Empathy

Most of those with this gift would not wish it on anybody.  I know I would not.  But for those of us with this ability, there seems to be little help or understanding we are either medicated, or left to hold the fort against the tide of human pain and emotion we feel daily.  So, we ask ourselves what is the point?  Why must we suffer like this?  Is it karma?  Is it fate?  No.  Empathy, as difficult as it is, is an opportunity.

There are many applications of this aspect of ourselves, we can be healers, or we can be tyrants.  Like all abilities this, too, is powerful.  It is oftentimes overlooked for other things that are more obvious, but he (or she) who controls the heartstrings, oftentimes controls t he person.  So it is not only potent, but dangerous.  We know the intimacies of people, their deepest emotions and thus, we oftentimes know people better than they, themselves do.

I think that empathy is one of the least understood abilities out there, and it is so often underestimated that many people pass it over, because the price it extorts from the one whom has it is great.  I know how difficult it is to live with this.

That said I am going to offer suggestions to those with this particular expertise, and offer ways to cope with the dangers to empaths that this world seems intent on hitting us with.

I have, for many years, been burdened with the awareness of other people's emotions and it seems as though it only gets worse as time goes on.  Though I've discovered ways around them.  One of the best is to know exactly what you feel.  Be aware of your own emotional state.  If you know what you are feeling, you will eventually be able to sift out the emotions that are coming at you from all directions as being those belonging to others.  That being said, you will still feel them, but you will be able to accept that they are not your own and that can, for some, make all the difference.

One thing I have noticed that most empaths have in common is that we tend to want to help everyone we run across.  The most difficult lesson to learn is that we cannot help everybody.  I learned that lesson painfully, and harshly.  You need to discriminate who you can and cannot help.  There are people out there that will latch on to you like a drowning person and simply drag you to the depths, and it probably will not be intentional on their behalf.  But that does not mean that they won't sink you anyway.  Be on the look out for people that grasp you like leeches and will not let go.  I've had to deal with a lot of them, and they are probably one of the most dangerous things out there.  Because you will always want to help them, and think you can and be unwilling to accept the fact that you cannot.

Another thing that one has to be on the lookout for, is the crowd you run with.  You should avoid taking troubled people as close friends, if you are unable to control your empathy.  Being in close quarters with someone eternally restless and upset will do nothing for you.  You need to, if possible, surround yourself with even-tempered people that tend to be light over dark.

Now, despite the fact that empaths are, undeniably, emotional beings you must also know that there are times that you must use logic and give people the cold, hard facts.  However, tempted you are to soften the blow, however much you want to ease it, sometimes it is best to just hit someone with the truth.  Sugar coating things all the time won't teach people anything.  This is not just coming from someone trying to give you ideas.  I have had a lot of experience with this one.  There are times to be sensitive and gentle about things, and then there are times when one must be harsh.  Use good judgment in this and you may well find that people respond.  Sometimes they will hate you for it, but at least you will have been honest.  I would rather have someone hate me for being honest than love me for being kind when they needed a firm rebuke.

The last bit of advice I can really give is to not let your empathy consume you.  It is one of the toughest challenges to deal with, because there are always people reaching out, begging, pleading, needing assistance.  And we cannot act the saviors, unless we, ourselves are in balance.  You can reach a point where you are running on borrowed time and are near collapse and still desperately trying to help others.  You can not do anything for anyone else if you are not in good condition.  It is so difficult to act on this particular suggestion, believe me, I know.  But it is the truth.  If you are distracted and unhappy, then you should fix the problems you have before you focus on assisting other people.  It becomes a dangerous game of the blind leading the blind at the point where you are unbalance and attempting to assist others.  Remember to take time off every once in a while, free yourself from any obligations and let yourself rest.


By,
Sentinel

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