Some of us were born with a feeling of having the weight of the world rest on our shoulders. We take almost everything we see that lacks harmony as some sort of personal failure because we haven’t managed to spread lasting peace around the world. This sounds very extreme and I suppose it is.
As is often the case with beliefs that sound a bit out of this world, a large number of them are unconscious. What might be easier to notice is how we react to situations in our immediate surroundings.
For those of us blessed with an almost overwhelming sense of compassion, understanding, or empathy it’s not uncommon to be the one people seek out when they’re not doing well in whatever way shape or form.
Most of us empathetic types have been in the role of unpaid counselor since we were very young. A lot of the time it feels wonderful to see someone leave with a grimace that is a bit closer to erupting into a smile than the mask of pain they were wearing when they first came to us with their problems. What can and does happen a lot of the time, however, is that our empathy turns into a sense of responsibility.
We have such an ability to feel exactly what any person we encounter is going through that if we’re not careful we adopt their experience as if it were our own. We energetically take on their load, so to speak. Often, with that, we also take on the duty of solving their problems for them.
We can end up carrying their burden for way longer than our interaction with the person in question lasts. On top of that, in some cases, our willingness to accept the other person’s difficulties as our own can cause this person to develop a feeling of dependency on our assistance. When laid out like that, it’s quite clear to see that in the end this doesn’t help anybody. But as we all know, it’s not always that obvious the moment we’re personally involved in something.
There is incredible value in being born with the quality of moving through life not just from your own limited perspective. Because empathy is something society can do with a big dose of, it’s easy to feel that we have some sort of job to do. It’s true that this kind of sensitivity can allow people to be of great service to the world. However, when this service turns into a personal responsibility, it gets a little tricky.
It’s not unlikely there is a bigger plan for our ability to tune in. And quite possibly it will play a role in allowing the world to shift into a different version of itself. Such a beautiful purpose should hardly be cause for struggle. If indeed our sensitivity is employed by divine order as an instrument for a higher awareness to find its way into physical form, then perhaps we could ease off a little on our personal doing.
It’s not uncommon for empathetic people to get to a place where they are (temporarily) overwhelmed by the vastness of what they sense on any given day. The perception of so many different personal and even cosmic realities with all their nuances and details yet at the same time more universal truths, can be a lot to experience for a single human being.
The notion is because it enters our field of awareness we have to somehow keep it all straight. But this can’t be done. Nor is it in any way necessary in order for things to unfold as they will. If anything, the more energetically sensitive souls on this planet would do well going easy on themselves (though we can all do with a bit of that) and nurture their sensitivity with the care it needs.
Most of us have experienced moments in life of feeling utterly defeated, of not having a clue what to do next, of feeling totally stuck. Especially when we take on too much weight, it’s not hard to get to this point. The relief that comes when circumstances eventually force us to drop it all, is usually enough to bring some sort of flow back into our lives.
It is this relinquishing of our attempts to control in combination with our naturally present sensitivity that provokes incredible things to happen. This is when we can start to enjoy being sensitive instead of creating a job for it.
Cutting ourselves some well-deserved slack will not stop the light of our awareness from shining on all it encounters. If anything it will be able to do so with less restriction, allowing transformation to happen without “much doing of any kind.”
Now that we have more space for self-care the extra reward we get is that the world’s pain no longer sticks to us to the same extent. And without unnecessary pressure suddenly our sensitivity has become a lot less moody and a lot more fun to play with. We can’t neglect or escape bringing to the world what we’re here to bring. It’s as inevitable as blood flowing through our veins. All we have to do is show up.
Providing ourselves with the compassion we are naturally inclined to show the world only enhances what we are able to give to others when our loving self-care spills over into our surroundings.
Empathy is not about taking in and processing the world’s hurt. It’s about cultivating enough well-being within our own person to have an abundance of it to share with others.