Self empathy is a prerequisite for empathy with"another". When I give empathy to the other, I ,ironically,create the bed i desire to lie in. They intertwine as "I" and "Thou" intertwine in empathic dialogue. The "self" becomes a totality of the dialogue,a larger self.-- Mark Roberts
Empathy is the act of feeling another person's emotions and seeing through their eyes. But this process is incomplete, if one can not do this for oneself. Empathy begins with self, and naturally flows outward to others. If it is done in the opposite direction, it breeds a martyr complex in which one is willing to sacrifice everything for another, whether they are deserving of this gift or not. It does not take self into account at all, because self is deemed unimportant.
This doesn't sound like such a bad idea on the surface, does it? Dying for the greater good, and giving your all for others in the process. It sounds heroic. And yet, this is not an act of courage, but one of cowardice. It is the act of someone who bears no self esteem and self worth, who believes themselves unworthy for anything other than as a willing sacrifice on the altar of another.
This person becomes the Empathic Victim. This person becomes the fodder for Emotional/Empathic manipulators. This person has been both you and I, at one time in each of our lives.
To put this in a more altruistic way, imagine all the people you might have helped if you had placed any value upon yourself. Imagine their suffering going unnoticed, because you sacrificed yourself for someone else (who may or may not have been worthy of your sacrifice). All of that potential wasted because you could not find a balance between self empathy and empathy for others.
This journey.......the reason each of you is here....is about you and your own healing. Its true that you are here to learn about your gift and how to cope with it. But more than that, it is about developing a balance between what you offer to yourself and what you offer to others.
In saying this, it does not make you selfish to think of yourself. It doesn't make you full of pride, to consider yourself within the empathic equation. It is not a sin to balance this process, instead of rushing headlong into every situation with arms outstretched to offer up your all, without concern for your own safety and well being.
It is the most important thing you will ever do, as an Empath, heal yourself.
So look at the links I have provided below. Within them are stories and techniques which will aid your understanding of self empathy and self compassion and your implementing of them into your lives.
Links to Self Empathy ~ These are examples and techniques for working with Self Empathy. I advise reading all of them, if you are looking for a way to heal yourself. ^_^
Self Compassion ~ Another must read group of links. ^_^