Thank you for taking part in this discussion Vijay! I have burned myself many times before I could truly understand what love with empathy means.
You say that empathy brings a lot of baggage. I feel that empathy brings a lot of responsibility and requires a lot of courage. Being empathetic doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you understand the other person’s attitude and emotions completely. People are ever-changing and are constantly being shaped with their personal experiences just like you. It is never possible to understand or predict a person completely. I think that is the major difference between we humans and robots — unpredictability. Empathy only means you’re trying your best to understand every ephemeral shade of a person till the end of time as we know it! Loving with empathy is exhausting, time-consuming, mind-boggling and when it is towards the wrong person, it is everything you said.
I completely agree when you say, “But a person should only be empathetic as long as he feels it is not hindering his true will/expressions to a big extent.” Here I would like to take a hit on another dogma of love that love in unconditional. I do not agree to that. Love is give and take. When you’re empathetic towards a person and he/she is not empathetic towards you, it is just like slow death! 2 people will never completely agree about everything and there will be differences. But only when both parties show empathy, a middle-ground can be reached where both of them can be happy.
We need to realise that however important a person in our life is there will always be someone that is at the utmost priority to us — ourselves. In the name of love we forget to be empathetic towards ourselves and make sacrifices for people who don’t deserve them which ends us up in a very pathetic place. Empathy should be exercised with a pinch of salt — NO! Empathy should be exercised with a lot of caution and only towards people that are worth it.
Another aspect of loving with empathy is that you always have to do what doesn’t hurt them. That is true only till what you do isn’t hurting you. We humans, as I already said are selfish. We can only sacrifice within limits of our comfort zone despite any amount of love or empathy. And that is a fact we just need to accept and move on. You can never be the perfect person that won’t hurt the other person. You’ll hurt them and they’ll hurt you. It is the human nature at act here. Only when there is empathy involved you both will be able to understand and learn to live with each other despite the inconveniences caused.
We need to come out of the concept of unconditional love and build our relationships on more practical grounds where we communicate and understand what is best for both the people in a relationship rather than blindly sacrificing everything for the happiness of others. When this sacrifice is one-sided, it leads to misery but when this is two-sided it leads to chaos!!!
I guess now I can join the party too! :)