Being an Empath: the Hardest Part is Letting Go

Human relations are key. Whether you have the ability to effectively communicate–verbally or nonverbally– determines how well you connect with others.

As a healing empath, I read into what’s unsaid more, than what people actually say.

Because of this, I’m always finding a way to help solve a problem as if it’s my own. Whether it’s professional or personal, I want to help solve it. In fact, I prioritize other people’s problems more than my own. Inherently, I see myself as a pool of unlimited resources for those closest to me. And strangers.

Some days, being an empath is happily walking into Starbucks and suddenly becoming aloof. It’s tensing of the body–shoulders, jaw, and back– at any given moment and overwhelming anxiousness. It’s daydreaming for a long time to escape the realities I’ve emotionally made my own. It’s wanting to be outside–connecting to nature to cleanse and renew myself. It’s giving, and giving, and giving some more.

Even when I don’t got it–time, money, energy– I give it.  You’re unhappy, I find a way to make you smile. You’re in need of a job, I find a way to help you search for one. You need mental clarity, or peace, I give my time and energy to help heal you. And even though this sounds like I’m just being a good friend or person providing sympathy, it’s more than that. If I’ve shared space with you, I feel you. This role of a healer that I play comes at a cost. Overtime, it’s cost me time, money, energy and peace. I’ve always wanted to heal the world.

I’ve always been one to read in between the lines and recognize what’s unsaid. Generally speaking I can pick up on what’s going on in a room before most.  As an empath, I’m forever putting myself in other people’s shoes and walking their walk with them. What a gift and a curse.

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The realization: 

Working in a combination of early childhood education and retail, I obviously surrounded myself with many, many people, emotions, thoughts, and energies. Day in and day out, I became increasingly tired and moody by the day’s end. When the work day was over, I literally had no energy to give. Not to my family, roommate, or guys I was dating. This wasn’t a normal kind of tired either. I had aches and pains in my body, my spirit felt bothered, and I had no understandable explanation for it.

I was just t-i-r-e-d.

And feelings like these weren’t new. Like I said, I’ve always been the “moody” one to my friends and family, but it was chalked up as girly adolescent behaviors or just being a moody artist. I started turning down invites and had made it a habit to stay in bed for as long as I could. Post college, I’d been working through anxiety and depression awhile acknowledging triggers. So I thought that some feelings that I was experiencing were due to natural, fluctuating depressive states and my known triggers.

And then something happened. I had a memory of when I was in elementary school and remembered what I struggled with most : putting others before me.

The past:

In my youth, caring for other’s was instilled in me by my family, and I took this morale very seriously. We all are very giving individuals. I remember during all those canned food drives at school I’d donate every. last. item in our cabinets. #NoLie.

Literally, every last one. And depending on who you talk to about it, I may have went overboard or was just giving without context of what I was doing. But I wholeheartedly knew what I was doing. I knew that I had the means to replenish what was lost And I never thought twice about it. Even though this was me giving something tangible, I knew that I was receiving something that was invaluable–learning the ability to be selfless and understanding community. 

Growing up, many of my elementary progress reports commended me for always putting  others first. The teachers would write something to the notion of:

“Alexis is a great student to have. She’s outgoing, kind, and doesn’t hesitate to help her classmates with  their work.”

Great trait to have, right? They’d continue:

“Alexis struggles to complete her own assignments on time.”

And now I know what you’re thinking, what the hell?! What sense does it make to help others succeed, first, before you do? And I really wish I could tell you. I really do.  All I know is that my teachers and mother couldn’t understand. They knew that I was more than capable of completing my own work because I was helping others with their work on a daily basis. I just wasn’t taking care of myself.

This was causing me to get into trouble. Academically and socially with my mother. That’s until I learned to stop. Eventually I eased out of always helping classmates with their work because I got tired of not enjoying my outside time. So I decided to “be more responsible” as they asked of me, and did my work FIRST so I could be successful.

In hindsight, I was developing tendencies that I later learned were qualifiers for being an empath. Fast forward to present day, when my family communes, I usually am the first to separate themselves from the bulk of the group. Literally happened over thanksgiving break. I used to feel bad for stepping away without explanation, but now that I’m addressing my empath behaviors, I know that I deserve to step away and re-up on my energy.

 

Moving forward:

So here are my facts of life as an empath:

Fact 1: I have to learn that I can’t help others more than I help myself. When I realized there was a burden of always being there for someone, always clocking in emotionally and physically, I knew something had to give.

Fact 2: We are who we are. People who have an innate ability to connect, feel, and discern their surroundings without regards. We tend to love hard–being spiritually engaged in others. We feel the vibes–good and bad.

Fact 3: Self care is highly important.

Fact 4: (see step 3)

Fact 5: I’m not alone.

 

Knowing all of this, and moving into a new phase of self-realization, I’m working on letting go. It’s hard to let go of the feeling that I have to help or heal. Being a helper and healer is literally ingrained in who I am. It’s one of my great traits. But I’m realizing that I’m wearing on my soul more than it can handle. I know I won’t stop being an empath, but I can use my knowledge about life, my empathetic experiences, and the tolls they take on me to remind me to “let go” for the moment.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Being an Empath: the Hardest Part is Letting Go

  1. Thank you for this enlightening post sista. I can see where you ate coming from. The more I give to myself and spend time learning myself, I am now apt to honoring myself first in every situation, with others. With giving.
    Much gratitude
    P.S I found your blog through BVR
    You can follow me @she.be.original on instagram!
    Grace and Love

    Like

    1. thank you for reading! you are so correct, the more time we spend with ourselves the more we learn to honor ourselves ❤ peace and love !

      Like

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