Confessions of an empath…
You know, sometimes I’m not sure if caring so deeply, all the time, has really been all it’s cracked up to be.
You see, I am an empath. Sensitive to my core and deeply invested in anyone and everyone’s emotions. I am a true, hardcore empath.
I did not choose to be this way. I did not wake up one day and just decide I am going to care way too much about everyone I know, their feelings, their desires and their losses infiltrating my brain at full force, at all times.
Do you think it’s fun to be able to share and understand everyone’s deepest feelings at all times? I mean, sure, it’s why people consider me a great friend, but…
It’s rather inconvenient, really.
It’s inconvenient in the sense that all the love, empathy and care that I put out in to the world around me will never come back to me the way I want it to. Not even close.
It’s inconvenient because I will lose sleep over the student whose mother is ill and can’t afford new shoes for her son. I will stay up all night feeling sad for this mom, her family, her son and his feet. And in the morning, no one will be sad for my lack of sleep.
It’s inconvenient because I am let down – a lot.
In my 31 years of over-empathizing with everyone, I have yet to accept that just because I go above and beyond for everyone in my life, the Favor won’t be returned. Not because I don’t deserve it, but because most people cannot identify with an empath and cannot fathom living up to the expectations of one.
Tis better to give than receive they say, and it’s true to a certain extent. I always smile and say good morning to even the grumpiest of faces I encounter. I always reach out first to the friend I haven’t heard from in months. I always check in on friends with ailing family members, kids with colds or husbands looking for new jobs.
I always offer my help to people because I genuinely care and want to help. I genuinely want to be the reason someone feels better or smiles. It’s what makes me, well, me.
All of this caring that I do for everyone, cannot compare to the concern and desire to please my husband and child. And since becoming a mother, I’ve slowly but surely moved toward thinking twice before sprinkling my empath fairy dust all over the damn place.
Sad to say but I have a handful of friends who have never once, in the 7 months that I’ve been a mother, reached out to ask “how’s it going?,” or, “what’s Bella up to these days?” … And a lot of these friends are mothers, mind you.
Sad to say that when I went back to work and struggled for weeks with Bella starting day care, very few friends reached out to ask how we’re doing or just call to chat. And these are mothers, mind you.
Sad to say that when my child isn’t feeling well, or my husband is starting his new job, or my brother buys his first house – and no one is calling to check in on us, I’ll still be the one to remember it’s your husbands birthday, congratulate your child on her lost tooth, or visit you and your newborn baby.
Happy to say, though, that no matter how much it stinks to live all alone in empath-land, I am not packing up and moving just yet. I am proud to be the person to always stick my neck out for someone else, and shit, I hope this makes my daughter a kinder, more thoughtful person as she grows up in this cold, cold world.
But I will, however, issue a warning to all mommies reading this, especially the ones who have unknowingly let me down- we are a village, and we need to care for EACH OTHER, and we need to stop expecting everyone to just do for us now that we’re moms.