I regard empathy as a source for more information--for good or for bad, quite often for good. After all, considering myself and other people is.. well, factoring in more than just my considerations.
Without conscious consideration, I find myself with one foot planted in my own concerns and another planted in others' (and, really, the former hadn't developed until recently) and taking on others' causes as my own. It is quite often as if their priorities are inseparable from mine, as if I think from both of our perspectives at once or, in many cases, as if I think solely from theirs.
On the downside, sometimes it seems that empathy can cause information overload. More information is good, but sometimes we must truncate our thoughts and information collection processes and just act or draw conclusions. It feels as though I'd have a much less holistic view if it weren't for this additional information, but at the same time, it seems that life would be much simpler if I weren't focused on collecting it.
A while back, I was undergoing a bit of anxiety after a change in.. erm.. regimen. Some of my thoughts were about myself and whether I'd escape my situation. But the majority of my thoughts and the bulk of my mental energy was actually centered around how I could possibly be there for other people (especially certain other people) if I couldn't care for myself--which further drove the anxiety. Sometimes, these thoughts extend to anxiety about the state of the world in general. If I were more concerned about myself, those other-centric thoughts wouldn't even enter my brain in the first place, and I'd have much less to be anxious about.
Anyone out there experienced anything similar--or otherwise resonate with what I'm talking about with the connection between information and empathy?
(Replace 'empathy' with 'innate concern for others' or 'the thing that you know that bologna is talking about' if need be; I really don't want to quibble over words.)