It seems to me that to feel any positive emotion such as love, joy, empathy, enthusiasm, we have to be present in our body to feel it, know it or give it away.
As a highly sensitive person, this “tend and befriend” response to others can go overboard, particularly when anxious.
In other words, when someone else is upset, sad or angry, our tendency is move towards, reach out, and make everything right again. The peace-keeper.
We talk about the fight-flight-freeze nervous system survival response, well this is the 4th one.. the fawn response. The people-pleaser.
But what happens when we can’t make it right, smooth things over or extend outwards? What if they block us out or even worse, tell others and get support for their story?
Well, we tend to either fight them with blame and defensiveness, get other people on our side like in a playground fight, or flight, numb out and avoid.
Sometimes life gives us exactly what we need to move through these painful patterns.
Recently we had a situation with a tenant living downstairs in the apartment below us. It all started out good and friendly until we started getting texts at 4am accusing us of stomping around, moving furniture and generally being noisy during the night.
I looked around and all was quiet. Nope, no-one awake here.
I politely texted back and went back to sleep.
Over time, the texts got angrier, we could hear her yelling about us on the phone, slamming doors in anger and gave us the finger when we saw her.
I tried to talk it out and she told me I was harassing her. Ooops… back up.
Ok, no options. Her mind was made up. This was beyond us.
I checked.. was there something I was missing, some link I had overlooked that might explain it? No.
Was there anything left to apologize for? No.
I had no choice but to accept it was out of my hands and let it go.
There was no way to make it right.
Just live my life as before and watch out for anything absurd to report to the property manager.
Not everyone is going to be happy with you, or like you, agree with you, and some people will hate you. They are allowed to.
Just as you are allowed to dislike others. (But you don’t have to make their life miserable!).
Trying to avoid this truth will leave you depleted and frankly burned out at best, like a slow death of your true self.
As an empath, we want to explain, to defend ourselves and make the other side understand that we’re not intending harm!
To rationalize our worth so we can all hold hands and let it go, or at least smile and wave.
When we can’t it can be excruciating. It can also be a chance to know and stand in your own truth.
To create boundaries and let it go. Keep your head on and live life as if it’s ok to not make it better.. until it truly feels that way.
If you are in a situation like this, ask those 2 questions:
- Am I missing anything? Do I need to run this by someone in order to see it more clearly?
- Is there anything else I can say that hasn’t been said?
Then breathe deeply, exhale and let it go. Do not spend one more moment trying to make it better or different than what it is.
If this sounds impossible, you are not alone. True power and change don’t come from the mind, they live in the body.
Through the body we can shift old patterns and learn new ones. It’s also where we need to go when we are under stress… out of the stressful mind and into the body!
If you are sensitive and have tried and tried but:
- have trouble staying strong and grounded in your own feet
- can’t keep clear, firm boundaries
- have difficulty saying NO, even though you want to!
.. join me in this free upcoming workshop:
Embodied Self-Care for Empaths
Friday April 16th, 10-11am
Hope to see you there!