A strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
I remember coming home as a kid and just going straight to my room. I use to come home from school some days just feeling absolutely exhausted and just tapped out. I couldn’t quite digest what I was feeling, let alone the avalanche of emotions. I just felt so flat.
My mom would come into my room to check on me and make sure I was ok. I would say to her, “You know what mom, maybe I should just become a monk and live up in the mountains somewhere, because sometimes, I just don’t think I like people!” (bear in mind I was quite young, obviously I didn’t want to be a monk)
I don’t think my mom took me very seriously, because her solution would simply be “take a couple of Vitamin B supplements and you’ll be fine”. Or perhaps she did understand seeing Vitamin B is known to support and balance mood.
What I didn’t understand as a child was that I was incredibly sensitive and very in-tune with the emotions and vibrations around me (especially those of others). Couple that with a deep sense of the justice/injustices in the world, it’s no surprise that there were days that I was so overwhelmed by all the stimuli that I just didn’t know how to cope.
These days the term we coin for ‘sensitive’ or ‘empathetic’ people is..
An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around them. Empaths feel what another person is feeling at a deep emotional level.
As much as I don’t like labels, and I’m not even sure I would call myself an empath, but I was relieved to finally understand what was showing up for me, and more importantly to be able to regulate it and embrace it. Basically, I’m not crazy!
There was a time where your IQ (Intelligence Quotient) was considered as paramount and what would set you apart from others or put you ahead; especially in the education system and the corporate world.
But as the world evolves we’ve come to realise that you could have the highest IQ but if you weren’t able to relate and connect to the world around you, it can only take you so far.
Enter stage left, EQ. Emotional Intelligence is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage and handle emotions.
Ironically what I felt was a weakness in me has turned out to be my greatest strength and what has helped me the most in life; not just with friends and family but also in my career.
Let’s face it, ultimately life is all about fostering and nurturing human connections, so the ability to feel your emotions and those of others is such a powerful tool; as long as you can recognize and regulate it.
So learn to not only welcome your emotions and give them the space to show up for you, but sit with them, feel them, name them and understand them; chances are they are trying to tell you something that your mind hasn’t quite clocked yet.
And when it comes to empathy, it’s important to learn that you need to regulate that ability. It takes a lot of energy to take on your emotions left alone those of others, so it’s important to know when to close yourself off from let so much in. Practice self-care; for me it’s all about having time to myself and enjoying some solitude.