Even if you consider yourself a compassionate person, feeling compassion all the time can simply be overwhelming, especially when confronted by large amounts of suffering. In this installment of The Science of Compassion series, Kelly McGonigal explores empathy fatigue and the concept of compassion collapse. As Kelly explains, compassion collapse happens in situations where, as the scale of suffering increases, people’s compassion decreases. For example, your heart may break when you see one child go hungry, but may go numb when you hear about millions of children starving. It’s common to feel helpless in the face of large-scale suffering, and this is a real barrier to compassion that can keep people from doing things that will make a difference.
This session explores why our compassion sometimes collapses under the weight of large-scale suffering, and what we can do to sustain compassion and make a difference in the world.
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