I totally get it.
Being compassionate and feeling things in such an intense way can really suck sometimes. It’s overwhelming and your emotions feel out of control. There are times when you don’t want to feel empathetic, when you don’t want to put yourself in another person’s shoes.
But you just can’t help it.
You have more compassion and empathy in your pinky finger than some have in their entire body. You are the one that feels and experiences emotion so intensely and overwhelmingly that it’s almost an out-of-body experience.
Kleenex commercials cut like a knife. Waterproof mascara is a staple of your makeup routine. And “This is Us” episodes can send you over the edge. It’s difficult to know how to process it all.
You feel things too deeply—and I feel your pain. Literally.
When people are in pain, that pain radiates through us and aches in our souls and our spirits. When people are angry, that anger spreads through us like lava. When people feel joy, our hearts explode like a starburst. We see people’s emotions, some of the most vulnerable things we have as human beings, and we look to know them, we seek to understand the meaning behind them. And we need to feel them, because we care more about what’s underneath than what we see on the surface.
We give too many second chances. We trust a little too easily. Oftentimes, this leads to big-time pain and shame. Why did we allow ourselves to be so vulnerable? Why did we love them so hard, so soon? And then we keep on forgiving, even when we don’t think we could forgive or trust anyone, anymore. We’re the ones who, let’s be honest, people tend to walk all over because they mistake our kindness for weakness and they can always count on us to be there: ready to listen. Ready to empathize.
For those of us who feel too deeply, the world doesn’t always look upon us favorably. If we watch the news or read the newspaper, we know the world can lack compassion. And compassion—the ability to understand that we are all the same, we are all connected—is what we need. To understand that we are all thinking, feeling, caring, loving, confused, irrational human beings, and that we all deserve kindness, respect, and understanding, whether or not we share world views or hold the same opinions.
We have forgotten how to listen. So many people in this world only know how to respond. Rarely do we find someone who will sit down with their only goal being to listen and understand. Someone who will hear you and feel you and will genuinely want to know what you’re going through and how they can help.
And you know what?
You are that rare someone.
But let me tell you this, my emotional warriors: being empathetic and compassionate may be hard and frustrating, and may make you want to pull your hair out or cry your eyes out at times. But in the end, it is quite possibly one of the biggest blessings you’ll ever receive.
I work for a non-profit that offers services for children and adults with disabilities. And although we have many joyful stories that we share, there are also the ones we don’t want to talk about, like the child who was born without a disability but was then thrown against a wall as an infant by the mom’s drunk boyfriend. Because of this, I am now looking at a child in our program who is deaf, partially blind, and paralyzed.
My heart hurts every day when I see her being assisted off the school bus in her wheelchair. But she also reminds me of how resilient we can be. She is caring, loving, and has a smile for all who come in contact with her. She is trusting, honest, vulnerable, and one of the most courageous human beings I have had the privilege of knowing. Traits we should all strive to have.
Without my over-feeling heart, I might be blind to noticing this beautiful human being and her amazing traits.
So be compassionate. Be empathetic. Be kind. Cross oceans for people when others would only cross puddles.
But at the same time, be vigilant. Know when your purpose has been served and when to step back, recharge, and breathe.
Feeling things deeply is exhausting, and like all blessings, it is something that needs to be used with wisdom, thoughtfulness, and care.
Feeling too much is a magical thing that enables you to see the beauty and sadness of the human experience, all at once. You’re awake. You feel alive. And oftentimes, you represent the light in a dark world.
Carry on, sweet and sensitive souls. Be you. Feel all the feels. Honor your body and practice self-care. Show up, each and every magical day. You and your gifts are a blessing to this world!
Author: Melinda Campbell-Weber
Image: With permission from Noël Smith-Sparrow/Instagram
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron