“Compassion fatigue” is usually referred to when talking about nurses, doctors, soldiers or professionals who help others who are suffering, but it’s also very real among friends and family caring for someone with exceptional needs or who is suffering.
Even though compassion fatigue is common, it can be difficult for those who suffer from it to accept that it’s happening to them because empathetic and giving people may find it hard to admit that their needs are important too. The realization there is a limit to compassion (even if that limit is shared by all other people) can induce guilt and even shame. The understandable response is to deny or downplay one’s own stress, discomfort and fatigue. Given this reality, it is critical to be able to identify compassion fatigue and know what to do about it.
Here is a link to a Compassion Fatigue Survey for professionals, but I think it is eye opening for all of us.
No matter your survey results, it is important for you to know that compassion begins with yourself. When we recognize our own suffering, it can actually help us to have more peace as we go about helping others.
Acknowledging your stress and and your own suffering and practicing your own discipline of self-compassion each day can open the door to relief and peace. Download The Five Steps to Transformation worksheet and begin the good work today.