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Do your sensitivities make you feel invisible?
Many of us are told as children, “Get a thicker skin,” or “Toughen up,” suggesting that something is wrong with our empathic nature.
For many empaths growing up with the sense of not being “seen” by their family or teachers injured their self-confidence. Their sensitivities were treated more like aberrations than their precious and unique abilities. This can lead to becoming a people-pleaser.
These sensitive souls try to win love by getting into others’ good graces. They sacrifice their free spirits by trying to please everyone else: their mates, parents, bosses, and children. They become overly sweet, compliant, even passive. But they need their edge to be free thinkers—to be quirky and creative. So they end up feeling invisible, trapped, and angry, fearing that a part of themselves has been lost.
As a child, I didn’t feel that my parents supported or “saw” my intuitive side, so I grew up ashamed of my abilities. My healing path has been to embrace my intuition as well as my linear mind.
In my book, Thriving as an Empath, I discuss the liberation of feeling seen with a capital “S” and how to build your self-confidence.
This means that others accept you completely for who you are. You are not judged, blamed, or minimalized. In my psychotherapy practice, “seeing” someone is a crucial aspect of what I offer my patients. When you are seen—really seen—you can breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t have to change. You don’t have to do anything differently. You are authentically and unapologetically who you are, including your gifts and areas in need of growth. It’s a marvelous feeling to be unconditionally accepted.
You can begin to shift out of the people-pleasing pattern by saying “no” to something small. Also, express your opinion about an issue (start with less emotionally charged ones), even if it differs from friends’ or families’.
Asserting yourself will build self-confidence. You don’t have to please people all the time. You deserve to be liked and respected for being your authentic self.
Set your intention. Today, I will “see” myself with loving eyes. I will be with others who can “see” me too. I will also find the right balance between expressing my own needs and supporting others.