Monday, November 4, 2013

"You care too much!"

"You care too much!" "You're too emotional!" These are things I've heard too many times.

If someone around me was having a bad day I felt an impulse to try to improve their mood.  If I couldn't improve their mood, than I would take on their emotions, which was WAY too much for "Little Miss Sunshine".  Unfortunately, most people are so caught up in the rat race they turn into miserable, unfulfilled, selfish, all-consuming zombies.  These were the emotions I found myself surrounded by and unable to detach from.
So I tried to turn my empathy off hoping that this would help.  That was a mistake.  Trying to bottle up so much emotion was detrimental for my physical and mental health.  As I tried to numb myself I began to experience; migraines, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and depression.  I quickly determined that my attempt to suppress my empathy and the related emotions was contributing to the physical symptoms I was experiencing.  As I was stuffing all those emotions inside me they were seeping out in negative ways.  I needed to learn how to manage my empathy in a way that was not self destructive.  (As an empathetic person your needs are often set aside while you care for others.)  I also realized that I was attempting to suppress the one thing that made me different from the majority and more like the Creator.

As I re embraced my empathetic "condition" I had to find a way to use my empathy as a gift instead of the curse I was allowing it to become.  I began to understand that the reason I was so sensitive to others emotions is because it was in the nature of my spirit to help others.  But, in order for me to help others my emotional state had to be stable.  So, I began to research sensitive and empathetic personalities.  I learned some great tips on how to protect such a sensitive soul.

Practices for the Empathetic Soul

Don't Take on the Responsibilities of Others.  It's easy to want to help and see those around us happy, but don't stand in the way of another persons opportunity to grow and experience life.  If someone should be doing something allow them to do so.  

Set Boundaries.  It's easy for a sensitive, emotional, or empathetic personality to have a hard time setting boundaries.  As peacekeepers we like to see everyone happy, so we often allow things we don't like to happen, happen.  It's okay to say NO.  No, is a form a self respect and allows us to function and have our needs met while meeting the needs of others.  

Spend Time Alone.  Alone time is critical.  Being alone is the time to unload and process the emotions we're feeling.  It's a time to reflect on things.  Meditation and reading are great activities to do during your alone time.   
Get Physical.  Physical activity can be a cleansing for the empathetic personality.  Physical activity allows us to be "in the moment" vs. being constantly absorbed in our minds and surroundings.  Also the stress of feeling everything around us is physically demanding and activity is a great way to release this tension and energy. 

Ground Yourself.  This is critical.  We must find a way to keep ourselves grounded and aligned with our spiritual nature.  Often time the Ego can sneak up and become a dominate trait where we lose all sense of the life forces around us.

Know Your Emotional Limits.  You have to learn and understand your emotions.  Don't try to suppress them.  Feel them and let them go.  You don't have to react to every feeling you have.  They are just that, feelings.  
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