Dear Empaths

Dear empaths,

You are not infallible.

Yes, you are more sensitive than most people. But this doesn’t mean you’re always right, and it doesn’t mean you never act like an asshole.

No, not everyone who doesn’t like you feels that way because you’re mirroring their shit back to them. Sometimes it’s just you – especially if you haven’t learned how to manage your behavior when your sensitivity is on alert. Empathy is not a pass to never have to examine your actions.

No, your bad relationships were not 100% the fault of the other person (who automatically gets labeled a narcissist because they hurt you, an empath). When you engage in toxic relationships with narcissists, you are complicit in that dynamic. While no one is ever to blame for being a victim of abuse (and I’ve been one many times), the narcissist and empath dynamic represents two polarities, and both are doing that tango (pun very much intended). Don’t give someone the world and then act surprised that they took it. Yes, it is not easy to leave relationships like that, and no one should blame you for how long it took. But nobody else is responsible for your choices either. Nobody can make your choices for you but you. (I say this as a survivor of NLP mind control tactics masquerading as D/s.)

Yes, the world itself needs to become more sensitive – all of society needs more mindfulness about what it is doing and the negative effects its patterns so often have. And that is happening, slowly but steadily, thank god. But no, you don’t deserve special treatment in the meantime. And you deserve special treatment from your loved ones only inasmuch as everyone else does – which is to say, our loved ones should always make efforts to learn our patterns and preferences, whether our preferences are for quiet and sensitivity or for something else entirely. Which means you should try to do it for the ones you love too – and that means really making the effort to see them, and not just assuming you already see them because you’re an empath. You are also capable of projection. Be open to being wrong about people.

As with the introvert trend, there have been a lot of wack Elephant Journalesque thinkpieces going around about empaths, but instead of explaining the research behind certain forms of neurodivergence or why and how a high level of sensitivity might express itself in a person (and if you’re really curious about that and actually feel disappointed by these empath articles like I do, google Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, I had to figure this out myself through much clicking about the interwebs), they’re basically just spiritual masturbation fodder telling empaths they’re special and beyond reproach.

If you have a gift, you’ve been entrusted to take care of it. That means that in ANY scenario it’s more useful to be shown the potential pitfalls than to be told you have no shadow and your shit doesn’t stink. You are responsible for your own behavior, and your challenge, as is the challenge of any human, is to know yourself.

That means not just clicking on the spiritual porn that’s going to tell you exactly what you want to hear.

Self-mastery requires radical self-honesty.

And yes, empathy is a gift, and when honed, it can turn you into an extraordinary person, as can any gift when mastered. And it’s wonderful that you have resources now to recognize and understand it.

But do seek to recognize and understand it, hm? Not to use it as a scapegoat for all your problems. That’s just staying as unawakened as you were before you heard of it.

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