What is an empath and how do you know if you are one? Some people wear like it like a banner and others are ashamed to admit that they are because there is a vulnerability that can misconstrued as weakness. Sometimes it is a weakness. It depends on the individual and where they are in their journey.
My journey as an empath began at a very young age. I was an emotional sponge and I still am if I’m not careful. Friends, if you read this blog and relate to the traits I describe below, be sure to do your own self care. The world needs us right now AND they need us healthy.
If you have most of these traits, consider yourself an empath:
Being an empath can be both an amazing experience and a curse. It depends on how you develop as a person. The most important take away I have is that setting personal boundaries should be your first priority when you realize that you are an empath. Realize that you are enough and you don’t have to give up who you are to please someone else. Set boundaries with family and friends and all that cross your path. It is not easy to do. Start small by saying no to things that don’t matter too much to you. For instance, say no to volunteering for something that will cost you precious time that you don’t have to spare. Begin considering yourself first before you commit to anyone or anything. This is not being selfish. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot help anyone else. I liken this advice to the instructions that flight attendants give when you are on a plane. In order to help your children or anyone around you on the plane, you must first put your own oxygen mask on. Self care is important.
If you have an experience you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.
I would like to add a very important detail that some of you can relate to – addictions. Empaths are prone to addictions of all sorts. The sensitivity can be overwhelming at times so we develop addictions to dull the senses or distract us from dealing with our feelings. It is so important to honor your journey if you are in the midst of an addiction. Get real with yourself and be gentle and loving. Forgive yourself and forgive others. That is the path to healing.
Eleven years ago I made a conscious decision to volunteer with an organization that advocates for children. I went through the extensive training and background check and was ready for my first case. She came to me as soon as I graduated the program. She had trust issues and I was her second advocate. Already at a disadvantage, I decided that I would dedicate time on a weekly basis to build her trust. She needed me and I needed her to trust me in order to be her voice.
When I began this journey with my Warrior Princess, my hope was that we would be able to reunite her with her family. I was told that it could take up to a year and to be prepared to attend all meetings and appointments on her behalf. I was ready and excited to be of service. I did not realize how deeply involved I would become with my Warrior Princess.
My Warrior Princess was 15 at the time we met. I could see so much potential in her but it would be years before she saw that potential in herself. Every week I would pick her up and spend a couple of hours with her. She began to see that I really cared. We worked on an end goal of her being able to go home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for her. I crossed the line of being an advocate and developed more a family bond with her. I loved her like my own children and felt more like mama bear versus advocate. What she went through in her young life broke my heart. I could relate to some of her trials and tribulations as I had experienced them too.
At 18, she graduated school and was given a little money and she moved away. The grown ups involved in her life hoped that the years of counseling she received would help her as she embarked on her life as an adult. My biggest wish for her was that she could break free from the emotional oppression that she had felt as child. But again her life took some twists and turns. She became a young mother and the patterns continued. We stayed in touch throughout the years and I held a hope in my heart that she would one day realize who she is.
That day has come. My Warrior Princess is a little weathered from her trials. She has walked through fire and she has been burned more than a few times. Yet it has removed the shell of a person that has held her back. Her new skin is shiny and bright. She’s still getting used to the look. But she is beautiful inside and out.
She called me the other day to let me know that she heard me all those years and she knows on a deep level that she is worthy of all the good things life has to offer. I believe her. I shared that I myself am going through the fire, shedding my old skin to prepare for a new life. We are mirroring that for each other. She is a strong and resilient spirit and I know that she is here to make a difference. Her walk has not been easy but so worth it. I look forward to seeing her create her best life.
My Warrior Princess is an inspiration to me and I love her with all my heart. She is like a daughter. I will always be her biggest fan.
My Warrior Princess is a beautiful flower.
I’ve been in a holding pattern for months. I want to make some shit happen. Why? Because being still, patient, has never been my best attribute. I sound like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum, and that would not be entirely untrue. Life is happening right in front of me without me controlling the situation. My inner child is stomping her feet and having a full on tantrum right now.
There are answers for my dilemma but they are not what I planned so I’ve cast them aside in favor of my own ideas. So the real struggle here is not where I am physically but where I am in my mind. Letting go of the need to control every aspect of my life. I’m sure the Universe is having a hey day trying to persuade me to listen to the gentle, still voice of reason. I acknowledge my shortcomings and really want to embrace the gentler way of being. It’s scary and unknown. What if I fall flat on my face? But then I think where I am now and is it not a worse place to be? The anxiety and depression I have caused myself has created physical symptoms of stress.
As I contemplate a new way of being, I realize that I’m open to it only because “making shit happen” has failed me. Admitting that publicly creates a lump in my throat. It’s not an easy lesson. I hope that I fully embrace it. It may take a while. I’m a work in progress.
Today I will live in the moment and be thankful for all that I have in my life. I have a place to live, friends and family that love me and a life that is waiting to unfold.
Mom said it best the other day…
Vestibulous: The act of being extremely content with your current situation. I learned about the act of being vestibulous one morning while having breakfast at IHOP with my mom. The word was an audible whisper in my ear. I repeated the word out loud and asked mom if she had ever heard the word before. We were both stumped so I looked it up (once I figured out how it was spelled) and found it on the Urban Dictionary site. I got a good laugh as I read the meaning. This word was definitely given to me to embrace.
My attitude was anything but vestibulous. In the midst of a Radical Reset, I was letting go of so much and I was in pain. How would I find a way to be extremely content?
It didn’t happen overnight and I still have moments where I wish I could fast forward to the future and be on the beach with my toes in the sand. Doing deep soul work is not easy. I was used to forging ahead and powering through life – settling for “what is” was my default. However powering through life was no longer working for me. I’d have to sit with life and allow time and circumstances to change as I did the work. Sitting still has always been my worst fear. I felt that being still equaled not accomplishing anything. I was wrong. In the past few months, I’ve come to appreciate the stillness. I’ve seen my life fall apart and things come together in a way that I could only dream. Every day is a new experience. There are no definitive answers right now and I am not going to worry. Each and every day is an opportunity to be not only content but deeply happy. It’s an inside job.
Meditation and music have been instrumental (pun intended) in helping me to be present and content with my current situation. Wherever life takes me, I will strive to be extremely content in the moment.
1996 marked the year I was blessed with a baby girl. Her entrance into the world was long anticipated. My oldest was 10 at the time and I had all but given up hope of having another child. She came to me in the most interesting way through adoption.
The birth mother and her oldest sister Deborah looked at potential parent profiles. And our family was chosen. We had a week’s notice to prepare for her birth. It was a frenzy of excitement and preparation. A baby girl. While we were preparing to say hello, the birth mother and her family were preparing to say goodbye.
The birth day came and the birth family spent time with her. Holding her, loving her and speaking sweet messages of hope that they would one day see her again. Both families came together in a hospital waiting room. It was a blend of bittersweet emotions. Joy, excitement, sadness…felt by everyone.
The oldest birth aunt seemed to hold the family together and she reached out to me before we left the hospital and made sure that we knew that our girl was loved. I knew that. Feeling that connection with the birth aunt is something that I have always been thankful for. She wrote letters to our girl and made sure that the connection continued.
This past week, this amazing woman whom I consider a sister, went to her heavenly home. It is a shock that I am sure her family is still processing. I am too.
She was instrumental in my sweet girl reuniting with the rest of her birth family. This woman took my girl under her wings and got her in contact with multiple birth family members. The healing journey had begun for my girl. There was one piece missing. My girl wanted desperately to meet her birth mother. That happened this week at the funeral of her amazing aunt. I believe it was her one last gift to my girl. The healing continues. This woman will be deeply missed but I can tell you that she is undoubtedly watching over her family in Heaven and orchestrating wonderful things.
RIP Deborah ♥
Two months into my Radical Reset has proven one thing to me…it is a journey. The first part was clearing out all that is not for my greatest and highest good. I call it the “Marie Kondo for the soul”.
Letting go of so much in my life has left me raw and broken. I’ve cried deeply, mourned, and even tried to bargain with the Universe to let me stay in my situation. And I did for a while. Yet it felt so inauthentic. I couldn’t lie to myself. It is no longer okay for me to live by default. So my new tactic is to simply embrace what is.
In past behavior, if I was in a situation that I didn’t like, I would just power through and make the best of it. Accepting and settling for what I thought was best. Slowly life crept up on me and I realized that I was not happy. The only way it would change, is if I changed. That pattern had to be broken. And that would take courage. It took me a long time to really face the reality of how I felt. I lied to myself and to those around me. I’ve had to do some self forgiveness for living an unauthentic life. No one else is responsible for my happiness but me.
My Marie Kondo for the soul began with baby steps. First having the courage to purge old clothes in my wardrobe. That felt good so I moved on to things in the house that I no longer needed. Every step led me to a deeper purging. The most significant change I’ve made so far is in acknowledging that I am not in control of everything in my life. I have had to let go of attitudes and patterns too. There are circumstances in my life that I can change. When I can, I do so. Then there are circumstances that are out of my control. I have to trust and believe that life is working out in a divine time that I am not aware of. Letting go of the insane idea that I have control over things is a work in progress. There are days that I think I have it all figured out, then I’m brought to my knees with humility as I realize I’ve gotten off track once again. The best I can do right now is to be vigilant and aware of how I feel. If a situation, person, thing or event doesn’t create happiness, then I will have the courage to let go.
Have you ever felt so out of touch with who you are that you failed to recognize yourself in the mirror? Don’t feel alone. It’s happened to me not once, but several times in my life. A pattern that I am breaking. When I realized how unhappy I was with my choices, I decided to make some some changes with a Radical Reset. What is a Radical Reset?
A Radical Reset begins with a state of mind. A willingness to acknowledge what is not working for you. It takes courage and humility to admit to yourself and others that you have gotten off track. Once you have admitted where you are in your life, the next step can begin. Let me forewarn you that a Radical Reset is not instantaneous nor are there any shortcuts. As a matter of fact, it can be downright painful. Are you ready to fully let go of “what is” to embrace what can be?
After admitting (the first step) that I got sidetracked, I had the task of figuring out how to get back in the grove of my best life. What did I want to accomplish? What was I willing to let go of? Was I ready to be out of my comfort zone? My answers shocked me. I was ready to make some massive changes in my life. This was not going to be pretty or fun. It still isn’t. I’m still in the process of creating my new life. There are days when I feel so excited about new opportunities and days that I just want to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. When I have those moments, I remind myself that in order to get a different outcome, I have to be and act differently. My best life is in the process of showing up. I can’t quit.
Radical Reset is not for wimps! If you are reading this, perhaps this is YOUR message to get in gear and make some changes in your life.
I’d like to share some tips that have helped me along the way:
A bullet list is easy to write. It is much more difficult to apply it to life. Changes are not always easy and can be downright heartbreaking. What I can say about my journey so far is that I completely recognize the courageous woman looking back at me in the mirror.