Many of us grew up on the lie that to love someone is to save them, to give all of ourselves to them in a show of Christ-like sacrifice. Time has taught me otherwise. Where do we draw the line between love and self-deletion? If I’ve given all of me, what me is left to love you? What me is left to even be loved? This week, in the Mastering Lower Emotions FREE Course, we’re taking a look at empathy. Though not necessarily a “lower emotion,” I believe empathy is one of those slippery emotions that can lend to negative habits and behaviors and slide into toxicity in relationships, especially when we start taking on other people’s stuff. Here’s how to engage empathetically with the world around you in a healthy and mutually beneficial way. Especially if you consider yourself an empath, this post will help you maintain and protect your own energy field and emotional body.
What Empathy Is Not
Before we take a look at what empathy is and the message it has to deliver, let’s look at what empathy most certainly is not.
Empathy is not an excuse for neglecting your own self-care, needs, desires, and dreams.
Just in case you haven’t heard the breaking news, womanhood is not greek for sacrifice. To love and love in a deliciously feminine way, doesn’t require the desecration of your own wonderful Self.
Honestly, this is something I’ve struggled with in my own personal life. I’m currently living at home with my parents and day in and day out, there is always some crises, some drama or suffering begging for attention. I moved home after college, almost two years ago now, to help my mother recover from back surgery. I thought it was a very noble and empathetic thing to do. Frankly, it was also a selfish thing to do: I thought that ending her decade long of suffering would end my own.
And in choosing her and not prioritizing my own desires, I created a little drama of my own, creating excuses for not facing the career change that was terrifying me. And in the end, despite my efforts I could not end her suffering. She was not and still is not ready to choose healing.
The whole experience awakened me to the ways I had also taken on my mother’s pain in my own emotional and physical body. Which brings me to the next point:
Empathy is not a call to start taking on other people’s stuff, sucking poison from their wound.
If you are a trained professional and can suck poison from a wound like they do in the films, good for you, but most of us never got that training.
Taking on other people’s stuff – their emotions, pain, story, baggage, all-the-things – in an attempt to make them feel more comfortable, is like sucking on a festering infection. Like ewww….
All you’re left with is two sick people. Now, This doesn’t mean that you cannot express your generosity and give freely. However, it’s very difficult to really truly give from an empty glass. I know that you are a generous woman, all my dragoness women are. But, how much poorer is the world when generous people only have lack to give from and not abundance?
How much more can you give when you are fully gratified and in your power?
Empathy is not an invitation to give your power away.
Moreover, when you stand in your power, filling your cup first, you invite others to do the same. Much of the healing being done in this world is not taking place in hospitals, but in glances and moments of admiration. It’s one woman looking on another and deciding “I can have that too.” I can have that level of recovery, health, vibrancy, and abundance. It’s a decision to save and empower oneself. That’s not a choice you can make from another.
When you give up yourself in a moment of “empathy” or, as I see it, self-deletion and distraction, you don’t save the other person. You join them in their suffering. You create someone and something to blame and resent in your life. And you take more than you give. They lose the opportunity to see you in your full radiance and be inspired and the entire Universe loses your light.
So, what is empathy? What action does that beautiful emotion demand from us?
Empathy is here to say: Keep on shining. I need your light.
What Empathy Is
Empathy is our emotional body reminding us of all the healing that is still left to do in this world. It’s a call to go higher, dream bigger, shine brighter, claim more joy, take up more space, have more fun, more, more, more. Shine on. Fill your cup and give me a taste. Show me the world you see. Help me see it too. When I’m ready, I’ll fill my cup and shine too, but for now I need your light.
Google defines empathy as: “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Let’s give that a facelift:
the ability to see the light within another and share one’s own light to provoke, evoke, and stoke the light that still burns and shall never die.
Now that you’re over taking on other people’s stuff, come fan your flames with this week’s challenge.
Not Enrolled in the Free Course?
This is just the tip of the emotional iceberg. There are more messages from your emotional body trying to get your attention! If you want to feel more centered and balanced, sign up for the free course, Mastering Lower Emotions below (FYI, this week’s bonus is a total game-changer. Get it in your inbox!)