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Posts tagged ‘helping’

The Cost of Empathy

empathy-quotes-6

Most of the time, I feel my ability to empathize with others is a valuable trait. To be able to put myself in one’s situation and allow myself to feel as if I was going through whatever is going on has helped me help others. It, in many ways, is really a blessing. Empathy and sympathy are two different animals and not many realize that. To sympathize is simply to feel bad for someone and to empathize is to truly feel the sorrow, pain, anger, frustration, and so on yourself. Not everyone is able to empathize with others and when you’re able to use that ability to help someone and it’s successful, it’s an amazing feeling.

Sometimes though, it takes a lot out of you when you feel too much and often times, there’s not much you can do to get away from that. Sometimes seeing or hearing about bad things happening around the world will get to you. When there’s so much weighing on you, it can pull you into pits of despair. Sometimes that very thing we may call a blessing one day, well it can feel like a curse the next. It can be really hard to separate yourself from the pain that surrounds you, especially when you yourself have things going on.

When you’re struggling, some may even tell you it’s okay to take a step back from everyone else and focus on your own life and while you know on some level that they’re right, this overwhelming sense of guilt haunts you. “But they need me! What if I can help?” And doesn’t it sometimes help us when we’re able to help others? Yes, sometimes helping another can heal your own soul and what a gift that is. Sometimes though, it can be too much to handle. How though, do you convince yourself to actually put yourself first?

There is a great cost to one’s self when you empathize with others. We don’t always see it or wish to acknowledge it. Sometimes we feel that is why we’re here, to help others so that they’re not alone, so that we might do some good in this world, especially when there’s so much hate surrounding us. But to open yourself up and allowing other’s lives to touch your own and get to you, well it changes you. It can become depressing, keep you up at night, make it hard to eat or push you eat too much, cause crying fits you don’t always understand, and cause damage to your well-being and relationships. People may ask, “Why do you always put other’s needs ahead of your own?” “Why can’t you tell people no?”

Some find their ability to empathize a great strength, for it takes a lot to be able to do this. To make yourself vulnerable really does take courage not everyone possesses. Some though, they feel it is a weakness to make yourself a “slave” to others emotionally, if you will. Some feel that it makes you weak to be that vulnerable, to feel that much, and to allow it to drag you down. I feel, after really thinking about it these many years, that it is both, for me at least. I think it can make me strong, especially when it allows me to truly help another, to make things better for someone, even if just a little. I hate seeing people in pain, of any kind, especially those closest to me. If I can help ease their pain at all, I am glad to do it, most days. There are times when I feel it does hinder me though. There are times when I feel like it’s too much and that it’s taking its toll on me. Sometimes I do feel weakened by it.

I will admit that there are times when there is so much going on and my mind feels as if it’s going to come unhinged. And while there’s some feelings of guilt for “abandoning” people who need me, sometimes I admit it is best when I shut myself out from those around me so that I can focus on me for a moment, so I can think and sort things out. Sometimes I need a breather, some time to relax and let the stress levels come down. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever needed to walk away from everyone else for a little bit so that you could fix your own problems? Have you ever felt so dragged down by what everyone around you is going through that you feel like you’re about to lose control of yourself? What do you do when you feel these things? And how do you convince yourself that you’re not being a bad friend or relative? How do you convince yourself that it’s okay to look out for you before others sometimes?

Mostly, I do feel being, what some call an Empath, is a good thing. But yeah, it really can cost you. The trick is to find a healthy balance, but often times we don’t know how to achieve that. I think it’s a learning process, one we may never fully succeed at, but perhaps get better at as the years go by. Here’s to learning, growing, helping  one another, and yet not neglecting ourselves. May we get even a little bit better each day and finding ways to improve both our lives and those around us.

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A Fragile Soul

effortlessness

A fragile soul struggles
Giving all it has to survive
To not be torn apart
As hate spreads across the globe
It prays to never lose its ability to love

Such suffering is seen everywhere it looks
Rape, greed, murder, war, violence, pain, death
So many people knock others down
Having no regard for other’s feelings
Meeting their own needs is all that matters

How can one not be skeptical
Not become jaded and hide their heart away?
It’s a struggle every single day
Listening to the news
Hearing about more and more tragedies

But the soul still pursues the light
Pulling back the curtains of despair
It sees healing, helping, joy, hope, compassion, love
There are many people who care for others
Who seek peace, who practice what they preach

As the soul has aged
It’s found it’s not as fragile as it once thought
Through the darkness, it’s found light
Found its strength through weakness
And despite the hate it sees, its also known friendship and love

 

Picture taken by Jennifer, thank you for letting me use this! It’s beautiful!

Random stuff going on inside my brain….

I am so finicky about “my parking spot”. It’s not actually mine, I park on the street, but it’s the spot right in front of the house and with only one street to park on till March first, vying for a space here is oh so fun. 😉 As mentioned in other blogs, I live in the corner house, so I try to park at that end of the street. When I got back from dropping Zach off with his dad, I had to originally park about four houses down from where I live, which isn’t bad except when there’s bad weather or just insanely cold. Then when I was walking to the house, the second car from the corner left, so I hurried back to my car after dropping my stuff off into the sun room and headed to re-park my car. As I was getting out of my car, the guy in the first spot said, “I’m leaving, so you can have “your” spot back.” I smiled, laughed, and said, “Thank you.” The neighbors see me a lot, carting groceries in, getting Grandma in and out of the car, etc….people pay more attention to things around here than I realized. It’s so funny how much getting “my parking spot” means to me, it totally made my day. ♥

I have been thinking about something. Surprise, surprise, eh? 😉 Whenever I offer up words of encouragement, hope, offer to pray, do anything to help, make someone smile or laugh, etc….people thank me. I do the same thing, thank someone whenever they help me in any way because it’s the polite thing to do. However, on the other hand, when I do something for someone, I feel so humbled when someone thanks me because I don’t think thanks are necessary, even though I know why they give it. I do what I can when I can for those I love, those in need because I like helping, making things better even in the smallest of ways. I don’t seek anything in return. Knowing I was able to be there for someone is all the thanks I need. But, like I do for others, I know people will still tell me, “Thank you.” because it means a lot to them. Well, you all mean a lot to me. I say this from time to time because it’s just who I am, so here it is again, but not for the last time of course, I love you all and want you to know how very special you are to me, how much I value your roles in my life. ♥

Life is short, live it while you have it. Don’t wait for the perfect time to say or do something because while you’re waiting, it might become too late. Embrace life! Embrace your mistakes, embrace each failure, embrace each moment….each laugh, tear, smile, joy, fear, hope, moment with those you love. Life is trial and error, we’re going to make mistakes for the time we’re here, but it’s what we learn from them, it’s that we should grow and continue to better ourselves till our last breath. Live, laugh, love.

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