Some people are more empathic than others. Do you find yourself automatically putting yourself in the place of the other person, feeling what they feel? Do people turn to you for consolation and support, for a listening ear and a soothing word? If so you’re a natural empath and you find it easy to step out of your own little orbit and understand how others are thinking and feeling. Probably you do this instinctively, but what may not come so easily is looking after yourself.
In the following we look at:
- Being an empath is a hard road
- Counting what you do achieve
BEING AN EMPATH IS A HARD ROAD TO FOLLOW
The suffering of the world is present with you much of the time, if you’re truly empathic. You can see into the hearts of those around you. Not only do they confide in you, but you can read their unspoken thoughts and feelings. Often this can be a burden, for people are not always up-front. However, you probably forgive them quite naturally, because you can see why they are the way they are, and the pressures they have suffered.
It’s no wonder that it all gets too much at times. Being empathic is a wonderful gift, but it can be self-defeating unless you know how to protect yourself. Do not become a victim to other people’s emotions. Learn how to make your empathy work for you.
HAVE ‘ME’ TIME
If you’re an empath, putting yourself first feels like a dreadful thing to do. How can you be so selfish? That word ‘selfish’ said in a critical way, is something you have to get right out of your head. Being selfish is essential if you’re to be any use at all to anyone. Remember, you cannot give from an empty well. If you try, however much you want to do good you’ll do badly. This is because you’ll be giving from the poisoned chalice of exhaustion and resentment.
Try the following:
- Spa day with up-beat friends
- Sign up for a class to develop your creativity
- Take a brisk walk and breathe deep of the fresh air
- Practice yoga and meditation
- Prepare food with and for someone you care about
Rather than just trying to ‘unwind’ and rest, get involved in something dynamic that means you can’t stray into concerns about others’ feelings
HAPPY PEOPLE CAN HELP
If you’re an empath you will tune into the thoughts and feelings of those around you whatever they are. If you’re with optimistic and cheerful types, this can help re-charge your batteries. Just because some people are unhappy does not mean you have to be with them all the time. You need good company more than most people.
Just because someone is feeling low does not mean they can have as much of you as they like. Would it really be right to let any one person consume you? There are some people whose negativity is virtually bottomless and you have to set limits on what you give.
If they get in touch when it isn’t convenient, state firmly that you are busy but that you will be free at such-and-such a time. This gives the person time to think through what they are going to say, and puts you back in control. When they do get in contact, make sure you stick to your agreement, but for a finite amount of time. Say firmly ‘I can give you ten minutes’ and draw the line at that.
Each of us has our own path to follow. You can’t change that and you can’t walk someone else’s path for them. All you can do is walk alongside at times.
COUNT WHAT YOU DO
As an empath you may despair of ever making a significant difference. So many sad people, so much unhappiness – what can you do to help? Chances are you’ve already done loads and have truly made the world a better place. Remember how many times you have helped people and let yourself be enriched and empowered.
FOCUS ON YOUR OWN FEELINGS
Too much empathy can leave you drained. Something inside you says that you have to keep on giving and giving, and you may forget to look at yourself. So those feelings of anger, sadness, resentment and frustration get buried, as if they don’t matter. But they matter very much and you need to process them if you’re to help others. So spend regular time with a close friend, see a therapist regularly, talk to your spiritual leader and write a journal at the end of each day, to ‘let it all go’.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Empathy is a double-edged sword – you have so much talent for seeing into people but struggle to keep them out of your personal space. In the above we looked at the hard road of empathy, having time for yourself, being with happy people, setting boundaries, counting what you do and focussing on your feelings. If you find you’re getting down about it all, over-burdened and unhappy, get some support of your own from our empathic Readers. They will listen patiently, enter in to your feelings and give you back some strength.
PUBLISHED: 19 September 2017