A few years ago I told my husband that I wanted to move out of our old town and closer to the mountains. Honestly, I would have preferred in the mountains, but that wasn’t an option because of my husband's commute. Our previous town was getting crowded and I knew in my heart that I needed the mountains again. Being in nature, especially the mountains has always calmed and centered me.
So we moved and we found a place where I can get out every day if I want to. When I get stressed, I simply look out my window. Or go out onto the deck and look at this hill. It immediately calms and brings me back.
I found out recently that there’s a reason for this, well beyond just that nature is awesome I wouldn’t be surprised if all people felt this way. For me, it turns out that I’m an empath. I mean, I had heard of that before, but I didn’t separate the label from the fact that I know I’ve always been an empathetic person in general. I’ve been able to connect to people, understand their point of view very clearly and explain it to others. It’s part of what led me into the work I’ve done - both in sports medicine and education. I’ve seen and felt a need and have been “called” to try to help.
What I didn’t understand is that there’s more to me than just my ability to be empathetic. I guess being labeled an “empath” ranks up there with being highly sensitive - something I never really connected with my personality. I mean, I am affected by a lot, but I’ve always held these feelings in. I’m just starting to learn more about this new label of mine, but what I’ve read so far has just astounded me.
It’s a very strange thing to be reading aspects about yourself that you always assumed was just you, only to be told that yes it is me but those traits categorize as an empath. The fact that I’ve never felt like I fit in. That I get paralyzed by my emotions and find it hard to venture out and do things that I know are good for me. Being overwhelmed by the various needs that I perceive and how I can best help - what I can do or create. My tendency to sabotage my goals - especially health goals via overeating. The fact that I can literally feel my husband’s negative energy when he’s upset, and if it’s not resolved before we go to bed I cannot sleep. It keeps me awake and I often have to go to a different room to sleep.
There were others, but back to nature. I guess that empaths are often balanced in nature. Being alone in nature is something that helps them disconnect from the influences that they are taking on around them, and possibly connect with more positive energy. I get that and it rang true to me. The need to move out of the crowd and into a secluded area surrounded by opportunities to be outside is exactly what I need, and I need to do it more. Funny enough, I had decided to take a walk to calm myself yesterday when I started listening to The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Dr. Judith Orloff. It was recommended to me by a coach who I’m working with because she suspected that I might fall into the category of “empath”. I literally started crying on the walk because it all rang true. There was a reason why I’ve been feeling like I have been, and there’s a way to better handle it. I can’t wait to learn more.
I’m still reading about this whole empath thing. Please rest assured that I’m not going to come out stating some psychic ability that I have. That’s not me. Right now I’m more interested with how having these characteristics are playing into the utter paralysis and depression I’ve been feeling lately, and what I can do to help myself break free of it. Because I want to break free and maybe be able to use these empathetic skills to help people rather than taking on others’ pain as my own. I’ll share more as I learn and try more, but I feel like this could be a very big turning point on this makeover I’m on.
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