Empath? Who me??

On April 2nd, 2017 I found myself again. I started to feel what others feel – the pain, the hurt, and the excitement, energetic, effervescent. It came back rushing like a long lost father and son. Tears well up as these emotions hit me at once. It felt freeing, but yet burdening at the same time. I knew what this meant and I knew what I had to do.

I am what one calls an empath. I feel and take on the emotions of others and make them as my own. I have been doing so for as long as I cannot remember because I don’t realize I am doing so. The thing is, for my entire life, I didn’t know such a real meaning existed for what I was feeling. I cared a lot about others – I’ve laughed, cried, gotten angry, depressed as if it were my own experiences.

At a very young age, I thought I was extremely sensitive, but as I grew older and wiser, I started to not care any longer. Why should I care about others’ problems? Who’s going to care for Sabrina’s problems? Who was going to celebrate with Sabrina in her victories? Who was going to sit and listen to Sabrina when she needed it the most and felt the weight of the world on her shoulders? So I stopped caring.

That’s the thing about empaths. We take on so much until we can longer do so and we shut people out. We build a high wall and block others from being let into our own hearts and mind — yet we’re still alive and well in the lives of others. But then, one day, that wall meets four other walls with roof and we block it all out all together. We’re seen as aloof, ignorant, insensitive, you name it – but we’re anything but. Most times, we don’t even realize what we were and what we’ve become until one day we find ourselves welling up with emotion again unexpectedly. That day was April 2nd.

Something was different, however. Who I once was came rushing back, but in a way that allowed me to put Sabrina first. I felt it all — the emotions were there. She was nowhere near me, but our minute of texts said it all. “I’ve been crying so much”, she wrote. And there it was – I knew she was and I felt her pain within me. The tears welled up, but stopped instantly. Did I not care any more? I could hear in my mind, inner Sabrina was saying to myself, “The weight of the world is not yours to carry”. In that moment, I began to smile. Not because it wasn’t my problem — yet I knew that — but instead I smiled because I no longer felt burdened knowing what I knew.

Was this a break through for me? I sat there on the train as it rode over the water, looking out. That little voice inside said to me, “This is meant for you. This is what you need to do.” A wave of chills ran through my body and then nothing. Peace. Continuously those words ran through my mind. For so long, the thing I tried to run from without knowing came running back to me. I fought for many years trying to decipher who Sabrina was meant to be. Yet, little did I know she is who she always was.

I’m meant to help people – listen to them and be a voice for them. I thought to myself, “I can do this”. I can be this empath without losing myself. Is it a gamble? Possibly. However, it’s a gamble worth playing if it means being that one person who stopped to say, “Hey, how are you?” and truly wanting to know how one is doing. Who knows what this means for me, but as long as I remember the weight of the world is not mine to carry, I can be an empath all I want and keep my sanity.

– S

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