PHOTO CREDIT: PAUL CASTANIE
It's a stressful world for most, some more than others. In spite of one's current circumstances there is always someone whose headspace is more painfully cramped than the others and need an immediate search and rescue mission before they break under the weight of it all. Now don’t you go listing out the problems in your own life to fit into this bracket, it is the exclusive domain of a certain personality type, the type that takes every spiritually charged line on finding true happiness in the happiness of others a little too seriously. The ones who feel heartbroken over every fly caught in spider’s web and those who refuse to stay emotionally detached when anyone anywhere goes through just about any little problem. Our unsung heroes, our unwavering punching bags and problem dumps, the Empaths!
PHOTO CREDIT: KULLI KITTUS
EMOTIONAL COST OF AN UNDER ANALYZED SPIRITUAL SENTIMENT
Truth be told, actively thinking about other people’s happiness is one of those virtues that stands at the far top of the spiritual message pool. A quick antithesis to self-obsession and vapid narcissism, harboring empathetic tendencies is pretty prophetic. It implores everyone to look beyond their limited vision and acknowledge that most often than not they are either the cause of other’s problems or the person most likely to resolve them, thus creating a ripple effect that boomerangs back to the giver, a ceaseless peace known only to those who care for others. It opens up one’s mind by reducing assimilation of everyday discomforts as problem areas and addressing the bigger picture by becoming more aware of those around, maybe even the world eventually. It is a beautiful sentiment that brings out the best in humanity, their ability to care.
But as noble as the quest for other’s happiness maybe, it instantly turns into life threatening burdens that anyone in the position of being emotionally manipulated would feel too difficult to carry, empaths worst of all. The blurred distinction between caring for others and making someone happy adds ten folds to the burden that shouldn’t be anyone’s to carry in the first place.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAVISUKO
THE SPIRITUALLY BURDENED ARCHETYPE
If you are wondering whether you or anyone you know falls under this diabolical net then follow the thread of emotional exhaustion brought on by one’s inability to detach feelings from expectations, the overwhelming feeling accompanying every provoking piece of information and the guilt that follows every choice made in service of self. Empaths are quite easily spotted as people with feelings coming out of their ears. You can detect them almost instinctively just look for someone you feel compelled to dump all of your frustrations on to. It is bound by an innate knowledge that they would handle yours and perhaps everyone else’s problems in the best way you need them to. It’s like being a job provider on a freelancer site and instinctively seeking out that one freelancer whose profile picture you way too found trusting, of course in real life scenarios they wouldn’t be so easily picked for the job if at all. A lack of assertiveness in drawing boundaries and the general ability to open up without emotional involvement keeps empaths from being considered very job worthy, certainly not as a leader.
While empaths have it particularly difficult, they are not alone in their misguided attempts to carry the emotional weight beyond their means. Some willingly succumb to self-sacrificial emotional drainage in hopes of pleasing others as a form of processing certain deep seated internal struggles; many others are coerced or manipulated into carrying a burden they had no business being responsible for.
PHOTO CREDIT: AVERIE WOODARD
CHOOSE EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL WELLBEING - CHOOSE YOU
Though it is unlikely that anyone’s sole source of exhaustion stems from over utilizing emotional reserves in the name of serving others but for those crippling causes there are a few ways to release the strain for good –
1. UNDERSTAND THAT HAPPINESS IS ALWAYS A PERSONAL CHOICE
For all your strength and bravado it is essential to understand that happiness is a choice that everyone must make for themselves. It is impossible to make an unhappy soul feel better since nothing in this world, not that job, house, car, gadget, money etc. is enough need to last a lifetime. One’s source of dissatisfaction doesn’t have to be chronic but it is a need born out of tangible requirements and the only benefit it provides, besides short lived comfort is the rush of happy hormones one experiences momentarily before it goes away. Going above and beyond for others especially one’s loved ones is a noble as long as it doesn’t involve carrying the weight of expectations in the name of keeping them happy.
2. KNOW YOUR NEEDS FIRST
More often than not, the burden of keeping up with everyone else’s happiness comes at the cost of undermined personal needs. Sometimes these needs are big enough to alter the course of one’s life and yet the pull of honoring the demands slapped on by others lead to a lifetime of regrets and hurts, not to mention missed opportunities. If only you could stand up for yourself the way you did for someone who couldn’t be bothered to give you same consideration. Knowing what you can and cannot live with in the long run is an essential test while figuring out if choosing others over your own needs is even worth the drama.
3. TREAT YOURSELF WITH THE KINDNESS YOU OFFER OTHERS
Know that your ability to care should not come at the cost of losing yourself. Show yourself the same level of kindness that you offer others. Simple things like taking the time out to prioritize yourself and following through on the promises you make for yourself go a long way in ensuring that those empathetic abilities are utilized as a source of joy and not your biggest burden.
4. ASSERT YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS
Everything that you care about, your hopes, dreams, goals, being an authentic version are an expression of self and more importantly driven by your purpose in life and as such deserve to be fought for. It is essential to speak your mind without feeling guilty for fighting for your own rights.
5. PAMPER YOUR SENSES
Meditation and physical fitness go a long way in helping your body and mind come to terms with a well-rounded lifestyle while proving a deep sense of clarity and power that submerges your fears. Regular indulgence in invigorating activities on top of body-mind routine completes the loop with a heart-soul harmony.
There is much that can be done to reclaim your life and if these starter packs don’t work perfectly, you can always ask for a little more professional help. Souls as sensitive are a gift to this world and deserve to be taken care of especially by you. There is no glory in self-harm and no sin in looking after your own interests.
PHOTO CREDIT: NINE KOEPFER