"Sometimes I worry I've become insensitive," I shared as I fiddled with my fingernails and stared off into space. "But then I realized I've just gotten stronger. I've developed a strength necessary to do the work I'm here to do... to sit in the shit with the people who are drowning, and guide them out with love. To not be consumed by their hurt and pain and darkness. Or my own."
He nodded as he shared, "That's how you hold space."
There's a thing that happens inside me when you open, when you spill your truths and hopes and hurts laced with shame or guilt or fear.
I expand, massively.
I feel every cell inside me as it happens. There's this subtle buzz in the core of me, and I feel my energy open wider than the spaces between or around us, deeper than I can describe in a way that would make sense. I expand. I open wide. I hold immense space for you and all you have to share. I absorb all that you need to release. And all that comes back out is love. Deep, deep love.
I get very still and I tune into you with a fierceness that makes everything else fall away. Everything that comes out of you, I don't know where it goes. I feel it engulfed by the space, the expansion, the openness. No matter what you say or throw my way, I won't flinch. The bigger or harder or more awful it is, the wider I expand and the more fiercely the love flows out.
But it doesn't stay inside of me... it doesn't weigh on my heart.
I wasn't always this way. Nope, not even close. I would be flattened by a single night of the news, which I usually couldn't even watch all the way through. I mean, steamrolled into the cracks of the sidewalk, unable to lift myself up for weeks. The world, the wars, the broken hearts, the losses... life, it weighed heavy on me. It broke me down and tore me up inside. I didn't know what to do.
If you were hurting, my goodness was I hurting too. I would feel it, all of it, and it would split me straight in two. One time during a hard conversation, an ex boyfriend walked by me to get a glass of water and I nearly threw up as the wave of anger and sadness that trailed him made contact with me. I couldn't sit by an angry person without a massive sense of hatred or agitation washing over me.
I couldn't separate you from me.
All I could do was feel every. single. thing.
And it wore me down. It broke my heart. It was too much. So I closed. I put up walls around my little heart and I disconnected. I didn't engage. I didn't go deep. Because if I opened myself up, I would immediately be trampled by the world.
Until I learned to manage my energy, to separate you from me. I learned to pull in my energetic field so that all I could feel was me, and I learned to throw it far and wide, taking in only that (or whom) I was choosing to connect to. Honestly, there is so much I could tell you about this I think I'll just create a mini-course around it.
When I went to Canada this fall to attend a workshop on how to give powerful healing processes, I noticed something unusual for me.
People around me where crying a lot. Not just through their own healing work, but as they tuned into the pain of others, as they connected to the hurts of the world. I cried during my own processes... as in, I sobbed the contacts right out of my eyes. But with others, as we talked about hurts and challenges and awful things that weren't my own? Not a tear. I just buzzed and opened and expanded wide.
And I started to wonder if maybe I was becoming insensitive. If there was something wrong with me because I couldn't seem to cry alongside others, despite feeling all the hurt and sadness and shame as it flowed through them.
Until I realized, I've just gotten stronger.
I've developed a strength necessary to do the work I'm here to do... to sit in the shit with the people who are drowning, and guide them out with love. To not be consumed by their hurt and pain and darkness. Or my own.
Do I think it means you're weak if you cry alongside others?
No, no, no my beautiful friend... I'm not saying that at all.
I think it means you're gifted with a strength the world needs more of: deep, deep empathy. The ability to feel what others are feeling. To experience what they're experiencing in a real and tangible way. A gift not many understand and therefore end up numbing out or disconnecting from because it's too much.
What I'm saying is, the more you work with it, the less it effects you... and the greater your ability to hold space becomes.
Because while you can tune in and feel all the feels that are pouring out of the beautiful soul in front of you, you can stand strong through it. For them, for you, for anyone involved. You hold the space for them to crack open, to heal, to release. You can open in a way you never knew your heart could open, and create a pocket in time and space that simply absorbs it all, without bringing you to your knees.
Your "strength" as an empath may not look like mine... it may still involve tears. It may feel like different sensations in your body or in the space that surrounds you. That's fine. It's perfect. As long as it's not tearing you apart inside -- as long as you're able to separate them from you -- you're golden. You're holding space and your sharing your gifts with those who need it. And you're needed. So, so needed.
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique and author of Awesome Life Tips book. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question!
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