I have recently discovered that I am an empath and have been researching the many pros and cons that come with this title. I am intentionally doing a lot of inner work at the moment to redefine my inner world because I have spent most of my life trying to help everybody else BUT myself. In relationships, I find that I lose myself completely in order to orbit the other person by giving them only the best energy at the detriment of myself and my needs. I also tend to feel lonely and isolated if I’m not connected to others who need help / healing. I wanted to open up a discussion about empaths because i feel that this is very important to learn how to have proper boundaries and protect our sensitive energy in order to survive in this world. Being an empath can be a gift and a curse and if we have a few tools in our toolbox, it can get a lot easier and we can use these gifts to our advantage. The biggest aha moment has been realizing that most of the feelings I have felt for the majority of my life have been other people’s stuff and not my own. This is where the gift and curse idea comes in because we need to be able to feel other people’s feelings if we want to do healing work and help BUT we can end up carrying around a lot of crap that isn’t ours. How can we honor our gifts and sensitivities and still have our own, solid experience in this world? Has anybody else experienced this?
I hear you, Kath this is a deep subject for me. I’ve struggled with this for most if not all of my adult life I didn’t even realise how destructive this type of behaviour was to myself and the people involved.
This year i’ve taken the time to try and understand how people like us, people so kind, generous warm hearted and sincere, still struggle to maintain relationships and constantly be overlooked. It’s only now that I’m starting to see things from an outsiders perspective, Here’s my take on it
I think on deeper subconsious level empaths fear being unwanted or loved, maybe a part of us feels that we’re unworthy of love and so we go out of way putting our own needs aside, giving away all of our energy to offer help to others in a desperate attempt to counteract that fear, and to gain love and acceptance from others
But from my experience it always has a habit of backfiring and the people we set out to help always end up taking advantage of or resenting us. In the end we’re left feeling confused, emotionally drained, overlooked and sometimes bitter about the whole experience, so we try even harder next time and the dangerous cycle continues…
I’ve lost a lot of close friends because of my “good nature” and its it’s even worse coz in my
mind I always had their best interests at heart and felt I’ve done everything i
could to help them in their journey.
Now that I’ve taken the time to understand my behavior and become more
aware of my actions, I’ve come to the conclusion that helping others is good as long as you are doing for the right reasons.
This year I made a decision to establish and stick to some new rules when it comes to helping others.
Here’s my advice
1. if you spot an opportunity to help someone you have to understand that you may not receive and appreciation for your actions
you have to be willing to accept that as part of the “arrangement” before you help someone, if you can’t for what ever reason then don’t offer the help. People can sense when you’re trying to help for your own selfish reasons of wanting love, acceptance or to been looked at a certain type of way by the people around you etc, and thats where the resentment in other people come from.
2. Be aware that in some cases helping forces another person to become dependant on us and so we inherit another persons negative energy which we carry around as our own. (extremely energy sapping.)
3. Never ever self sacrifice!! (giving up your own interests for the interest of others) although it might feel noble its actually the opposite. it’s a very selfish way of helping and again its very emotionally draining
4. Many empaths feel like they have to take responsibility for everyone they come into contact with. We feel guilty most or all of the time that were simply not doing enough to help people around us and so we help in an attempt to relieve ourselves from the guilt. Help must never come from a feeling of obligation but more from a knowing of choice. (in other words were not obliged to
help anybody but we choose to and are more than capable)
5. Helping others a lot offers a good distraction from our own wants and needs. By helping people with our own problems i think we ignore the problems we have in ourselves. The antidote to this is to know what you want from life and do what you can to get your inner game right before you attempt to do any kind of helping or healing work. When you know your own worth and what you want it becomes a lot easier to turn down a help request if it conflicts with your own principals or priorities, infact i’ve found that people respect you more for it
6. Remember that although people might be in need of help they might not always want help, and in doing that it can disempower
people (no one wants to feel like they can’t do something by themselves) which in turn causes negativity & resentment which affects your emotional state try to establish weather helping someone will empower or disempower them before you do it.
Being an empath is a beautiful thing, the world could definitely do with a few more people like us, but if we want to protect our own energy and gain the right response from people we have to be totally honest with ourselves about our motivations behind helping someone before we do it. It’s easy to jump to someone’s needs without giving it a second though or just hide behind the excuse of “making them happy makes me happy”
From now on when i help someone I Just get in n get out. I don’t expect anything in return and I’ll never again self sacrifice.
All this is easier said than done tho. Undoing a lifetime worth of bad habits is hard enough for the best of us I’m just trying to take each day as it comes, until everything becomes second nature, once i’ve moved into this new space im confident i’ll be able experience the joy of helping people without it’s ugly drawbacks
Anyways thats my 2 cents. I know I’ve gone slightly off topic here but i really wanted to share as much as possible
in the hope that someone going through a similar thing can read this and take something from it.
Would love to hear anybody else’s view on this
I struggled with this for a long time, yes. My whole life actually. And I still do. I used to think I was crazy because my personality would change so much around different people so as to cater to their emotional wellbeing.
There’s something that happened to me eventually though. I broke through to the other side or something. You can be a successful empath, I think, you just have to be brave about it, you have to ALSO fine tune your ability to be honest and bringing out the honesty in others.
The problem with non-empaths is that in fear of having non-genuine relationships they have developed a vocabulary for…(not manipulation, I don’t want to say manipulation…)…presentation. And so genuinely interacting with that, as we tend to do naturally, gets us into trouble, because they aren’t being candid.
Empaths are a mirror, we can’t help it. We take on the sorrow and the excitement of those we interact with and become it, then pass it back to them. But if take some time for introspection, really focus on being alone and figuring out what turns YOU on, what makes YOU happy, what brightens YOU up, the mirror you reflect back to them will highlight the parts of them you want to be with, and they want to be with… You should be as sympathetic to those presenters as possible, but do so because you want to see them at their best, and their best is your best…so take some time to learn to be your best.
The best thing to do is to keep two things in mind: compassion includes yourself, and being alone is not the same thing as loneliness. You can’t take on the world’s problems or carry anyone else’s weight, and time alone to purify is an extreme must for people who soak up others’ emotions. As much as you want to help it’s imperative that you take care of yourself first. It’s like the sick doctor trying to take care of everyone else but not himself; it might look noble, but at the end of the day if the doctor dies no one gets the help they need. Also, people are stupid. Don’t take it to heart if you don’t get the recognition or appreciation you crave.