On What It Means to Be An Empath

A lot of my reflecting lately has led back to this question:

How much connection is too much connection?

The impact that Social Media has had on my life has been profound. I've made friends with some incredible (and not so incredible) people. I have build communities and a business through social media. I've learned and expanded my worldview, too.

But is it possible that, at least for someone who identifies as an Empath, we are too tied in to too many other peoples' lives?

It isn't a secret that 2020 has been cruel. Every single person is going through hard times right now to varying degrees, and because of social media we are acutely aware of every feeling of angst, heartbreak, and struggle that our neighbor posts online. This has the potential to be a ground-breaking phenomenon for the world: A way to offer perspective & help open the eyes and hearts of a society struggling with empathy, if they are willing to close their own virtual mouth for a while and take time to listen.

But for those of us who identify as an Empath, it hits different.

Every hardship I read about, I carry with me as if I'm experiencing it myself. And though my logical brain knows these feelings are not all my burden to carry, it feels as if a little tiny weight settles on top of my heart *tink* every time I see someones hurt on the screen. It sits there, barely noticeable, for a little while as I scroll, until *tink* I find another one and the collective weight gets a little heavier. And because I'm spending so much time "logged in", my day continues and I inevitably see another one and another one and another one *tink tink tink* until my heart is so heavy, it feels incapable of lightness, and I'm walking around wearing the weight of a million broken hearts. A hyper-awareness that influences every thought in my mind until I manage to find a way to reset. (Which, for me, is usually me escaping into a book for a while.)

And trust me- I would stop it if I could. I would turn the knob to "low" so that I could have access to a sane amount of empathy- an amount that allows me to care and act productively- without sacrificing my own well-being. But if you know, you know. Its not that easy for an Empath.

So maybe being so connected is inherently good. Maybe for most people, at least. But 3 months of social distancing have really brought me to terms with the importance of social media distancing in my life. So if you see me disappear from social media from time to time, know that its not you- its me. I'm still here, but you might just have to pick up a phone and call me.

Do you identify as an Empath? What do you do to protect & manage your energy? Let me know in the comments!

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