This road of self-discovery has been hard and interesting, heart breaking and illuminating. I have lost and I have gained.
The hardest lesson to learn, the most difficult aspect of myself to assimilate has been me as an Empath.
I understand that I am highly sensitive and take on the emotions of others. I actually feel their anger like a hammer to the chest.
I also feel their happiness and excitement to the point I get jittery and lightheaded. This is probably the more pleasant experiences I’ve had, waiting in line at Wet ‘n Wild and feeling all the excitement and happiness surround me. I totally had to work on my base chakra to keep grounded that day!
The anger and frustration are not as pleasant, obviously. And working among emotionally volatile teenagers who rarely want to do what you are asking them to, makes it even harder!
Another perfect example happened the other day.
It was last period on a Friday and it was fairly warm. Ok, most everyone else was whinging about how hot it was, but I lived in Far North Queensland for five years, so I have a high tolerance for heat. If my knee caps aren’t sweating, it’s not hot! (Yes, you can actually sweat out of your knee caps… it’s not pleasant, but interesting the first time it happens. But, I digress.)
One student randomly got up and headed for the door with a can of body spray in her hand. I asked her where she was going and she informed me that she was going to put some body spray on. I say informed, because this is one student who doesn’t ask, which also infuriated me, but for different reasons.
Now, schools usually have a strict policy against aerosols due to the fact they can trigger asthma attacks in people, and seeing as I come from a long line of asthmatics, I am particularly pedantic about this rule. So, I asked her to worry about it after class and come back inside, but she flat out ignored me.
Well, I felt sudden, red hot anger surge inside of me. And I mean that literally. I had been feeling great all day, having a good day and dealing with similar issues calmly and respectfully.
I took a breath, went out to deal with it the best I could with this anger bubbling up inside and came back inside.
I spent the next hour or so, including the drive home, breathing the anger out and trying to figure out what had triggered me. I thought I had dealt with my issues around not being respected as a reflection of the respect I don’t show myself, so I was loathe to go back here. Besides, it didn’t feel right.
I had felt ok all day, even during that period when other students weren’t doing what I had asked, I stayed calm and took it for what it was.
But this student totally rocked me.
Then it finally hit me. I was sitting quietly when it did too, not trying to work it out, as it often does.
The anger, it wasn’t mine, it was hers. She felt angry at being asked not to do something she had determined to do and I felt it. Did she project it to me? Most likely, as I could be seen as the source of her anger, but I know it wasn’t a conscious thing. She is about as self-aware as a rock.
This was yet another example of me accepting another’s emotions as my own. There was no need to search for the trigger in me, it was her anger I was feeling.
Now, I won’t say that there is no chance of it being my own issues with respect, because they have been there, but as soon as I realised the possibility that I was carrying her emotion I calmed immediately. I was able to disconnect and go about my weekend (which is good for me, because the old me would have carried that for days and ruined my weekend!)
I think this happens a lot for me. I am in a situation and an emotion is hurled and I react, then try and figure out why I felt that way, what is being triggered, what pattern am I working from. The truth is none, because the emotions aren’t mine.
I am now making a commitment to being more self-aware and present at each moment. I am hoping that by doing this, I can be aware when I am feeling the emotions of another person and save myself the hours of analysing! I can just call it theirs and move on, back into the peace I have now found for myself.
I’ll keep you posted. 😁