January 4, 2021

What it’s Like to be an Empath with Difficult Emotions.

Emotions are complex.

They make some people uncomfortable. Others are more intuitive and natural at expression. But if you’re like me, hanging somewhere in between, or maybe not, it doesn’t matter much because, ultimately, I am articulating an utterly subjective experience.

At many times in my life, I have felt an intuitive connectedness with others, which I have come to identify as empathy. Empathy has also been compared by some to a trauma response, an awareness of fluctuating emotions in others developed as a response to difficult situations faced in early moments of life, or a way of coping with your environment by ascertaining and preempting its variables.

However, whatever led to this empathetic capability has also often been a source of emotional exhaustion, as a result of which I have developed something that resembles selective feeling. This selective feeling is either the Zen-like ability to master your emotional experience, or it is a debilitating, slow repression of emotions resembling a certain state of disturbing equanimity, or numbness.

Over time, after some experimentation with meditative practices, which required way too much austerity from a greedy glutton like me, I have chosen to live the more thorny, emotionally unmentored, unanchored existence, not tempered by daily rituals of balancing acts of meditation.

Maybe there was no choice, and I was merely incompetent for the Zen path, or maybe I am one of those believers who struggle with an anchoring faith. I’d rather go through the ups and downs, the fluctuating tides of an overwhelming inner world.

Whatever it may be, I have often found myself encouraging myself to feel more and move away from the debilitating numbness; the numbness which is more harmful than the ravages of changing tides of emotional expression.

However, in reaction to my more open embrace of my difficult emotions, like grieving, sadness, ennui, I have received a certain concerned glance, as if this is a wobbly head that should be checked in for a monitored intervention.

In a culture where feelings of fleeting hollowness, reminiscing of loss, the humbling of one’s pride in mortal existence that accompanies it, and the other so-called difficult emotions I mentioned above are simply equated with loneliness or depression, it becomes tough to make peace with one’s already complex relationship with emotions.

We have forgotten to observe the flow of the same emotion as it splits into a multicoloured spectrum like light passing through a prism, different angles producing different shades all of which are unique and compelling and profound in ways unmatched.

It is an intensely personal journey of introspection, but also a common one because no human can be rid of this inner world of emotions that makes us who we are.

And maybe, just maybe, in a culture that equates emotions to comfortably labelled experiences, one day, the luminescence of the emotional spectrum’s continuum will dawn upon us.



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Richa Dawar  |  Contribution: 115

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