February 26, 2014

It Hurts to Hurt. ~ Robin Stremlow


I’m an empath.

A sponge. I’m the kind of person who absorbs the energy of those around me—good and bad—happiness, pain, anger…everything.

I can feel negativity because of this. I can sense when things are off. I can recognize right away when tension exists and when there are escalated emotions when there should be, and normally would be, calm.

Recently, I’ve noticed negative energy around me a lot. I think I’m not only sensing it and feeling it, but I think I’m the cause.

This realization hurts.

I try my best to inspire others to do great things, to push themselves when they can, to relax and rewind when they must, and to love and accept each and every blessing.

This world is much too short to sit on the sidelines and watch great things happen to others, so I’ve taken big leaps toward making my dreams come true and it’s my honest intention to encourage others to do the same.

Sometimes, though, people don’t want to hear encouragement.

Sometimes people are resentful when good things happen to others.

Sometimes people are bitter and brash and downright berating, instead of being kind and excited and genuinely happy for the little victories in the lives of those around them

I’ve felt this nastiness recently, and it’s consumed much of my thoughts. I’ve tried to convince myself I’m imagining it. If someone had a problem with me and my actions, they’d tell me, right?

I’ve tried to let it roll off—more slicker, less sponge.

I’ve tried to accept it, to force myself to swallow and suppress the pain and unease rising in my chest and throat when I enter a room filled with obvious animosity. But, the empath inside won’t let me do this. The empath inside will continue to feel the negative energy until it’s gone.

In this morning’s yoga class, the Universe lifted this burden from my shoulders. It provided a solution my soul so desperately needed.

Our yoga teacher read Chapter 30 from the Tao Te Ching. The words helped me realize that I can only do my very best, each day, and that I cannot dwell on the outcome, whatever it may be. I can only live honestly, with integrity and good intention; the reaction from others to my life cannot be my concern.

I am happy with who I am. I am grateful for the good and bad in my life, for the tiny miracles and the big bummers alike. I am proud of the person I am and the person I’m becoming. I refuse to let someone’s anger or sour response bring me down and cause me guilt and shame or make me feel undeserving of grace and goodness. I’m worthy of life’s blessings, as are they, and my hope is that they’ll realize this as well.

My hope is that they’ll work just as hard to live a good life, and that they’ll reap its beautiful blessings, just as I have.

My hope is that my hurting heart will heal and I’ll always remember the lines from the Tao Te Ching, and that I’ll continue to believe in myself, to be content with myself, and to accept myself, just as I am.

And one day, sooner than later, they will too.

From Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching:

The Master does his job and then stops.

He understands that the universe is forever out of control,

and that trying to dominate events goes against the current of the Tao.

Because he believes in himself, he doesn’t try to convince others.

Because he is content with himself, he doesn’t need others’ approval.

Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him. 


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Editorial Assistant: Kathryn Rutz / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant journal archives

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