So I was reading a random Buzzfeed article the other day and it turns out I may be an empath!
Not really the most groundbreaking discovery in the big scheme of things, but hey, it got me thinking.
Since I was little, often unwittingly, I’ve known how to take a step back from a situation to put myself in the other person’s shoes, allowing me to understand how things may be playing out from their point of view. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that this isn’t something that everyone does! Or perhaps it isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people.
I developed the empathy trait, I believe, due to certain experiences I had as a child. And quite honestly it’s a great skill to have! It means that I’m an awesome listener. I have a strong intuition. I’m very nurturing. People find it easy to confide in me. I can form some amazing, deep connections. I can always read the room. I’m very aware of the emotions and vibrations in any given place that I walk into, good or bad. I can look at someone and gage how they’re feeling in that moment. I’ll never be that person twiddling their thumbs, blissfully unaware of the utter awkwardness that’s consuming the room!
But that’s not to say that being an empath doesn’t feel like the biggest weakness at times.
In instances where someone has wronged me, rather than instantly cutting them off I find myself scouring my brain to find reasons as to what it was that could’ve made them hurt me as they did. I automatically try to understand what was going through their head. Because of course no one can be intrinsically ‘bad’. This can often result in me wasting time and energy on people who may not be so deserving of it and that can be pretty frustrating.
Not to mention, whenever one of my nearest and dearest is going through a tough time and they offload their feelings to me, I absorb their emotions. Literally. I’m an emotional sponge!
I could be having the best day in the world, but if my Mum is crying my mood is ruined. Even when she cheers up 10 minutes later, I’m still stuck there, stewing in a pool of misery. You’re probably thinking, that’s ok, you’re allowed to empathise with your Mum. Oh but it gets worse…
I was following a tragedy on the News last week and as it unfolded more and more, day by day, I was plunged into complete and utter sadness whenever it popped up on my phone or on the TV. When I explained why I was feeling down out loud, it sounded so ridiculous! I didn’t even know these people personally yet I was shedding so many tears for them! But all I could think was how such a thing could happen, how the family could possibly be coping and praying that they’d have the strength to get through such tough times.
It’s really not healthy and I’m pretty sure it’s gotten worse during lockdown.
So I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to get to a stage where I’m able to retain my empathetic superpowers, but maybe just not absorb so many emotions in the the process!
Because when someone close to me is going through something, I want to be their rock that helps them get them through it, not the one who makes it 100 times worse by crying more than they are! Plus for my own mental health I need to control this, because trust me when I say that it’s exhausting when you feel so many emotions, so intensely.
Having alone time to clear my head and just focus on my breathing definitely helps me to recharge my batteries. Having kids around, praying, meditating, writing, exercising and listening to music do wonders too.
I guess this will be an ongoing self-improvement project for me, starting…now! Wish me luck. 🙂