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July 22, 2019
Word of the Week: Choice
“I’m tired of managing other people’s emotions!!!!”
This is a phrase that’s been coming out of my mouth more and more these days. It’s something most empaths have to deal with. This is because we feel emotions so strongly that it’s often difficult to tell what’s our stuff vs. someone else’s. That’s why most empaths, at least at the beginning of their journey, struggle with people-pleasing.
I think a common misconception about people-pleasing is that it comes from an egoic place of really wanting people to like you. Some of that is true. However, for a lot of empaths, people-pleasing tendencies first develop as forms of self-protection. Since we can feel people’s disapproval, judgments and criticisms so strongly, we learn at a very early age how to give people what they want to avoid the pain of their disappointment. This turns into a vicious cycle of overgiving, overachieving, and overanalyzing our way through life.
Here are some examples of how I’ve noticed myself people-pleasing recently:
My default is to get overly focused on other people’s feelings. On the one hand, it’s what makes me good at my job and my personal relationships so strong. On the other, it takes a toll on my emotional wellbeing. If I’m not careful, I’ll give away all of my energy and have nothing left for me. This can bring about burnout, illness, and feelings of resentment.
One thing I’m practicing to be more deliberate about managing my energy is learning how to be in connection with others without abandoning myself in the process. This means I try to catch myself when I have the urge to do these 10 things:
Since it’s second nature for empaths to put other people’s needs ahead of their own, it’s important to remember that you have needs, too. You get to choose how to spend your precious energy. Say “yes” when you have energy to give. Say “no” when you don’t. You get to call the shots.
Don’t forget that a yes today doesn’t mean a yes tomorrow. Life is a constant ebb and flow. It’s time to break free of niceties, obligations, and assumptions and start listening to the rhythms of our own energy cycles.
Ask Yourself: What is your go-to response if someone asks you for a favor? Do you drop everything and do it no questions asked or do you check-in with yourself to see if you have the capacity to help? If you say “no” to someone, what is the first thing your inner voice says?
Weekly Mantra: I have needs too.