There has recently been a surge in interest in the topic of ‘Empaths’ and ‘Highly Sensitive People’ or HSP’s as they are commonly known. It seems that either we are evolving in this direction as a species, or more of us are coming out of the closet.
Most of the time, empaths are blending in and doing their thing, and are not very noticeable. Until, that is, they hit their limit. All of a sudden, the person you count on to be understanding and reliable dissolves into tears and retires to their room for some ‘alone time’.
So, it begs the question, to those partners left behind in bewilderment wondering where their partner went, can Empaths be great in relationships?
First of all, let me just say, that I believe I have many traits of an Empath, and I am not trying to put down a segment of the population at all. Empaths, like any other self labelled group, need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and more than most groups, Empaths need to learn self care.
This idea of self care is extremely difficult for Empaths to embody. They are naturally sensitive to everything around them, and often distracted and pulled off centre by other people’s needs and wants. They often realize that sensitivity of others is one of their strengths and base their entire existence on getting validated for ‘being there’ for others. This idea of compassion as helping or taking on other people’s pain or hardships is not real compassion but more the act of a martyr.
So in short, I’ve noticed that Empathic people, especially if they also happen to be women, become martyrs in their relationships. Which, by the way, helps no one in the end. Martyrs do not make equal partners in a relationship.
You might be asking at this point, am I an Empath? Or maybe you already classify yourself as one. Some of the things you might experience or be told if you are Empathic are things like:
You’re too emotional
You’re sooooo sensitive!
You get your feelings hurt a lot
You need a lot of alone time to recoup your energy
You pick up on Friends’ emotions
You get overwhelmed by sensory stimulation
You overeat to dull all the feelings
You are afraid of being engulfed in intimate relationships
If this sounds like you, you are definitely not alone. Many other people are also highly sensitive, and in this modern, fast-paced world, it is more important than ever to find ways to cope and thrive. Sensitive people need connection and love too.
Empaths bring such great gifts to the people they come into contact with, IF they can stay centred in their own being. This means that Empaths need to learn to define their needs and learn to say NO to things that will overwhelm them and take them over the edge. Empaths bring their sensitivity, their uncanny ability to know what you’re feeling, and their big hearts to all their relationships. We can’t live without them! But empaths need to learn some important things about themselves also.
This kind of self awareness is something that is not taught in school, and is not valued much in our society. Yoga, meditation and other modalities definitely help us to begin the process, but actively learning about boundaries, and about how to communicate them to people around you, is a skill that must be practiced.
Self compassion and self love are terms that are easily thrown around and more challenging to actually practice. Working with pleasure, with the body, going slowly to identify our edges, our needs, our vulnerabilities is imperative work for Empaths more than most groups.
Are you an empath struggling to find space and self care in your relationships?
Book a free 30 minute consult with me and lets look at ways to help develop your sense of boundaries.
With pleasure and gentleness in a sometimes overwhelming world,