I've battled my bleeding heart my entire life.
"Mommy, what's wrong?" My back was turned. "How does she know I'm upset?" I thought, even though I knew the answer. She sensed my sadness. She always does.
I don't lie to my children. When I'm sad, happy, angry or frustrated, I show it. I tell them the truth because I want them to always feel secure to express themselves without fear of being told their emotions are invalid, irrational or insignificant.
So I replied, "Mommy's feelings are hurt today, honey. My heart is sad."
"I know how that is Mommy, my feelings are hurt all of the time."
She paused, wiping her warm little hands up and down my back, "Mommy, it's so hard being a nice person."
I never thought of it this way, but it's true. Being nice, loving and willing to open my heart to the people around me, makes me susceptible to pain.
At the tender age of 5, my daughter has already learned this lesson. She and I are cut from the same cloth. We are highly-sensitive, emotionally-expressive, moody, compassionate, nurturing beings.
We feel more than we think.
This is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to understand people and see things others don't. However, when we remove the shield we become vulnerable, and in this vulnerability we can be hurt.
I've battled my bleeding heart my entire life. I don't want to anymore. I love that I can touch my emotions, delve into them, experience them and move forward. I can sense other people's emotions too, as if they were my own. Slowly, I am learning how to keep myself protected while I remain exposed and empathetic, without being untrusting and guarded.
I've tried to fit the mold for long enough, to not let other people affect me. I try to analyze the way I feel with logic and pragmatism; I fail every time. I've been told over and over again that my feelings aren't real and they don't exist. I've felt misunderstood and invisible for far too long. I know they exist. They are real.
Every day, I interact with others and I feel them without words, so does my daughter, she did it tonight and she was right, I was sad. Mothering my daughter has allowed me to love her in the way I've always needed and wanted to be loved.
How do I love her (an empath)?
(This applies to children, friends, parents and romantic partnerships).
It's simple: I honor how she feels, and I reassure her that her feelings are important. As an empath, she needs extra time to process her emotions, whether she asks for alone time or she wants to talk it out. I nurture her in the way she is asking to be loved, whether it is through tears, screams or silence.
She needs extra affection, it helps her feel safe. Most of all, I celebrate her sensitivity because it is a gift. She is on this Earth to love with all her might.
If you love an empath, feel blessed because you hit the karmic jackpot. Who better to love and support than someone who lives to love you back, completely.
This poem is dedicated to my daughter and to those of us who feel it all.
To Love An Empath
By Rebecca Lammersen
I'm all feelings, that's it.
Lit with emotions that just won't quit.
I wish I could turn them off with a switch,
But that's not an option,
Till I'm buried in a ditch.
There's always a trade to be made,
Every decision keeps me saved.
Sometimes it causes strife,
Cause I refuse to cut the emotions outta my life.
My dream would be,
To express all and be received,
Yet no one wants to love the girl who seems dis-eased.
You're not deceived,
So stop believing the lies you feed.
You must understand,
I've been freed.
Sometimes I question how to get by,
But I'll never give up,
I'll continue to try.
Every time I dive into my head,
I can't seem to make it heard or said.
See, the feelings keep dripping from my heart,
Cause it's the only way I know to live my art.
Forced to hide inside my mind.
It's torture in here,
The joy, the sadness just won't disappear.
You ask me to shut it down,
Cause then I can't make a sound,
So I don't disturb you and your ground.
But I can't, I won't.
Either love me fully or let me go.
I don't have time to be a ghost.
I took off the sheet when I realized,
It's the only way to stay alive.
Next time I cry,
Next time I scream
Hold me close,
Please don't leave.
Just keep me open,
So I can bleed.
This is how to love the life I lead.