I’m constantly reminded of 2 things as I read this. First, the instructions from an airline carrier that if the cabin is to lose oxygen, it’s critical to put your own oxygen mask on before trying to assist another. Secondly, not everyone struggling wants to or should be helped!
As an empath and a healer, I am wired to want to help others heal in any way that I can. Resonating with and feeling the difficulties of others can be a strong motivating force to go beyond the call to assist another in pain or distress, yet it’s not always what we are called to do.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the story about the butterfly and the little boy who was concerned as he watched the butterfly struggle to emerge from his cocoon! The butterfly was struggling so intensely to break free that the boy ran to get scissors, cut a larger hole in the cocoon, which then allowed the butterfly to emerge quickly and with little to no resistance. What the boy didn’t realize until later was that his actions doomed the butterfly to a life of crawling around on the ground, with a swollen body and wings that didn’t work. Had he left the butterfly to his struggle, the difficult process of squeezing through this small opening in the cocoon was the very thing required to expel the fluid from the butterfly’s body and wings, allowing it the opportunity to fly unobstructed.
I find myself in this very position at times. There is such a tremendous desire to free others from their struggles, yet often our paths requires us traversing uncomfortable landscapes and emotional difficulties to bring us to an awareness of deep emotional, physical, and spiritual obstructions that are keeping us bloated, saturated, weighted down and unable to fly! Sometimes trying to bypass those necessary steps of struggling through to a place of acknowledgment, release, and healing of our own internal issues can do more harm than good.
There is no fast track, or bypassing of the necessary deep soul work that brings us to a place of resolution and peace. It takes time and honest effort. Hindsight has taught me everything happens as it should, on a timeline that it should for our highest good, and that often is not in sync with the finite timeline we often think things should happening within!
This brings about an important question, as a healer, I must ask every time I work with a client. What is my role supposed to be with this individual today and how can I best support them in whatever process they are dealing with? Sometimes that means helping to clear energetic emotional debris, so things can get moving again. Sometimes, that may mean assisting in raising their vibration & frequency so they can get to a clearer place of higher order thoughts and processing. Sometimes it means teaching them techniques to call into submission our unwieldy thoughts and ruminating states of mind. Sometimes it means creating boundaries in love, that prevent me from acting as an enabler, and place the owness back on the individual to do the necessary work they are avoiding and wanting me to OK. Sometimes it means deeply listening to the stories, to help them identify the core things that are keeping them stuck and bringing those items into the light. Many times, it’s a combination of all of the above and several other interventions I employ as well. Point being, it’s critical as a healer that I am sensitive to the appropriate role I need to be playing, which can significantly change each time we have a session, and maintaining a keen awareness that I am not overstepping my role, which can greatly impede their progress.
It’s also taken me many years to identify the importance of recognizing any role I play in the assistance of another can never become more important than my own balance, health, and wellness. Often healers and empaths have a martyr complex! I was guilty of this for years. I would help anyone and everyone with whatever the perceived need was, regardless of the cost to myself, which was often quite high, and there was a sense of guilt that followed if I didn’t, or set any boundaries that allowed for myself as a first priority. This is a highly unbalanced and unhealthy view, yet I see it very well and alive in many healers I still encounter. I don’t say that in judgment, but rather in understanding, as I lived from that place myself for many years. I have chosen to move into a different season now, as I recognize my wellness is paramount in assisting others and I choose to no longer sacrifice that for any reason.
Probably the most important lessons I have learned about being a healer and a very sensitive empath are that it’s critical I employ wisdom, discernment, and love from the place of the heart, not the mind, and that the strong emotions that often come with being an empath are not viewed outside the lens of these other three. I have also learned that shielding myself is highly important. Prior to understanding shielding, my clients would feel fantastic after a session, but I often felt like crap, as I took on their energetic chaos and was left with the aftermath, by my own unknowing hand. In incorporating this step, it now allows me to recognize and feel the issues of others, without taking those things on personally and becoming overwhelmed by the circumstances, emotions, and energy of another. This was probably one of my greatest AHA moments! Shielding provides the protection we need as sensitive empaths, while still allowing us to see deeply into the needs of another.
I love the work I do, and stepping into healthier principles of practice has enabled me to continue in my passion, without any longer feeling overwhelmed or shut down. I can still engage at the depths needed, yet be able to detach energetically and emotionally, so I no longer feel drained, but rather highly energized and excited about the shifts I’m seeing in clients that are no longer at my own expense! YAY! I hope there may be some of you out there who resonate with this and find this helpful in moving forward to a healthier place of empathetic engagement. Whether you practice as a professional, or are just walking through your daily life as an empath, these are things that can make a significant difference in your ability meet the needs of your calling to be a helper to others, without sacrificing your own sanity and wellness in the process!
Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby