As you awaken from the age-old trance of shame and fear-based conditioning, and as you drop into your authentic self, and as you uncover your deep vulnerability and your shockingly innocent heart, you may discover an empathy you never knew you were capable of. An empathy for all humanity… and for your own deepest humanity. For the flaws and pains of others... and for your own beautiful imperfections.
You may find that you are now more able to open your heart in compassion to others, able to hold space for them as they break and rest and heal, and able to listen without judgement, since you are now able to listen to yourself. You may become more comfortable with silence and with awkwardness. You may become more present, less distracted, more authentic, less interested in fixing and controlling those around you.
As people touch into your ‘newfound’ empathy and ability to listen from presence, you may trigger them in unexpected ways. You may find that people who weren’t drawn to you in the past are now drawn to you. They now feel somehow safer with you, more willing to open their hearts, to express their deepest authentic feelings, to tell their raw truth, to touch gently into their trauma, to relax and be fully themselves in your presence, knowing that they will not be judged, or shamed, or manipulated.
You become a healing field for others as you become a healing field for yourself.
You will meet others who walk the same path as you, others who want to do this work. You will meet new friends, brothers and sisters on the path, who find safety in your presence and can offer you the same. (You will also encounter those who want you to be their unpaid therapist, or even a dumping ground for their unconsciousness, drama and complaints, so you will need to learn healthy boundaries!)
When you are empathic - which I believe is our true nature, underneath our narcissistic programming and our myriad defences - you become a mirror for others, a reflective pool in which they can clearly see themselves, if they wish to. And herein lies the rub. Some people are simply not ready to see themselves in your mirror! For some, the prospect of having their deepest inner truths reflected back to them - nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, no-one else to blame - is deeply uncomfortable, edgy, even scary. For some, the kind of intimacy, love and safety you are now offering triggers a deep unconscious fear, perhaps greater than the fear of death. The thought of being truly seen and exposed in love’s warm light can feel overwhelming, terrifying, even downright repulsive to the ego. As much as we may long for intimacy, when it is offered freely and lovingly we can find ourselves running a mile, finding every excuse under the sun to not step in, quite sure that if our 'negative' patterns, desires, urges and feelings are truly seen and exposed, we will be rejected and shamed again, and not loved and embraced.
We can run from genuine love and acceptance as much as we long for it.
As you awaken, as you care more and more about truth, and less and less about the self-image, you will discover who your real friends and family are. You will find out who wants to stand in your empathic mirror and be seen in return, and who rejects the mirror, fears it, resents it, judges it, blames it, avoids it or pushes it away.
Empathy is what we all long for, deep down, but empathy can be terrifying, at least at first. The warm loving relational field of another can trigger our deepest wounds and awaken our unhealed trauma, and invite us to integrate and heal, perhaps before we are ready. As an empath you may unknowingly, unwittingly, with your stillness, your equanimity, your ability to listen deeply from non-judgemental presence, trigger old pain, shame, guilt, fear, even rage, in those who spend time with you.
As an empath, you will naturally invite others to face themselves.
Some will be drawn to you, yes, will want what you want; but others will run away, or will view your empathy as weakness, or madness; something basically undesirable, even boring. Perhaps they just don’t want to look at themselves. Perhaps they are ashamed of their own ‘badness’, afraid of being found out. Perhaps they are addicted to drama, and wary of the devastatingly simple truth of their life. Perhaps the unlovability they feel inside is just too great to connect in intimacy; they simply do not feel worthy of the love you are offering them.
Your ability to be empathic is a great gift, yes, but the truth is, not everyone sees it as a gift, or is ready for such a life-changing present.
That’s okay. There is power in your vulnerability, and you cannot turn back now. You can honour those who stay, and honour those who leave. You can understand that the powerful light of your empathy is illuminating to some, but blinding, uncomfortable, even disorienting, to others. You cannot force people into the light of self-knowledge before they are ready. And they may never be ready, and that’s okay too.
Bless those who come closer, bless those who walk away.
You are a warrior of empathy now, friend, and your path is clear.
~ Jeff Foster
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