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Empathy: Progress Through Compassion

Most days, we set out to experience the world with our own perspective-  Our own shoes.  But what happens when empathy is a core value with no set line? How do we draw it?  What if we don’t know how to express or experience it in the first place?

 Empathy is a peculiar thing. It’s a vital form of existence that some possess to an almost torturous degree. We feel deeply both positive and negative things. It’s a gift and a curse all in the shape of one human.  Turbulent and ever changing, it can make or break a life.  The goal for empaths is to balance and sustain it for as long as possible.  We will never give up feeling what we do because we’re lucky we can.  On the opposite end, we wish it would stop to let us feel nothing for a few.
As I experience empathy in my core relationships, I struggle to find a line between two key points:
– Letting it become so strong that I lose sight of my purpose and focus entirely too much on whether or not someone else is struggling.. and..
– Letting it be as it is so that I may trust that things work out as they will.
Just as it applies to our personal relationships,  empathy can be the key to progress in our work relationships. It can be the one link that fills the gap between managing your workload and owning it. Throughout the next two weeks, I will be discussing a few key points to help find, balance, and pursue progress through compassion.

The power, pain, and purpose of the anxious empath.

Anxiety is powerful.  It exceeds what we are programmed for as human nature suggests.  It’s the tense, flailing conductor standing at the front of the orchestra- a timid of  circle strangers playing off of each other because they can’t read the notes in front of them.
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People experience worry so differently and for an unbelievably vast array of reasons.  It can be anything from the effects of reading too many current headlines to the uncertainty of any loss big or small.
During a particularly dark time, there is an unending thought in my mind that seems to carry me to the next day when everything else swirls: Where do we find the power in anxiety instead and how do we use it?
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I am an empath right down to my very core.  I probably should have been born with a disclaimer.  I experience things both on my own and by way of understanding how others do.  I will put your proverbial shoes on if you let me.  This is a gift I find equally as torturous as a curse.  Bonus-  I wonder how my own attempts to understand might become intrusive to someone else as I over-ask, over-explain, and under-chill.  In the same existence, I get to see how people operate so eclectically.  That intrigue can be overpowering in the best way:  It lets me see their intent no matter what.
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I get to have joy in getting to feel when others have it and there is grief in finding they don’t.  There is relief in knowing they feel understood and worry in the abyss of not.  It can be debilitating at times because empaths, by nature, cannot let ourselves out of our own heads.  Why? Because we’re often so wrapped up in how yours is.  We sway with the wind of whatever storm is in your world.  We do it willingly because that is exactly why we’re here.  It never goes unbalanced, though.  We get to take that same little breath of happiness when you get to feel something ridiculously exciting.  Selfish bit of a payoff for us?  Perhaps.
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We are the people tapping on the conductor’s shoulder to see why he’s so tense and if there’s anything we can alleviate for him.  Often times, it backfires and he’s just wondering why we’ve interrupted the show before we even realize we have.  At some point, we’re not letting the maestro lead his own symphony.  The code I’m quickly figuring out is that there’s a way to do that without inadvertently using his own stress against him to stop the music:
Trust.
We trust the maestro, his reasons, and his perspective.  We learn to trust that we still get to help by doing that very thing.  What seems like a mess of out of tune strings may be exactly what his entire overture calls for.
bRxenZ1
(Empath, blogger, avid Seinfeld referencer.)
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I am finding that line between the power in experiencing that and how to step aside and simply exist with understanding for whenever it’s needed.  That, to me, is using any anxiety I feel to fully see both why it exists for someone and how to trust that it will transform into something worthy of a standing ovation.
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Me the Foodie…

I’ve changed just about everything in my life over the last couple of years.  Part of that change involved something I’ve always loved the most.  Food.  It was the reason for so many things.  The reason for celebration.  Sadness.. Guilt.. Relief.. Nourishment.. It was the reason I ultimately needed to change my life in order to save it.

Part of my fear in my weight loss journey was being able to stick with new, better habits.  What if I couldn’t do it?  What if I never found something interesting enough to hold my attention?  What if I failed and ended up right back where I started?  I weighed my options.  I decided this would be require an enirely new lifestyle.  Not just counting calories and working out.. This would require a something that would allow me to be free and feel good.. I could not get bored as I had time and time again.  I had to stay excited for this to work.

Enter my good friend Gluten.  We had to part ways.  After several “going away” parties of course.  I chose the gluten free route.  It seemed easy enough.  I could just look for labels that clarified my preference.. I quickly learned how wrong I was.  It was discouraging at first.  I wanted to give up.  That’s when I discovered that I, Darah, would actually get out my pots and pans.. I would conquer this.  I started diving into the recipe books.  I started reading about the science of all of this.  It started to get interesting.  I found that I actually enjoy and can completely satisfy my inner-geek with this- my new adventures in cooking.

It’s gone pretty well I’d say.

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I’ve discovered that a butternut squash doesn’t have to just sit there and be a butternut squash.  It can be brushed with coconut oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and baked into something wonderful.

I’ve discovered that blenders are awesome..

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And I’ve discovered how much I love the endless possibilities of something I have always loved so much.  The feeling of finally realizing that this is nourishment is beautiful.  Food should not be an assault on the body.  It should not be the enemy.  I am here to share.  This is part of my journey.