I dreaded the fact I was so empathetic, so understanding. It felt like a weakness. Even after studying Psychology I couldn’t really fathom the idea that I was so empathetic or that I easily connected with people who were going through something. It felt as a quality that could be misused easily by others especially in relationships or with people.
If you’re an introvert and a highly sensitive person, you know what I’m talking about.
Especially because I would get hurt by the way people sometimes behaved. Sometimes it came off as rude which was something I wasn’t used to. Even today, it’s something I’m not really used to. But with time I’ve learnt a few things that actually helped me feel okay and normal about being an empath.
#1 – Not everyone is Kind – People have their own journeys and personalities and they have their own way of behaving. This doesn’t always mean kindness as an add-on. Most people are not as kind. Also, it would be unfair to expect the same level of kindness from other people.
#2 – Not everyone is worth your compassion – Sounds pretty callous doesn’t it? But that’s the truth. It’s wise to give chances and give people the benefit of the doubt. But what good does it do when they don’t value it? I learnt this the hard way that even though you may understand the other person, even though you feel what they’re going through, you don’t always need to or have to shower your energy on them, knowing that it may go unappreciated or not valued.
#3 – Not everyone wants your help/advice – Believe it or not, I learnt this little wisdom from reading cards. As a Psychologist it becomes second nature to understand and offer help but as a reader, I learnt that sometimes people just want clarity. They aren’t really interested in a counselling session. Even though you understand their situation or feel that the way they’re thinking is going to harm them, you need to hold off on giving any kind of help unless they really ask you. I completely understand how selfish or careless that may sound. But sometimes it’s also helpful to mark some boundaries.
#4 – Not everyone should be saved or healed by you – I think this goes without saying, if you’re an empath, you’re probably carrying the weight of the world. You’ve given yourself the responsibility that you have to be there for everyone, even if you don’t want to or can’t be there for everyone. Especially in relationships, being an empath and being a psychologist, I needed to learn that I can’t be everyone’s saviour and I don’t really have to. I can support them but it’s not my responsibility to fix them or save them. Even at work, it was incredibly tough in the beginning when I had to understand that as a psychologist, counsellor my job wasn’t to fix people but to guide them.
#5 – Not everyone feels all the feels – Yes, that’s the truth! Not everyone is as empathetic and this I had to learn with mindful practice. Sometimes this was incredibly tough as I would feel very disappointed in people when I would overthink and overstress. Sometimes I felt weak and vulnerable as a person or too serious as a person in the company of people who didn’t feel the feels the way I did. I had to learn to be comfortable with that. I’ll admit it was a bit tough but with time I learnt how to find my balance. And honestly that mix felt good.
Due to these factors I’ve come to embrace being an empath in a healthy manner instead of feeling embarrassed, too weak about it or hesitant about it.
If you’re an empath, a highly sensitive person and feel drained most of the times especially after a bitter experience try to reflect on it using these points mentioned above. See if it helps to change your perspective in a better way.
If that doesn’t help, you can always work with ME to figure this out.