Hope for Ourselves

Empaths gravitate towards hope. That’s why people like to be around us. But what about hope for ourselves? What about that?

We are often so wrapped up with other people’s needs, wants, emotions, burdens, and desires, that we lose track of our own. And it’s dangerous to lose track of your own. When we have forgotten ourselves, we don’t grow and we don’t heal.

So why do we do that? Give all our healing energy away to others? Give all our compassion to others? I think it’s easier. Much easier to feel someone else’s wounds than our own. It’s an odd empath avoidance tactic. I’ll feel their wounds so that I don’t have to feel mine. The problem is that yours won’t go away.

Empaths often hover on this emotional bridge halfway between the walking wounded and the walking healed. And it is wearying to keep standing on that bridge swaying between two directions. Here’s the thing – I’m deciding I don’t want to be the walking wounded any more. I want to be the walking healed. Whole. Not fractured. Feeling. Not cut off. Fearless. Not hiding. I don’t want to be the terrified little girl cowering beside the toilet anymore. My back is tired of being bowed. My knees are tired of crouching down. My arm is tired of hiding my face. My scales have tipped.

To be whole, you have to have hope for yourself. To be whole, you have to face the truth of your past and your present. And this kind of clarity is hard and sometimes scary, and it often comes at a tipping point. When we can’t not do it anymore, then we face it. And I know that empaths are so brave for others. We need to be brave for ourselves. To do what it takes to stitch up that wound. (We know that scar tissue is stronger than skin. We will be stronger too.)

I’m finding a way. Or like what usually happens to me, the way is finding me. And I’ve been invited to get off that bridge by a guide to help me do it. We can learn to reclaim hope for ourselves. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. And YOU are so worth it. Take it from me. I know. I’m an empath.




When You Tell Your Story

We are all walking histories with stories to tell. Memorable stories. Meaningful stories. Heartfelt stories. Funny stories. Stories of family, of friends, of pets. Stories of missteps and misadventures. Stories of how our hearts broke and how they got repaired. Stories of lessons learned the hard way. Milestone stories that remain markers on our timelines.

Stories tell a history and let us make an instant connection. Stories dissolve walls. We can let down our guard when we tell our story (because we control the flow of information – how much, how little). And stories breed more stories. The listener may become the storyteller, and the roles may switch back and forth as we recognize, the oh, you too? connection with someone else. For we like to be unique but not singular. We are one of kind but have had many of the same experiences.

When you tell someone a story, you give them a gift, but you also get something in return. You get empathy and understanding. You get that someone gets it. And you may get some relief or peace just by the telling of it.

To illustrate, I will tell you my story of Mia Sophia, my first dog.  I got my first dog well into adulthood. My son was not talking by age 3, and we were very worried. The suggestion arose that a dog might help him with communication and talking – a therapy dog of sorts. So we researched breeds and bought an adorable Cairn terrier and named her Mia Sophia. Cairn terriers are small friendly dogs that will hold their ground. Well, to make a long story short, our son ignored the dog completely. And Mia Sophia ended up having epilepsy. So our “therapy dog” herself was quite sick. Are you laughing and crying at the same time? (We were.) If you’re a parent, you will connect with the worried part. If you were a late talker, you will connect with the speech part. If you’re the owner of an epileptic dog, you will connect with the seizures part. Etc. This story transitions to a deeper discussion, and a connection will be forged between two strangers having shared it.

The most poignant story I have ever read is also the shortest. In a contest to write a six word story, here’s the winner. (Sorry, don’t recall author’s name.) Baby shoes for sale, never worn. Ooh. Instant empathy.



Dream Journey

I dream about paths, roads, bridges, and stairs. A lot. I am in motion – going somewhere or leaving somewhere. Often in haste. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with others. Usually there is some searching for someone or something involved. I often wake tired because it’s been a busy night. I’ve been traveling.

Dreams are a journey inward, so it’s no surprise that empaths and highly sensitive people would have an active dream life. We are working out the emotions of the day in full technicolor (although, sometimes I dream in black and white, too). And our dreams are vivid dreams. The setting may be surreal, but it feels very real at the moment. The people may be known or unknown, but we feel connected in some way to everyone that enters. The emotions evoked in the dream are strong. They will often stay with us in our waking lives.

So if we are traveling a lot in our dreams, what does it mean? Climbing stairs, crossing bridges, searching for the right road, finding the buried path? Add your own? A cursory search of dream meanings tells us this:

To walk through an open path in your dream signifies clarity of thought and peace of mind. It also symbolizes your progress. To see a blocked or windy path in your dream denotes that you need to give serious attention to the direction you are heading in life. (dreammoods.com)

A smooth, straight highway signifies inner peace, while a winding, bumpy road reflects emotional distress/disharmony. (dreammoods.com)

As in waking life, a bridge in dreams can be a point of connection – linking two places or things. It may also be a way to cross over an obstacle, like a river. Consider what the bridge is connecting and what it is traversing. (dreamscloud.com)

Stairs To dream that you are walking up a flight of stairs indicate that you are achieving a higher level of understanding. You are making progress into your spiritual, emotional or material journey. The dream is also analogous to material and thoughts that are coming to the surface. (dreammoods.com)

Paths, roads, bridges, and stairs in our dreams are all about connection. Connection with others, and connection with our deepest selves. We can literally explore through these symbols. Our unbridled unconscious is showing us the way. We are forever travelers.



Empath On Board

Same boat syndrome. When you are (often unexpectedly) in the same situation as someone else. A synchronicity of sorts. You are stuck with a stranger in a situation and temporarily bond. And I can tell you, it’s good to have an empath in the boat. And often you are the empath in the boat.

Being “in the same boat” means “sharing a particular experience or circumstance with someone else.” (idioms.thefreedictionary.com) It’s a metaphor for a shared experience. When we are stuck in the same boat, it creates instant connection due to circumstance. We are experiencing the same event and likely the same emotions attached to the event. Our roles at the time may be different, but our understanding of the situation will be similar.

Being in the same boat forces instant connection, and empaths are good at connection. Really good. We can make the necessary instant emotional connection in our boat to help navigate through the unknown waters. We can read a situation quickly and feel the emotional state of our new companion(s). When we can emotionally connect with the other(s) in the boat, it makes us stronger. And the only way out of the situation is through it. So we listen, we talk, we support, we plan, and most importantly, we HOPE – together.

In the same boat connections are often born in hospitals, offices, schools, classes, foreign countries, you add your own. Same boat connections are born when we are in an unfamiliar situation and so is someone else. It’s when we meet someone in a hospital, and we share the same worry. It’s when we get lost in a foreign country, and we meet another traveler. It’s when we go to a new class, and we meet another newbie to share our perceptions. It’s when our family is falling apart, and we talk with someone who is also experiencing the same personal tragedy. The connections are real, often urgent, and necessary for coping. It’s a time when we cut through the crap, and go straight to the heart of the matter because there isn’t time not to.

In the same boat connections let us bond quickly and strongly with another. And though the situation is temporary, the experience and shared words will help to sustain us long after we’re out of the boat.