I sometimes will have someone tell me “I think I care too much.”  They will then say how friends are relatives tell them they have a “soft heart” and always let others take advantage.  From this feedback, they receive a message that somehow they need to care less and be more hard-hearted.  They may try this approach, but find it rarely works because it goes against their natural tendency to be compassionate. 

The solution is not to be less compassionate, but to be sure that you include yourself under that umbrella of compassion. Compassion towards the suffering of others can be unbounded, without limits.  However, our time, energy, resources, and influence are bounded.  When we forget this, then we are not being compassionate toward ourselves. 

Compassionate people can often get overwhelmed by the needs of those around them.  Attending to their own needs (need for sleep or rest) is an afterthought.  There is an old story about a wise man who was asked about the best way to see after the need of another.  The wise said, “first see after your own.”  This was not an argument for selfish, but a realization that if you do not see after your own well-being, eventually,  you cannot see after the needs of others.  At the very least, you will not bring your best self.  If your compassion does not include yourself then it is incomplete. 

So, don’t be more hard-hearted.  Allow compassion to flow freely.  Just be sure to include yourself and be aware of the limits of time, energy, resources, and influence.