Empathy – A reflection

What follows are the reflections of Phill Mansfield, Regional Sales Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb after reading “Being empathic is good, but it can hurt your health,” by Jennifer Breheny Wallace (The Washington Post).

Thanks Dina – Trust you, hubby and your beautiful fur babies are all keeping well.  Appreciate you thinking of me and sending this article on.

 Great read and a great reminder.  Striking the balance, defining clear boundaries and tuning in to your EI to recognise when you may have overstepped healthy boundaries of emotional empathy are all essential ingredients to avoid burnout (not to mention the very detrimental and dangerous health impacts of cortisol overload!).  Been there once before/NEVER want to go there again – lesson I learnt?  You’re no good to anyone (particularly those you most love) if you can’t recognise when you have stepped in too close and too far.  We’re simply not designed or wired to carry everyone else’s bags on this journey when we have our own to carry.  The wisdom of learning when to step back and/or completely away is so important. 

 Agree – moving beyond emotional empathy in to compassionate empathy is key.  Compassion is a wonderful place where positivity, hope and restoration is birthed.  It re-directs and re-focusses conversation, thoughts and feelings of positivity in what earlier may have seemed a helpless/hapless situation. 

 My attempts to navigate in to compassionate empathy comes from a simple phrase and mindset “Encouragement is the key to caring”.   What I have come to learn is people in times of distress – they want to feel someone understands, someone cares, and someone knows how they feel for sure – but more often than not they also are looking for a plan for hope and for a positive future; they just have no courage or idea how to get there.  When someone is empowered to visualise a positive future state and can embrace the potential positives in their situation, all of a sudden the weight of the situation suddenly feels that much lighter.  The hardest part in all this is encouraging their mindset and focus – something which only they can be the master of.

 Things just got very philosophical – I do apologise but as always I love this stuff and having someone special like you to keep me energised and accountable – you have no idea how intuitive your timing has been.  This weekend has been a time for me to still myself and step back from an insanely crazy month.  Thank you!

 You take good care of you and look forward to continuing the conversation. 

 Yours kindly,



As a result of reading Phill’s reflection, I feel at ease and thoughtful.  I am inspired by Phill’s willingness to share this reflection and I am grateful for the learning that always results in connecting with him.  I trust you have learnt from Phill’s reflections too.


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