I’ve often found myself trying to “make everything all better,” acting as a mediator, and generally getting in the way of others. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve realized that not only it is not my responsibility to intervene in someone else’s path, but that it might actually be detrimental to try to do so. It somehow infantilizes others, or makes them dependent, or sets off a knee-jerk resistance. And – it is depressing, and frustrating, and damaging – to me.
Self-infusion with the kind of compassion that can let go and get my ego out of it is a real challenge. I’ve always been terrible at instantiating the insights of Buddhism (I can give you references on this one!). Being a passionate being, I resist the bracketing out, the lack of engagement, and what feels to me like cold distancing no matter how often I am assured that it isn’t so. However, the insights there have helped me – sometimes – simply to be present for others when they wish to engage or to hear another viewpoint, and to help trigger reminders for stepping back when they don’t.
The role of a frustrated Cassandra is its own punishment, after all. My urge toward the protection and healing of others, I now understand, can have a dark aspect both for myself and for others.
There’s no running from insights – ethics then requires a kind of internal transformation. I’ve been too much the mouth, and too little the ear. Balance, balance. I already know in my heart that better questions are always more helpful than direct guidance.
Meditations have helped me to get grounded, but I’ve been lacking the words. Articulating some of this to myself has been a challenge, too. This morning I found a treasure on one of of my favorite blogs to visit. Kimmy Sharing Light shared some great light with me from a discussion of empath ethics.
These are excellent guidelines even for spiritual warriors like myself. It’s not in a register that I’m used to and I don’t agree with every bit of it (I think arguments can be very helpful from time to time, for instance), but much of this helps reshape the dynamic. Thank you Kimmy for sharing this, and thank you – so much – to the original author.
Rules for an Empath
- People are NOT your pet projects for you to fix.
- You are NOT an ‘emotional mechanic’.
- Just because you’re emotionally fine-tuned (as most empaths are) does not automatically obligate you to intervene.
- How others choose to live their life is not your call.
- Everybody handles trauma/distress in their own fashion.
- People CAN change, but ONLY if they have the desire to.
- Interference is not a promise of good results.
- There is nothing glamorous or cavalier about self-sacrifice.
- Forcing change never works on anybody.
- Accept that you can’t change everyone’s situation. That struggle is their personal journey, so give them the room they need to find their own brand of enlightenment down the road.
- Offer your unconditional love and unbiased understanding. This is the most you can do for an ailing heart.
- A listening ear is extremely helpful and has a bigger impact than you think.
- All your actions resonate for many years. You just may not be present to see the results.
- Your gut instinct. The alarm in your head. The nagging voice in the back of your mind. That bad feeling that warns you. LISTEN TO IT.
- Whatever you put out in this world comes right back to you. So tried and true. A real lesson in karma.
- Saying curse words, putting a curse on someone, or just the general desire to wish harm upon someone tends to have the negative effect of corrosion on your soul. You will feel it.
- Meditation does work; helps calm you the heck down! Find any Youtube video on mediation and follow it to clear your brain cobwebs.
- Walk out of the room if encountering a heated battle, before your “fight or flight response” kicks in. Petty squabbles are never worth the emotional damage it causes to your armor.
- Arguments are pointless, incendiary and help no one. Unless you’re a lawyer.
- Some people involuntarily extinguish your light. They may not be aware of how toxic they are, but you do. Fixing them is futile and not your responsibility. Get as far away from these people as you can.
- Be the bigger person. If someone says something nasty to you, you say “Thank you for your kind words.” and walk away. Be classy. They may scoff, they may retort, but after some time passes one thing is always guaranteed. And that nagging feeling at the back of their mind, it’s called shame.
- You pick up bad emotions, not only good ones. It’s important to pinpoint where they come from.
- If you feel overwhelmed and nothing stressful is occurring in your life, you’re accidentally picking up nasty vibes from someone nearby or some local event. Time to get away for a bit.
- It’s narcissistic to believe it’s your duty to ‘fix’ people. Wanting to help and believing you have to are two very different things.
Kimmy’s blog is always worth a visit, anytime: