“Empaths did not come into this world to be victims, we came to be warriors. Be brave. Stay strong. We need all hands on deck.”
― Anthon St. Maarten
For as long as I can remember, I have felt all the feelings all the time and very intensely. The world is an overwhelming and overstimulating place for me most of the time. My therapist once told me that I don’t see people, I feel people. I think she nailed it. I have always been much less concerned about someone’s objective attractiveness as much as I’m concerned with how I feel when I’m around them. I think this sometimes gets so crossed in that I’ve had arguments with some people about who I find attractive.
I have a hard time watching the news or any kind of horror movie. I have a physical reaction when people use violent or aggressive words. I can easily read between the lines and understand what someone is actually feeling because often, I can feel it too. I have a sensitive startle response. I can feel the vibes of a room when I enter. I have been known to walk out of movies or situations for no other reason than “something was bad.”
It’s no accident that I’m a therapist. It’s a gift and a curse to be highly attuned to the emotional states of other people. It’s a gift in that I can help people understand their feelings and it’s a curse because I take on other people’s feelings without realizing it or knowing what to do with it. It took me a long time to sort out what was mine and what was theirs. Honestly, I still struggle. Living with compassion is not an option for me, it is the only way for me. It’s how I was built.
I have to be extremely mindful of my boundaries with certain people/places or I get physically sick. I once became violently ill after someone disclosed a trauma that I was not prepared to hear. As a therapist, I have self-care techniques to protect me from that type of response but when I’m caught off guard it’s not a good situation. I have zero tolerance for hateful, aggressive, racist, hurtful, and/or violent language or actions. It literally makes me sick. I have to cover my eyes when I see horrible things play out on movies or television or I feel sick. I ask my husband to fast forward through scenes on shows and movies or leave the room because it’s painful.
Until I met my therapist, I thought that I was some weak and broken mess. She helped me realize the advantages of living life this way. She also helped me understand why people are built like this and the purpose they serve in the world. She told me that we need cohesion and compassion and that I was built to keep peace in the tribe. The research indicates that Highly Sensitive People make up about 20% of the population. So, we’re out here existing like an exposed nerve. The world needs engineers as much as it needs feelers. And, I am on the high end of feelers.
I write about this today because the last few days have had a significant impact on my emotional and physical health. I am not saying this to take away from the real life victims that have had their lives ripped apart by the violence. I am saying this to help people understand that feelers can’t help but feel and it’s hard for us when the world is like this. I’m not histrionic, I’m not broken, and I’m not overreacting. I’m simply feeling it all very intensely.
Highly Sensitive People and/or Empaths must always be mindful of self-care. I am doing what I need to do to make sure I’m as healthy as I can be and I hope all of you are doing the same. The world needs more love and compassion. That’s the only thing that will heal the hatred and violence. To act in love is the most courageous thing one can do in times like these. Please do not let the fear and hate consume you as it has so many others. I beg you.
“The Empath is often said to have such a great degree of empathy that they can literally feel what others feel, and thus intuitively know many of the yearnings, sensitivities, tastes and even thought patterns of the people they’re around.”
― Aletheia Luna,