We were born with our hearts on our sleeves and it can be a real motherf***er to deal with sometimes.
Our emotions are transparent and flashing across our faces before we even have time to think them.
Not only this, but we feel the emotions of others. If someone is angry, hurt, anxious, upset…you better believe we feel that sh*t to our core. Sometimes, if we are not paying attention, we can even take on those emotions, which can leave us messed up and make a situation even more screwy than it already is.
This is the world of an empath—a world whose full depths I’m just learning.
I have always considered that my greatest weakness is being so emotional. Tears flow when I am happy, sad, angry, wronged, overwhelmed—every strong emotion comes straight from my centre and tears are generally my first outlet. To the best of my knowledge, tears do not typically have a history of admiration or respect; I have never heard someone say, “Wow, I just saw my manager burst into tears after the meeting, she must really care about this project…”
Rather, this would be viewed as a weakness.
Recently, someone whom I trusted attacked me with a string of insults fueled by aggression. As I stood there dumbfounded and tried to calmly ask where all this was coming from, he went straight for the low-blow and asked, “Are you going to cry? Why do you always cry?” Note: I was not crying at this point, but of course this sentence, well, made me want to cry.
Emotions were rising in me like a swell at sea after a strong wind; I had so much to say but I was doing my best not to react to anger with anger. While trying to navigate through the internal mess of emotions, I couldn’t muster a coherent word in defense. I just stood there and got pounded by the onslaught.
I felt pathetic. Weak. Defeated. But mostly deflated. When you do your best to help others, to focus on the good, and those same people turn around and knock you to the ground without a word of warning…well, it’s fair to say I was feeling all of the feels.
In a flood of hot tears in bed, I screamed into my husband’s chest, “Why do I feel so goddamn much?!” I was done caring, trying to be better, and helping others. I fell asleep crying and woke up feeling better for the release, but still deflated.
But, as I started a new day, I knew I wasn’t done. No matter the words or actions of others, I refuse to shut off and shut down.
I’d actually tried this once in a managerial role and it didn’t look good on me. I turned into an a**hole of a manager. As I tried to shut off my emotions and distance myself from others, I became cold and callous; as I lost touch with the humanity in others, I lost touch with my own.
Emotions may be considered a weakness by many, but there is a difference between being ruled by our passions and feeling deeply.
When we live wholeheartedly and leave ourselves open, you better believe it leaves us vulnerable and wide open to be hurt. But, there is a yin to every yang—without vulnerability, there is no chance for connection.
If our greatest weakness is our emotions, then our greatest strength is our ability to form genuine connections with others when we stand in our truth.
We were never meant to do this life thing alone. I believe connection is the answer to almost all of life’s ills.
I will no longer feel embarrassed when tears prick my eyes after hearing a beautiful story of love, hope or tragedy, nor will I deny my emotions and tears when I feel wronged or when I feel a basic need to unleash the dam of burdens and emotions I often carry.
Finally, I see my emotions and tears are not something to be ashamed of. I will wear them like the glorious jewels of love and compassion they are.
To anyone who would diminish me for my emotions, I make no apologies. This is who I am. I care deeply and I will continue to love hard, because the world didn’t end up in the shape it’s in today because of too much love.
“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing, that there’s just not enough of…” ~ Jackie DeShannon
To my emotional brothers and sisters, never the let the world convince you to change. Stand in your truth, walk tall and be proud. Continue to wear your heart on your sleeves, for it is your vulnerability that allows you to connect with the world around you, to reach out a hand to those in need, to lighten the load of others.
Anyone can build a wall. It takes true strength to love beyond boundaries.
Author: Tash Pericic
Editor: Catherine Monkman