EMPATH

Who knows what an empath is?

According to Merriam-Webster, an empath is one who experiences the emotions of others.

It took me a long time to figure out I am an empath. Well, I believe I am. I don’t actually have an official way of knowing.

According to this article from psychology.com, here are the 10 ways to know you are an empath:

  1. Highly sensitive (in my case, oversensitive)
  2. Absorbs other people’s emotions
  3. Tend to be introverted, can be overwhelmed in large gatherings
  4. Highly intuitive
  5. Need alone time
  6. Can be overwhelmed in intimate relationships
  7. Targets for energy vampires
  8. Replenished in nature
  9. Highly tuned senses
  10. Huge hearts but sometimes give too much

It took me a long time to figure out that a lot of the times I was overwhelmed by my feelings, it was because I was absorbing other people’s feelings. It devours you and makes you want to hide and not deal with anything. I’m sure there also people out there that would be surprised that I need time alone. I can specifically remember one night I had gone to Knott’s Scary Farm with my friends when I was 16. At the beginning of the night, I was super social. By the end, I just wanted to be in my bed by myself. There are many more examples that helped me realize that I fit the description of an empath. I wish I had known when I was younger so I could have figured out how to deal with it better. I don’t think I fully realized it until I was almost 30.

It did make having a relationship difficult. How do you explain to someone how you feel when you don’t even completely understand what is happening? The accusation of being oversensitive was thrown at me a lot. And I thought I was. I thought it was my fault that I felt the way I felt. I finally realized that my feelings don’t need to be invalidated. This was something that was a part of me. I had to learn to own it.

That’s exactly what I ended up doing. I learned not to stop my tears or if I was feeling upset. It didn’t get rid of the feelings. It just bottled them up until I exploded. Now, I try to understand them and I talk about them. It helps to move forward faster.

Now, let’s talk about being an empath and a mother. That means that you rarely get alone time, there are feelings all over the place, and picking up other emotions is a daily occurrence. The positive side is I also know when my kids are really feeling things and I need to address them without assuming it will heal. The only way I do know how to deal with it is to shut myself down (which I admit might not be the best way). I have to compartmentalize a lot. I don’t know if this makes me a better or worse mother because I have to separate myself from whatever my kids are feeling or doing.

Something I hadn’t thought about until recently is that my children might be empaths as well. The older one already shows signs of empathy at an extremely young age. How do I teach her to deal with this? How do I teach her how to handle it when I’m not even sure how to deal with it myself? What is the healthiest way for her to handle it?

Do I have any empaths out there who can offer some advice?

The First Thing To Go Out The Door

Self-care.

As a mother, I think this is the first thing that we abandon when we have kids. Our priorities shift enough that the order of important is the following: kids #1-however many and our partner, work, home, extended family, the world, everything else, ourselves.

We forget we exist until we run ourselves down enough that there is only a shell of our former selves left. Then, all of a sudden, we are locked in a bathroom, crying our eyes out because this isn’t the life we imagined.

We have to take care of ourselves. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, then how can we be a good example for our kids?

I’m not only talking about the physical stuff like showering, grooming, exercising. We have to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally. We have to take that time in the day where we can focus on ourselves.

Doing all of this other stuff is wearing. It’s tiring. It’s hard to refocus on yourself. When I finally get a few minutes of quiet, I just sit there and stare into the abyss. Okay, the abyss in reality is the tv. It’s like I forget how to function. I can’t even think of what I’d want to do for myself. If I do figure it out, I don’t have the energy.

It’s easy to get caught up in resentment and anger when you get used to putting yourself last. As a South Asian Indian mom, I’m programmed to put myself last. I’m supposed to put my kids and husband first. And every time I feel neglected, I end up feeling a mixture of sadness and anger.

The thing is that you have to find the solution. Your kids are never going to put you first and your partner can only help so much. You have to find the time and energy to do things for yourself. You have to be okay with putting yourself first sometimes. You have to find ways to take care of yourself.

If you have any self-care tips, I’d love to hear them. I am always looking for new ways to take care of myself.

Why It’s Time To Take A Facebook Break

Yesterday, I wrote a post where I was wondering who I am.

Today, I realized the best course of action would be to take a break from Facebook.

I love Facebook for so many reasons, the main one being that I can keep in touch with my friends and family from all over the world. It allows me to be a part of everyone’s lives even when I’m not able to see or talk to those people regularly. I also get to be a part of so many different groups and have been able to make friends via social media throughout the world.

But, on the flip side, it’s not real. We only see what people want us to see. It’s not a bad thing to be able to celebrate the good times and experiences that others have until things aren’t always where you want them to be in your life. Then, you end up focusing on what you imagine to be their perfect lives to be like and how imperfect your own life is.

You forget to see the good happening in your own life. You forget that the lives of others aren’t perfect either. And when social media becomes a negative instead of a positive aspect of your life, it might be time to step away from it. It might be time to put Facebook, Instagram, Twitter in the corner while you figure out what is important to you and your life.

This is where I’m at right now. I want to be able to focus on me again. I want to focus on my family. I don’t want to sit and obsess about the lives of other people and how it seems so much more exciting than mine.

This isn’t the first Facebook break I’ve taken. I had to do this in 2012 when I felt like a part of my life was just not moving in the direction I wanted it to go. It helped me tremendously. It felt great to refocus my energy off of social media and back onto myself and the people I love. I was able to shift my mind towards the things I wanted to accomplish instead of just feeling bad when others accomplished something. I was able to be happy for my friends when good things happened to them instead of just jealous that they weren’t happening to me.

So, in my efforts to shift my energy in a direction that I can be proud of, I have decided to take a break from Facebook.

 

Having a Family: Commitment or Sacrifice

– By Anonymous

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights – Pauline R Kezer

In reflecting on my life in the last 5 years, I see myself as a different person than I had envisioned. I knew children would change me and change my lifestyle, but not in the way it has. 5 years ago, I drew my energy from being around others, from being in social situations, and from conversations with my family of friends. I swore that this wouldn’t change by having children. Fast forward to now and I re-energize by having moments of quiet time those late hours when I’m awake because my 4-year-old is having nightmares, those wee early morning hours when not a soul is yet awake in my house, or those minutes when my office door is closed and no one comes knocking. When did I change from being an extrovert to an introvert?

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been hiding in a cave of sorts. Whether it was a conscious or unconscious decision to limit my interactions with others is unclear; what is clear is that I’ve made some lifestyle changes and am re-evaluating and prioritizing those important things in my life.

I talked to several people during this enlightening time and have come to the conclusion that some people perceive the time spent with young children and limiting “mommy time” – time away from the children – as a sacrifice: a sacrifice of the self. Others perceive this time as a commitment. I count myself in the camp of those who consider it a commitment. Growing up, I saw my cousins allow their parents raise their children, giving more of themselves to their social lives and career ambitions. I never wanted to be the parent who relied so heavily on grandparents. I firmly believe that my children should know me as their mom. I am also an ambitious career woman (which also adds guilt because I spend so much time away from my kids) so when I am home with my family, everything else gets shut off. No text messages, no phone calls, no tv. I am committed to being “mommy” which means I get to have dance parties with my kids before bed, read stories, and enjoys tickles and giggles. Please don’t misunderstand. There are also moments of frustration but I’m committed to helping my children work through tantrums, fights, and experiencing such intense emotions.

Did I forget to mention my role as wife? I also have a firm belief that without a solid foundation, whether that is as a single parent or as a two parent household, parenting can go south real quick. So when the kids are asleep or entertaining themselves, I work on making that foundation as solid as possible (in addition to completing chores such as dishes, general cleaning and laundry).

So commitment or sacrifice? I suppose that is in how one perceives the various roles a woman plays when she becomes a mother (or the roles a man plays when he becomes a father) and also depends on how one chooses to prioritize the different aspects and responsibilities in his or her life.

I have changed and I am committed to my family. I’m not here to judge those who choose a different way, I’m just asking to not be judged for choosing my way.

It’s All Fake

So when you go out to a social event, do you see the people that you never talk to other than at that type of event? Do you go up to them, say hi, make small talk, only to go home and not talk to them again until the next social event? My question is why. I’m wondering why people make that effort if we, in reality, are not impressed or don’t make a connection to the person we are talking to. If no further effort is going to be made, then why spend any time at all bothering to say hi? I’m not talking about the people who you potentially might start a friendship with. I’m talking about those people who have met you again and again and again and nothing changes.

Or is this just a step in the social ladder?

What about those people you just don’t like? There doesn’t have to be a specific reason but sometimes, there are people that have some sort of personality difference that you don’t get along with. Do we have to pretend to like them?

I can’t. I just can’t fake it. I don’t have the energy to pretend to be nice to someone I don’t respect or don’t like. Usually, when this happens, it’s after a few opportunities to try to at least be civil acquaintances. If that effort doesn’t work, then I usually end up ignoring the person or just saying a quick hi and not bothering with the small talk. I don’t try to be rude.

Does this make me a bad person or just honest? At least, people will know where they stand with me. What would you do?

Getting Over the Negative (With Some Help from Facebook)

I decided that I’m going to do the things I avoid doing because I have some weird issue with them. For example, when I’m totally jealous of someone’s trip on Facebook or have had some issue with that person in the past, I’m going to deliberately like the photo or post that I have an issue with. I want to stop reacting the way I do to these things and just start appreciating them for what or who they are.

I’m hoping that this will create positive energy and will eventually result in changing the way I feel about things that have been negative for me in the past. Reacting negatively keeps me down and really doesn’t help me progress in life. Then comes the spiral of negativity that just keeps growing and growing until there is a breakdown. I’m hoping that reacting positively will have the same effect, only with a positive ending.

It’s hard when the obviously negative things keep coming in your face but from what I understand about the Law of Attraction, focusing on the positive will bring good things into your life. It’s a hard cycle to break out of, especially when you’ve been there for so long. Sometimes, a big change is the only way to move on. Things will get better.

Learning how to appreciate other people’s happiness is something I want to be able to do.  I don’t want to look at them and wonder why I’m not in the same place. I wouldn’t want someone else thinking that about me either. It’s definitely going to be a challenge but I’m willing to accept it. I want to believe that good wishes towards someone else will result in good wishes towards me. This might be a completely selfish motivation but it might also help both others and myself to be better people, to be more positive people.

Maybe Facebook isn’t there to show you someone’s real life (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). Maybe it’s there to show you what’s good about the world, what is there to look forward to, what brings happiness to people. Maybe this is what we need to be reminded of the good that there is in the world so we know that our own struggles don’t define what our lives hold for us. Maybe seeing someone smile will bring a smile to us.

When Change Needs to Happen

There are times like now where I literally have a hard time moving through the day because something major in my life needs to change. I’ve felt like this twice before. Once in college when I was someplace I didn’t like, studying something I didn’t enjoy. And the second time was at the end of a major relationship that I knew wasn’t going to last. 

Moving on is such a difficult decision to make. Everything you’re familiar with has to change.  Everything you’re comfortable with has to go. And you start feeling that you’re quitting on something you should accomplish. I take an unusually long time in the period of debate just to make sure I’m not making the wrong decision. Something I’ve figured out though is that change is usually for the better. Both times I have made major life decisions, I have come out better and much happier. 

These crossroads are our true tests in life. Some of us have an easier time than others believing we will come out on our feet no matter what. Some of us have a very difficult time giving up what we know for the fear that the unknown will bring us. It is scary to take risks even though we know that they might pay off. In my case, they did. Yet, I’m still terrified of making changes. I’ve seen risks others have taken pay off badly and I think this has affected my core instinct. My practical brain stays in charge even though my emotional brain is freaking out. 

You will know when you are in a negative situation that you need to get out of. The challenge is in actually taking that step. This is where you develop your strength. Knowing that the step is terrifying but taking it anyways will help us realize that we can survive anything. Even with knowing this though, it takes a lot of courage to make the change. Prolonging that change though will only make us feel worse though. 

What is the change that you know you need to make but haven’t made yet?