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The way of the Empath – Understanding ourselves

Chances are if you’ve decided to click on this blog, you’re curious about what an empath or Highly sensitive person is, or you’ve been wondering lately if you might be one, but don’t really know much at all about what it means to you.

During these months of isolation due to COVID-19, many of our lives have slowed down to almost a screeching halt, and what this has allowed for is a space to open up to catch our collective breath, recalibrate and check-in with ourselves. What can come from this time is the opportunity to better understand ourselves and our nature.

I know that personally, I’m learning a lot more about myself while in the bubble of my home, and how I’ve had to adapt to being in such close quarters with my loved ones, with no space to be too far apart from each other. I bet like me, you’re finding many things are triggering you and your emotions are all over the place.

So many people are feeling a wide range of emotions these days, and that’s to be expected due to the uncertainty in the world. There are also many stressors and unknowns with regard to jobs, school and finances.

But in addition to the common emotions that many people have, are you starting to question yours more?

Do you ever wonder, “Why am I so sensitive to every little thing?”

Take a look at the following list and see if you recognize or resonate with the following characteristics more since you’ve been in isolation?

  • You feel responsible for other people’s emotions
  • You don’t like yelling, loud noises, or grating repetitive sounds
  • People talking incessantly overwhelms you
  • You are easily overwhelmed, whether it be by information, noise, crowds, emotions, etc.
  • You are craving more alone time
  • You often want to sleep to escape intensity, overstimulation, or overwhelm
  • You struggle with fatigue, especially after a lot of social interaction, or chronic fatigue due to lack of self-care, alone time and downtime
  • You cry often and feel your own (and others) emotions deeply and powerfully
  • You don’t like confrontations and can shut down when conversations become too intense
  • You dislike a chaotic home (mess, clutter, etc)
  • You’re always putting everyone else’s needs before your own
  • You care for yourself last, and neglect your own wants and needs, or devalue them

 

There are so many other ways these traits can manifest themselves in the life of an empath and HSP. If any of these traits stand out for you and you’re realizing you are highly sensitive … congratulations! If they don’t read further and I can help you to understand a little bit more!

The traits listed aren’t bad or good, many of them are just inherent in many empaths and HSP’s.

There are challenges navigating life as an empath and a highly sensitive person and may mean that you sometimes feel overwhelmed in parenting.

I remember when my three children were very young, my high sensitivity really became evident. There was so much overstimulation! Between tandem feedings (I had twins), managing a toddler, and the sleep deprivation, I often felt fragile emotionally drained.

I had rarely any downtime and was often overwhelmed with the number of tasks I was juggling on any given day. The noise and chaos of a busy household sent my nervous system into a tizzy.

Over time, like a slow burn, I exhausted myself to near burnout, and it was a long and slow return to normal that I’m still navigating to this day.

What changed things for me was that fateful day when I picked up the book by psychotherapist and researcher Elaine Aron, called “The Highly Sensitive Person”. It was like my soul lit up in recognition when I poured over the pages. I became aware that so many of my perceived flaws and weaknesses were in fact gifts, and I started to better understand myself and my energetic makeup. It was such a liberating feeling! I could finally put to words, and have validation about what my experience had been for my entire life! 

Jump ahead to the present day. My children are no longer babies and toddlers, and there are still different levels of chaos going on in our household at any given moment. I still have to navigate being a highly sensitive person in a household where we are confined together.  But, I am confident that I will be able to take each day as it comes and make adjustments to my life and environment where necessary. I have learned so much about myself over the years and have better clarified my needs in order to be able to function my best as a mom, wife and woman.

Next time, I’ll share with you some tips and strategies that have helped me gain more comfort as an HSP and empath.

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