The Good Men Project: Can AI Express Genuine Empathy?


The Genius of Empathy

A dread that many of my patients share is: “What if people ask more empathy from me than I can give? I feel guilty if I say “no.”

In my book, The Genius of Empathy I write that at times it’s okay not to be so available. To stay centered and decompress, you need to leave this world for a while and practice self-care. Give yourself that break. When being of service, consider each situation individually. Always factor in your own energy level and physical and emotional limitations to access how much you have to give. These considerations don’t make you selfish. They make you smart. Of course, there are instances when service may involve enormous sacrifice such as when you’re a caregiver. Generally, though, healthy giving nurtures you too.

There are some limits to giving you can’t modify because your mental or physical health depends on maintaining them, and there is no way to compromise anymore. One friend told me, “I divorced my husband because I never wanted children and realized he’d always be one–a really high maintenance one.” This was a positive decision for her. Sometimes protecting yourself requires a big change. Though achieving closure can be difficult, it’s wise to lovingly acknowledge, “It’s time to move on.”

If you’re working too hard to help someone, take a pause. Let the person be themselves without making it your mission to improve them. As one patient vowed, “I’m going to stop trying to love the red flags out of others.” There is a time to give and a time to replenish yourself. Healthy giving is graceful, patient, and makes you smile–a healing gift to yourself and others.

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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