I have a friend in my life at the moment and we chat about philosophies. She is a councillor and psychologist she told me that there is evidence out there now to support that empathy is draining and being empathetic can leave you depleted, however compassion is one of the highest virtues.
I know this one in my experience to be true. As a pisces both of these virtues ‘Empathy and Compassion’ are very common ground to pisces. Pisces being ruled by Neptune is connected to the realm of the unconscious. It is very common for the greatest empaths to have high levels of pisces/Neptune energy.
For me personally my most predominant energies are Pisces, Aquarius, Libra and Virgo. With high pisces and aquarius energies my energy field was picked up many times for being (leaky) and very permeable. Working in fields of energy healing and being emphatic can be very draining. This one I have felt many times.
In Empathy its common to leak out into another persons energy field. Your energy field can become very permeable as you literally feel what the person is going through and then act as if its happening to you too. This then feels like you are going into the realm together of victim and both becoming drained. As my teacher explained to me when this happens and your energy field is not strong you listen to another persons story and it somewhat becomes yours. Soon it feels like they are standing in a pile of shit and you literally go and stand in the shit with them until you are both standing in a pile of shit, unable to get out.
Compassion comes when your understanding is strong. You know what the other person is going through and have compassion for them. But now you have learnt that merging into the shit together is of no help to anyone. Now you have a greater understanding of the universal energy and you understand that when your heart is open but you are centred (ego is centred in the ocean), and you have enough strength that now you can help to send in your hearts energy directly to theirs.
The heart is believed for most to be the most important chakra off all. Each of us have a generator of love within our own hearts that we can constantly refuel and send out to other people in need. This is compassion.