Ever since I was a little girl I have had this power to connect to and relate to people who were struggling through a hardship. As a child I could find the loneliest or most pained person in any room and would offer them a hug or a smile. I never let a kid sit alone in the lunchroom or passed a homeless person without offering a hello and spare change. I don’t know where this empath ability came from but I do know that both my dad and my grandpa were hypersensitive and so I think I got some of it from them in my DNA coding.
My mom became sick with cancer when I was in third grade and I internalized her suffering so much that I would become physically ill. The closer someone is to me, the stronger the connection to me, the deeper I can feel their pain. As I grew into a teenager this ability to feel people’s pain started to drive me crazy. It eventually would grow into a full blown anxiety disorder. I’ll share the details of that disorder with you all in another passage.
In High School and college this ability, which felt more like a disability at the time, became even stronger. I could walk into a room and scan it and within just a few moments have a feel for who was in a fight with their boyfriend, who wasn’t feeling well, who had an eating disorder, trouble with their finances, etc. Physical touch, like a hug or handshake would literally transfer the energy to me so quickly that I would become sad or heavy or sick myself. Sometimes, it was deafening – so much so that I began avoiding large public places all together and eventually didn’t even want to leave the house for any reason.
Around this time I entered into a merry-go-round of sorts. Because I could feel peoples hardships, I consistently felt called to help. So I would step in and try to help someone close to me carry whatever heavy burden was weighing them down. This person would stay with me long enough for their hardship to pass and then be on their way. At the time, I didn’t know how to protect my energy so I would be left drained and exhausted. I would take some time to try to recuperate and then I would step up to help someone new; and so it went, over and over.
Sometimes, I would feel anger or feel like I had been used. Why did people only come to me when they were in need? Why once I lifted them up did they continue on their way and leave me in the dust? Eventually, I started to feel resentful toward these people who only passed through on their way to greener pastures and I started to feel like I was some kind of cursed cosmic doormat. I fought through my anxiety disorder completely alone and never asked anyone to assist me with anything really. Why was I always showing up for people who would use me and then move on?
It’s no secret that since my childhood I have consistently been a magnet for those in need. People become drawn to me when they are suffering somehow. Sometimes even strangers will come up to me and just start talking to me to lift some heavy weight off their heart. My private dance lessons often look more like therapy sessions, where students, sometimes people who just met me, open up to me and cry and vent their trauma.
It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I began to realize something very important that has fully shifted the way that I see this gift, that I now know to be a blessing and not a curse. For my whole life my prayer every day has been for God to lead me to my highest purpose and calling so that I can impact the world in the most positive way and have the absolute best influence on the lives of those around me. What I didn’t realize is that I have always been led to that path- but my perspective was broken – and until I shifted it I couldn’t be lifted.
I am constantly called to sit beside people in their darkness because I CAN. Because I can sit in darkness and understand it and I can offer light and perspective and I am and always have been strong enough not to let it affect or drain me. This ability to walk beside people in their hard times and then let them move on with their own beautiful path, hopefully a little stronger or happier, is my gift and is the path to my highest purpose. Selfishly, I was clinging to attachment and not letting life flow the way its absolutely meant to. Things do not need to be permanent to be significant. I would feel that since we bonded through their hardship that it was abandonment somehow for them to take what they needed from me and go. Now I see it for what it is – the absolute highest exchange of energy and my life’s calling and purpose.
I don’t have people to lift me up because I don’t need anyone to lift me up. I think everything about my life and the way it has unfolded, including being born an only child has played into my independence and prepared me for this. My super power is my ability to regenerate my own strength and to remain calm in dire situations. I can sit with the heaviest hearts and cry with them and then I can heal myself and move on most times even stronger than before. I have learned how to empathize and be present but not let things fully infiltrate my heart and take me down. I have come to see myself as a beacon of sorts, much like a lighthouse. My role in your life might be to safely guide you into one harbor, so that later on I can watch you move on to other journeys and other harbors.
I have now found so much joy in this and in my “temporary” presence in the lives of those in need. I love to look in on people I have had those moments with and see their abundance and joy and know I have had even a small part in their life. I have learned to operate out of love and not out of obligation and that allows me to find fulfillment in these exchanges and not resentment. Now it has become quite the opposite of the drain it once was…now the more I do it, the stronger I become.
This is definitely not to make myself out to be some kind of martyr or saint, absolutely not. I have done plenty of fucking things up -especially when I had anxiety and didn’t understand my power. I was always insulted or taking something personally. I was always getting my feelings hurt because I had “overextended” myself. I was the toxic person in a couple relationships and sometimes just an asshole to strangers for no good reason other than I was cranky. One time I even yelled at a pigeon, my bad Mr. Pidge if you’re still out there. I paid my karmic dues for bad choices and character flaws but in the end I have learned from every misstep. I have asked for forgiveness and I more importantly have changed and continue to adjust on the daily as more facets of this incredibly complex path are revealed to me.
I have recently fallen in love with a principle called Amor Fati, which translates literally to “love of fate.” It basically calls you to fall in love with your fate, with your life. To love both the good and the bad, the high and the low points. Not to judge it or to try to change it but to love all of it as it is in the present. I have come to love my ability to not fear the darkness and to love my fate as as a lighthouse. I now know I am strong enough and awake enough to not fear this path or curse it or resent it – but instead to follow it where it leads me. To only allow people in my life to become permanent if they can understand and support my commitment to this calling. It is not an easy perspective to take. People will often feel I’m allowing myself to “be taken advantage of,” and sometimes people who love me become angry for me if someone I have helped doesn’t step up for me when I am in need. I think that is totally understandable but it is just misguided. I don’t need anyone I have helped to come back and help me – in fact I don’t want that. I want to help them back to their feet and then watch them take off running – towards their own highest path and self. If that includes a relationship or friendship with me that’s fine and if not, that’s fine too. People in my life may just be passing through and because I open my door to everyone, many people will come and go. I just want them to go a little stronger than when they came, a little happier, a little brighter – maybe as their own beacon to someone new; That way, together, we can help to light the whole world.