Some of us experience the world very differently. Sounds, smells, and noises can bring on feelings of anxiety. Crowds can be draining and overwhelming on the best of days. We tend to take in all the energies around us and experience them as if they were our own. At times it can feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. This is what it means to be an empath.
As a child I would often feel things I couldn’t explain. I grew up in a family of six people, three of which where loud, energetic brothers. Though I loved them all, I remember the noises of the household would leave this heavy energy behind that often left me feeling drained. As a child I naturally found places to go to that would help me to centre myself and cope with the overwhelming amounts of stimuli I was feeling. I would escape to my grandmother’s house or retreat into my bedroom to sit in silence as I grounded myself. I always found it strange that no one else seemed to struggle with these issues the same way I did. Over time this state of being became normal to me and I learned to accept that I was a bit different.
It was later on in life that I really started to notice how much I struggled with this. Moving to the big city at the age of 19 was paralyzing for me. There was a huge part of me that wanted to experience the beautiful diversity and culture that a city has to offer and the other apart of me was drowning in anxiety. I spent years living in this high state of suffering. Everyday I experienced physical pain that came from the stress of overstimulation. My stomach was always in knots, constantly sick and experiencing muscle pains and physical fatigue. More often then not I would come home feeling drained from my day as if I absorbed the energies from all the people around me. As many empaths do, I began to shut out the world as a means of coping. I slowly started to make sense of all these feelings and I learned that I am an extremely sensitive person, so much so that I could feel emotional and even physical pains from others.
After reading more about this I began to see that there was a way I could turn what I always perceived to be a negative trait into embracing it as an amazing gift. This was such a new concept for me. I always felt being an empath was a sign of weakness. In our culture we are always told to be tough and not let anything bother us. Being raised in a society that sees emotional release as a weakness, it can be a challenge to begin to see our “sensitivity” as a gift. I learned through self exploration and understanding of who I am that I began to feel empowered by this new sense of self awareness. That I can choose to see my challenges as a hinderance or I can choose to see it as way to connect to others. My ability to feel other people’s pain gives me an opportunity to help others.
Do not let your struggles define you, whatever they may be. Use your new found understanding of these challenges to empower you to help aid others on their journey. I once heard someone say when trying to search for the meaning of your life, go back to the place of personal pain and struggle. It is through experiencing those struggles that we can learn to rise above them and can begin to help others through sharing the lessons we have learned. We become a living example of what human strength, commitment and persistent can bring. My struggles makes me human, raw and real. My strength and persistence to overcome them makes me a warrior. Become a warrior of your personal truth where your own unique challenges become your gifts to the world.