and stayed put. In the midst of impossible, somehow they became your favorite.

But like good and bad times, there are moments when things begin to get out of control. You are clueless; not sure whether to go with it or away from it. You just can’t hug harder any longer.

If any of these signs are persistently a part of your relationship, you have a serious problem to consider. It might have reached a dead-end and this could be the time to let it go peacefully.

Remember though, every tragic of something is the beginning to a fresh start.

Image source: ‘Sad in railway stock photos and images’in 123rf.com.

When enough is enough

Criticism is good; it gives you an opportunity to find your misplaced positives. But even that has a quota. Negative comments feel cruel and so does one nasty word that can silence a million applause. See…even the SoNet community works the same way; your fans may have cheered you a thousand times but you’d only remember one single message that tried to run you down.

However, if someone in your life always jumps in to say something about your wins all the time, you have a red flag there too!

I say… life sucks! but that’s how it is.

If criticism and negative comments begin to corner your attention… you need a deeper look into what’s happening around. Is getting out of a messy relationship worth the anguish of parting ways? Sometimes it gets dismissive but severing ties peacefully is more impactful than inflicting emotional damage on yourself.

See…there is a pattern of narcissism specific to each one of us. But even that doesn’t work right all the time. If somebody keeps pushing you constantly and tells you that it’s for your own good so that you may improve; don’t jump for it. If you fall for it you’ll always be looking for doses of approval from others which will never come even if you gave your 100%. Some may even pin for your attention and time!

Criticism and negative comments lower your energy and distract your attention. If you do not want to turn yourself into a junkie looking only for approval and adoration, allow yourself a course correction. Simply let go of a relationship that has  constrained you all these years.

And remind yourself…you deserve to live free! So, just let go of the decay.

Feature credits: ‘Letter to a Friend’ by Eddie Pinero in youtube.com on Jul.02, 2019.

No crooning or cocktails!

There is never any dearth of time to change your ideas about the future. It’s Ok if you are not where you thought you’d be today- you have many tomorrows ahead of you. But the journey is never straight; you’d sometimes outgrow what you once wanted in your connections. It’d feel  good if you could realize the extent of your responsibility in the context of relationship, today.

This is your journey and yours alone. So, be wary of the people close to you who would not hesitate to throw in your face the things they did for you. They may have lend you a thousand bucks and say that they saved you from penury; more to make you feel wretched than to value kinship.

I know it’s a profound statement and maybe incorrect for some of you; but that’s the truth. If the other person needs to hang the medals for having helped you, it’s time to start over afresh. You can’t turn back the clock or delete memories, but you can choose to live quietly  in present.

So, it’s time you bid adieu!

Image source: ‘Here Is How You Say Goodbye To Your Forever Person’ by Ariel Quinn in herway.net on Mar.01, 2022.

In the hustle and bustle, trust walks off

When the bad outweighs the good, it usually means hard times have arrived and are likely to stay for a while. If you can’t remember the last time you were happy…surely the problem is deeper than meets the eye!

Arguments in a relationship come with a territory. You are sad and neglected and could sense that something is seriously off, yet couldn’t pin point why. You find a pair of hoop earrings that definitely don’t belong to your mate or wake up each morning staring vacantly at the ceiling fan and think, How the hell did I get here?” He’s off to another business trip or you come home to an eerie silence everyday; your phone used to ring off the hook and now all you hear is crickets! You hang in there hoping things to turn around somehow. But with explosive fights, mascara running down the cheeks duels, you know something terrible is waiting to happen.

Essentially, you both have morphed into nasty dinosaurs for each other. You may try to convince yourself that what matters is to live in here and now; but the truth is more savage- you just cannot hide from it.

So, when at the end of the day as you lie down and pat yourself, “Wow! We made it a day without fighting,”, it’s time to get out of the fracas.

Don’t be blind to the obvious and wait to get your heart pummeled. It’s time to dump those dingy rose colored glasses and get yourself a terrific new pair.

Believe me…if you can’t stay civil on vacation in a gorgeous hotel with gorgeous spreads and cocktails and room service…it’s time to say quits.

Image source: ‘Why is it so hard to say goodbye?’ by Richard in richardcollison.net on Oct.22, 2017.

Many times you’d be tempted to make excuses and stay put in a relationship that has reached its expiration. You keep on hitting the reboot button, frantically hoping that everything will be Ok again. This continues to happen until the next time when the not so funny emotional roller coaster starts all over again. Eventually it’s a Joe No-Show and you could feel the cold feet. This means that both of you have flaked out and lost each other for good.

You may not be ready to face it…but that’s fear talking. Don’t let it rule your life. So listen to your instincts, trust your guts and stop working for a relationship that has jumped the fence. It’s time to admit that your future with the other person isn’t on the radar.

Should this happen, start taking care of you and break into a happier life. Value your needs, wants, and most importantly, yourself. Without depleting yourself, step out into a life that you truly deserve. Think of yourself twenty or thirty years from now and merit yourself by doing the right thing.

Above all stay away from people who will sooner or later leave you stranded.

Trust me, your future will thank you!!