“You’re an empath”.
My aunt and I had the longest conversation about this word. She lives across the country and pronounces the word differently than I do here in Las Vegas. As we carried on our conversation, we kept stopping mid-sentence, as we pronounced “empath“, because we weren’t sure how it was actually pronounced. Now I pay closer attention when I hear people use that to describe either themselves or someone else. I wondered how this cool hipster term for “Empathy” was suddenly a word of it’s own and used with a separate definition?
It makes total sense though. Empath’s give their emotions to others. You can see another persons perspective, naturally. Empathy is so deeply rooted in who a person is. It has both positive and negative aspects to it. It’s a variety of characteristics that happen to make someone feel so deeply to another person that they can match their emotional state simply by that connection. It all sounds like feelings we should want to have, right? Well that’s what I thought.
Someone who has empathy understands it’s good sides, but they also are no stranger to it’s list of negative attributes too.
Once you know me, I hear I’m a deeply emotional person. Perhaps, like a lot of you! I know I am also very complicated, complex and unpredictable. I’ve been extremely sensitive since childhood. Large crowds, even places like Target or Costco on a hard day can be enough to shut me down emotionally. Especially if I’m not mindful about my emotions. It’s so easy to feel overloaded because emotional energy can only run around on ‘empty‘ for so long. Empathetic individuals can struggle to find the balance, than absorb the impact of stressful emotions & trigger a plethora of bad habits, panic attacks or health issues. This pattern can be incredibly hard to identify and fix so the cycle repeats itself again and again.
a few tough mental breakdowns was enough for me to realize my bad habit of building up emotional needs that are way beyond my capacity. So I started reaching for resources to broaden and strengthen my balancing skills when it came to emotions.
Through practice, and patience, guidance and some bumps in the road; I have finally found some seriously helpful ways to keep me from tipping too far to one side. It’s a constant adventure where there is always a lot to be learned. As I keep experiencing life lessons and just the natural course of growing up; I remain open to the lessons I have yet to learn and so grateful for the ones I’ve already been using.
From experience, I learned that balancing your emotions is possible & such a better way to live. For me, I can handle being an Empath only by setting some boundaries, staying focused on things that motivate me, learning how to communicate & from tuning into when I can and should release emotions.
Motivation: Parenting is one way I keep myself accountable for trying my hardest to become a woman with healthy emotions. A child needs that stable and healthy adult figure to model and teach them the ways of life. Every moment around my little child I know I’m being watched as if I’m under a microscope. So because I need the energy to do what I have to do, I stay motivated to be emotionally healthy. Though I’ve wrestled with feeling the shame from not doing enough by the time I get home. I try to do whatever I got to do to keep that little bit of fire going all the way until I’ve gave it to him, and my husband and still have some for myself. It’s possible. It’s hard, but it’s possible to stay incredibly focused on the motivation that will get you across the finish line, mentally.
Boundaries: For me, Grandma taught me what it even means to have boundaries; and she helped me see how they actually play a much bigger role in life than I think most realize. But that’s a whole new topic for another day. Lesson learned: I need to have boundaries that help me stay fulfilled emotionally, and I don’t feel selfish about it either. One of my favorite ladies ever once told it to me this way; “If you were on a plane, they’d tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first & that way you can help others. In life, it should be the same.”
It’s brilliant. It’s the easiest way to visualize that your own emotional needs are important and need to be considered.
Talking, Talking and Talking. I’ve realized that men actually aren’t mind readers. People don’t really know what you’re thinking. I have to know when to communicate and how to communicate so that I can prevent a build-up or break down. Communication is part of a prevention plan and can protect you from feeling anxiety, unwanted, used and all the other negative self talk that comes naturally when we’re sad or mad. Even if I sound crazy, I’ll meditate with myself in order to be mindful of how my own self dialogue is. I hold a true value that honest and open communication is a must-have in relationships with friends, family, co-workers and yourself.
Release and Resilience. I need to keep practicing this, but from dozens of podcasts, websites and from my own personal experience; Releasing negative energy that I’ve absorbed is possible and easy to do. I just have a hard time discovering when too much becomes too much. But because of my own habit of absorbing too much, I’ve built a resilience against so many things that could’ve troubled me, but I let it fall behind. I reflect often how many times I haven’t felt resilient, but than I can just as easily reflect on the insane adventures through trials and troubles that left me with this resilient willpower to always find a way.
I’m fascinated by humans and all their quirky, unique differences. I could people watch all day because of this, but ask me to interact with them all day and I’ll have to mentally prepare myself. Empathy is one of those topics I could talk with you about all day, but I’ll remember forever the times I’ve pushed it too far before and felt the heavy consequences.
So cheers to the Empaths out there! Cheers for another beautiful day. Surprisingly, after a rough week, little things like this thunderstorm in Vegas right now make me feel great!
Wishing you the best.