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October 15, 2019

Empath 101: Stop Trying to Fix People who Don’t Want to Be, Didn’t Ask to Be, Saved.

 

Letting go of people who don’t want or need our help is probably one of the toughest lessons for empaths.

The sooner these highly sensitive and caring beings learn this lesson, the sooner they will free themselves from a responsibility that was never theirs from the beginning.

Empaths are born “fixers.” They are great listeners who often carry the burden of others and many times find themselves in situations where they can’t say no. Empaths are often told they have a “heart of gold.” They are so compassionate and giving and they frequently put others’ needs in front of their own.

So this message is for you, dear empath. You, who have tolerated years of burden and toxicity. You, who always had the best intentions in your heart. You, who always want to save the day and make the world a better place.

If I had to write a course on “How to Be an Empath 101,” the first thing I would say would be: you really need to let go of helping people who in fact don’t need or want your saving. I sometimes wonder how much suffering, unnecessary drama, and energy loss I could have spared myself had I understood the meaning of that lesson from the beginning.

I’m pretty sure you have already noticed, dear empath, how many “desperate” friends come to vent about their problems to you. And you can probably see how many of these people play the role of victims. They feel that the world has failed them somehow. They complain and complain about their finances, jobs, relationships, family problems, and so on. And you, like a good empath, hear it all—and absorb it all.

Although I’m an energy healer, I am not here to talk about the metaphysical aspect of energy chords and the overload of toxicity and bad energies that are poured into your beautiful aura when you start listening to complainers. I’m sure you can simply imagine what happens in the invisible field.

But I want you to be mindful so you can act and stop being emotionally and physically drained by people who don’t deserve your effort and energy.

Trust me, I really believe it is a total blessing to be an empath. I love to be able to feel deeply, to understand others with my intuition, and to unveil the reasons for their pain and suffering. It sometimes feels like a superpower. But let’s make sure this is not also a curse!

In order to survive in a world filled with “oversharers,” you may need to create some boundaries between you and others, including (and especially!) loved ones.

The first thing you need to understand—hopefully not the hard way—is that most suffering people, unconsciously attracted to your energy, actually start telling you about their problems because they just want you to listen to them. They are not really seeking advice or help. They don’t want or need to be rescued.

I believe this realization is an essential part of an empath’s life. As a “fixer,” I always seemed to have the perfect solution for people’s problems. I would listen to hours and hours of regrets, problems, complaints. Then I’d think of ways I could help people out. I’d send them videos, reading materials, and teachings with the “magical answer” to their problems.

Sometimes my fixer method actually worked. I have helped a lot of people who indeed listened and found a way to move past their problems and limitations with positivity and a different outlook on life.

But the sad reality is that the majority never actually listened to my advice.

It upset me to see them repeating actions that hurt them over and over again without being able to “fix” that issue. I certainly never looked for any kind of recognition. I never wanted to be praised for being a “savior.” But I wanted them to respect my time, as I had spent a great amount of time and energy looking for solutions to help people out. But at the end of the day, they never actually wanted or needed my saving.

That’s when I realized I had to change my attitude and stop being a fixer or a savior. That’s when my life as an empath changed.

I am not talking about a friend who is going through a real problem and who simply needs your advice because they are clouded with concerns and can’t find their way out. That is absolutely fine!

If a friend comes to you looking for important advice, you have to listen and help. It’s what makes you a great friend and a compassionate listener. However, if they come to you with repetitive complaints on how hard their lives are and recurring, never-ending problems, be wary. If you spot a familiar pattern in those painful conversations, make sure you don’t fall into an energy vampire’s trap.

There’s a difference between having difficult conversations, which may involve discussing problems with someone, and simply being a receiver of people’s emotional garbage. Don’t be the latter!

I do hope you don’t find me selfish and entitled to say this bluntly here, but the fact is that a lot of energy vampires can be “dumpers.” They are unconsciously attracted to empaths just like ants to sugar, and when they spot one of these sensitive and caring beings, the “dumping” begins. And the empath is trapped. Trapped and drained.

You don’t need that in your life, dear empath. Stop investing so much time in trying to “save” people from their own messes. You heard me. Loud and clear. You have absolutely no duty to help people get back on their feet if they don’t want to take the extra step.

At the end of the day, no matter how much you want to help someone out, you need to stop trying and let them find their own wings. And unfortunately, sometimes they are not ready to fly just yet.

Someone once gave me great advice. I told her about how hard it was for me to deal with people who just wanted to dump emotional garbage on me but who never followed my advice. She told me that as soon I recognize the pattern of someone who really just wants to dump, I should do absolutely nothing about it but listen. “Don’t say much,” she said. “Simply tell them, ‘I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ll certainly keep you in my prayers.’”

I think that was great advice coming from an experienced empath to a confused and drained one like me. That piece of advice eventually helped by leading me to resign from a job that was never mine from the beginning: the “fixer” job.

I still pray and send Reiki energy to people who come to me and who are suffering. I’m still an empath, so of course I care and I listen many times. It breaks my heart to see people around me suffer so much. It also breaks my heart that there is not much I can do. But I understand that they must have their own journey, and it’s not up to me to figure things out for them.

I still offer advice on books and reading materials that can help, for example, as I have been helped in the past that way. If they resonate with the simple nature of my advice, they will follow. But it’s up to them now. I don’t keep tabs anymore.

I also create boundaries. That is a must for empaths! I have cut people off when they started venting with rage and anger. I have also told people, “I’m sorry but I can’t hear this right now. It’s making me upset.”

I have learned to protect my energy around friends, colleagues, and family members. And you should too.

As the Chinese proverb says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” So that is exactly what you need to have in mind when dealing with people’s sufferings. At some point, they will wake up. When you notice they are actually looking for real help—not just dumping emotional and toxic garbage on you—then you definitely can help them “find their wings.”

I was in that position many times. I had amazing “masters” who have helped me. I’ve had conversations that changed my life and helped me find my way back into the light. That is what you are seeking when you decide to make time for people. You want to see them actually take extra steps to help themselves.

And that’s when you show up for them. That’s when you become their cheerleader the same way people cheered and lifted you up.

I am lucky to have met great people who were actually looking for their wings. And it feels amazing to be able to help them. So you can still help, just be aware of the ones who want nothing but to waste your time and energy, and those who are not looking to become better individuals.

But what I want you to know, from one empath to another awesome one, is that you’ve been doing great. Even if you have fallen into an energy vampire’s trap, you were doing your best. How amazing is it that we’re actually learning to do less instead of more?

As we awake, we learn that “less” is the way.

The “Tao Te Ching,” by Lao Tzu, taught me a great lesson about doing less, trying less. It’s not that we have to sit and watch the world fall apart. But it’s just about understanding that non-interference is the key. Things need to happen the natural way. That can also relate to our constant state of impermanence. We can’t control anything. So why should we control the way people react to their own messes? They need to learn the lesson on their own.

And you, dear empath, just need to learn how to simply “be.” Be amazing. Be loving. Be as you are. And let people “be” too.

~

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author: Agnes Dodge

Image: Alexandre Croussette / Unsplash

Editor: Julie Balsiger