If you ever felt you were someone who has the capacity to feel what other people are feeling, if you felt physically drained after a day spent around a group of people at work or at a lively event, or if you felt completely exhausted by the presence of a person who vacuums out all of your energy, leaving you completely deflated after every interaction, then this is for you.
Empaths are instinctively inclined to step into another person’s shoes.
They are the listeners, the feelers, and the ones we turn to in times of despair. People with strong empathy skills are able to step outside themselves and understand what you’re saying, thinking and feeling.
If you fall into this category, it is likely that at some point you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders. Some empaths even go as far as feeling the depths of the world’s issues – they see pain and confusion caused by war, greed and injustice, and they feel all of it with full intensity.
In order to not crumble, and continue to function properly in the world, you cannot allow yourself to fall victim to other people’s emotions and thought processes.
Here we will look at five ways to help you keep an emotional balance while practicing empathy:
When people use you as an emotional sponge to process their divorce, loss, or layoff, set a time limit. This must be done so you can offer support the best way you know, without becoming too exhausted.
Be aware of how much information you take in. To avoid riding the rollercoaster of emotions, limit your time on social media and news sites. The world is full of happiness but also, a lot of sadness and injustice. As an empath, you can get entangled in another person’s story and avoid your own emotional needs, even if it’s the story of someone you don’t know.
2. Put yourself first
The idea of putting yourself first will go against anyone who has a strong ability to empathize. However, by making sure your personal needs are met, you will be better able to take care of others.
If your need is to rest, it may be better to finish up that project tomorrow. If you need to have fun, organize a night out. If the need involves solitude, then it’s time for quiet reflection. Whatever you need to replenish your energy, do it. The world needs you to be fully charged up.
3. Work on your wellbeing
Engage in forms of exercise to release trapped energy from within your body: go to the gym, meditate, or listen to the music that calms you down, make dinner with a loved one, take an art class to awaken your creativity. Avoid intimacy with difficult people.
Make sure your cup is never empty. If it is, there’s a possibility that it will be filled by other people’s needs. Discover the things that will allow you to be the best version of yourself.
4. Tend to your own emotions
Just because other people come to you to process their feelings and thoughts, doesn’t mean you’re meant to look only inward for emotional support. Everyone needs people around them for emotional guidance.
Make a regular practice of meeting with trusted friends, walk through your day’s ups and downs with your spouse before going to bed, spend time with family, journal before bed each night to gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
5. Celebrate, you need it
As an empath, pain can oftentimes weigh on you. While sadness is a necessary part of life each one of us needs to feel emotionally balanced, carrying the pain of others isn’t helpful.
Just as you care for your mind, body, and soul through various activities, introduce a rhythm of celebration. Regardless of what is happening around you, there is always something to celebrate.
Try throwing a party to commemorate a personal accomplishment, treat yourself with a night (or day) out just because you’re worth it, give your partner a small gift for taking care of the house, treat your co-worker to a drink for a job well done, let your kids stay up past bedtime to enjoy precious time with them.
Celebrate life and take good care of yourself.
“For one must indulge genuine emotions; sometimes, even in spite of weighty reasons, the breath of life must be called back and kept at our very lips even at the price of great suffering, for the sake of those whom we hold dear.” ~ Seneca