My empathy is evergreen but my energy and time are not. They are sacred and I protect them carefully.

Dearest Empathy Army,
Being an empath is so wonderful and difficult, so painful and powerful. We feel everything more.  The sweetest of emotions is greater for us but so is the pain.  We all have that one pain that hits the hardest, our own personal kryptonite…for me it’s rejection. 

I don’t think my experience is unique, but I’ve dealt with rejection a lot in my life.  I’m only 5 feet tall but I have big energy. It’s shiny and weird and doesn’t ever fit in anywhere. It’s ambitious and powerful and no matter how hard I try to dim it, it’s brightness still seems to piss people off. I’ve learned to own it and to love it but that process was dark and hard and painful.  

I love everybody and I want everybody to love me (I think that’s the official empath motto). I lived the first 25 years of my life as if that was some kind of golden rule worth bending and breaking for.  And I bent, and I broke and I nearly snapped in half trying to live by this sweet notion that has always echoed in my heart.  Trying to be the most loving and the most loved was my driving force.  It molded me in to someone so far away from who I am that finding my way back was almost too hard.  Living to be accepted by others is not living, it’s dying.

I think my greatest super power is my capacity to love. I think empaths have an almost super human amplitude to love people.  My love for my fellow human beings is monumental.  This is not bragging friends, this love drives me crazy and on several occasions has almost ended me. 

I guess like most of the comic book super heroes, my super power almost killed me before it became a strength I used to fight for people. Somedays it still feels like it could go either way. One of the greatest things I’ve learned as I navigate these abilities is that the force of love has many forms with many different uses.

I’ve learned that empathy is infinite and can be given freely but that time and energy are not.  I only have so much time and energy to give, I must protect these limited resources.  A white dove did not float down from above with this information written on a beautiful note for me. I learned this the hard way. I learned this by treating all parts of love as infinite. I learned this by being drained to mere inches of life left in my body. 

My empathy is evergreen but my energy and time are not. They are sacred and I protect them carefully.  If you are not receiving my energy and time it is because you broke the one rule I have for giving them. Now I’m not talking about those people that have drifted away because of life and distance and changing of paths and priorities. I’m talking about the ones who when given access to my big heart decided to break it. 

My one rule is simple. I determine it’s standing in the form of a question.  How much value does this person place on me feeling well? If the answer is anything above “none, they actually seem to want me to feel badly” then my time and attention are here for you.  The more value you place on my emotional state being a positive one, the more of my time and attention I give.

I wish I was born knowing to operate that way but I think my empath super hero users manual got lost before it arrived.  I learned to create boundaries based on the answer to that question through broken hearted tears.  I learned to protect myself only after I was hurt..a lot. 

Please know this, my empathy is still there for you. I can give that freely. It’s my time and energy that I have protected from you. If you had it and now you don’t, it’s because you didn’t value me feeling ok. Most likely it’s because you made me feel badly…..repeatedly. I give too many chances so I know you had enough. 

There are few people in this world I wouldn’t show up for if asked. Even those people who have hurt me deeply. Because I keep love’s force of empathy flowing to you, I’d come when you called, if you sincerely asked.  I don’t bad mouth you, I vent to a few safe people when you do hurtful things but I truly root for you.  

That’s what is so badass about empathy, you can rise above the petty. You can choose not to participate in the pain and instead still value their emotional well being all while protecting your time and energy. This is peace friends.  This is how you manage a super human capacity for love.

I love everybody and I want everybody to love me.  This still echoes in my heart but I’m learning that it is a deeply layered lesson not a simple statement to live….or in my case die by.  I’ve learned the difference between being loved and being accepted.  I’ve learned that many people love you with conditions. It doesn’t mean that you are flawed or that they are terrible. It means they have a smaller capacity.

I believe these conditions come from people struggling to love themselves.  Your light might shine on one of their unloved spots. Instead of using your light to heal their wound, they may choose the easier option….dimming you. I won’t tell you that knowing this stops it from hurting. It doesn’t. But it does create a bridge back to empathy when you’re ready to walk across it. 

Give your empathy freely. It’s a resource that you won’t run short on and that will give you just as much as it gives to others.  But my beautiful loving souls, please protect your time and energy. It is a limited resource.  You only have so much in this lifetime. Don’t waste it in places where it isn’t appreciated.  Give the empathy, protect the time and energy.

When you find those souls that place high value on your well being, love them big. Give them the time and energy you are protecting.  I know it’s hard to create boundaries around that beautiful heart of yours but hear me when I tell you how valuable it is.  The world needs our great big love, the world needs you at full brightness.  

Empathy to all, time and energy to those capable and sunglasses for those who you are too bright and shiny for.