Protect Your Energy
By nature, I’m what most people would refer to as an empath … I’m the type of person who can easily understand the experiences and feelings of another, which is fine and is natural for most. However, I tend to take it a step further and take on someone else's emotions as if they were my own. This is both a positive and a negative because while I certainly love helping and relating to others, I came to realize that over time I had become a sounding board for certain people and their problems.
Many times when I had the intention of meeting up with a friend to talk about life, how they were going and what they were looking forward to, it seemed every time I met up with these specific people, I was their therapist for the day, and once they were done with me, I wouldn’t hear from them until their next problem came about.
And look I get it life isn’t always fairy tales and rainbows … but each time I went to meet them, I’d leave the house excited and full of energy, yet when I returned, I felt discouraged and needing a nap to come back to my centre. I was investing my energy and hoping for a positive return, yet each time my reserves were depleted. While my friend may have felt great because they were able to get that weight off their chest, I felt like I was carrying a ton of bricks on my shoulders.
Over time this led to me distancing myself from certain people because I knew I had to start protecting my energy. While I love these people and wanted to catch up with them, I needed to begin prioritising myself and how I was feeling. Now, I know it’s important to be aware of reality, we all have our own set of varying problems, however, in wanting to help others, it’s just as important to prioritise your own mental health. Because you can't help anyone, certainly not yourself, if you're unable to process and protect your own emotions and energy.
At this point, you might be thinking so what do I do? It seems like you became a recluse and avoided living in reality. Well not quite. While I did have to change a few things, I still have friends and live in the same world you do. I’ve also used the following tips to help me find and maintain my centre …
1. Identify & Remove Energy Vampires — Unfortunately, there are some people that no matter how much you love them, don’t contribute positively to your life in any way shape or form. As much as you want to help them, sometimes people simply don’t want to be saved, and unfortunately, you cannot help a person that doesn’t want to be helped. Which means, if a relationship is contributing poorly to your mental health, then you must prioritise yourself and either drastically reduce your time with that person or take the steps required to distance yourself from them.
2. Set Boundaries — When it comes to setting boundaries, this refers to such things like ... You stating when you don't want to talk about something, alongside choosing who you spend your time with. At first, this will require a bit of work, but with practice, it will become more natural. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t be compassionate — where you help someone while remaining neutral — but until you reach the point where you can do this, it’s imperative that you set boundaries. Furthermore, certain people are simply negative for the sake of it and it’s not your job to change them. When it comes to these types, set your boundaries, and if necessary, refer to the point above and distance yourself from them. 3. Schedule Time For Yourself — For some reason, we’re told that prioritising time for ourselves is selfish. That we should always be at the beck and call of others, which in reality, is ridiculous. Because unless your glass is full, you are of no use to anyone let alone yourself. So, instead of feeling selfish for taking time for yourself, begin viewing that time as a necessity. Use that time to reconnect with yourself, rejuvenate your energy and ensure that you have a full cup to pour from.
At the end of the day, being empathetic shouldn't be a disadvantage, if anything it’s a superpower, one that can help you improve your relationships and the world in general. Learning to protect your energy isn’t about shutting yourself off from all emotion or disregarding those that need your help. It’s about learning how to put yourself first to help you hone your sensitivity so you can better help others, alongside maintaining your own wellbeing.
Now, I want to hear from you! Would you add any tips to this list? Let me know in the comments below or message me directly.