I had a conversation recently with my husband in which I told him I wished that I didn’t give a shit. You may not know me, but if you did you would laugh at this statement. You would laugh because if anything was impossible ever in the world – me not giving a shit is that thing.

(Okay maybe there are a couple of other impossible things out there, but this is still one too.)

You see, I am a feeler of energy. If we are connected at the heart, I absorb your energy. I didn’t ask for it. Some might think that I am a total weirdo. Fair. Others might say that it is something that I created, but I disagree because I don’t get to decide. If I decided to create such depth of energy “sponging” so to speak, I would have also built in an off switch. This is not a gift or a super power. It comes with the heaviest of weights at times that would exhaust even the strongest human, and more often than not, I do not want any part of it.


If I could touch on the glass-half-empty side of it for a moment because hell-ooo, I am human and sometimes I do that, it is emotionally exhausting to feel this much and in so many directions. I want to kick and scream and tantrum them all away – but I can’t. I haven’t shared with those I love so deeply all of the times my heart literally hurt because theirs did, too. I haven’t because it is almost embarrassing to look at a person and say something to the effect of “I literally feel you.” Not only is this a creepy, borderline asshole thing to say because it is and I know that – but it also can appear to the other person that I am stealing their thunder.

Good and bad.

I promise you that stealing anyone’s thunder is the absolute last thing on my mind when I am in this place. I think that when someone is hurting – the selfishness surrounding their feelings is part of surviving the hurt and other people’s intentions can be taken entirely the way that they were not meant.

If we are looking at it optimistically – glass half full – this can absolutely feel like a gift, rather than a burden. Having this intense ability to really love another person while at the same time absorbing the energy of the love they share with you is overwhelming, but in a good way. I could describe it as similar to being high – or maybe as a euphoric feeling of floating after an amazing orgasm. You get it, right? I sometimes can get through an entire week of bullshit solely on someone else’s energy. But, like any intense high – without more of it – the crash can be debilitating.

Compassion Hurts

So how do I recover? Is recovery even an option? How is it possible to legitimately love so deeply in so many different directions? I often find myself reflecting on these kinds of questions.

I have to constantly remind myself that I can love myself enough to get through the week. Self-love is not easy. It is not euphoric. It is this constant voice reminder that “”I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Sometimes this doesn’t do the trick.

I also have to put boundaries in place. Mental ‘safety cones’ if you need a visual. I have been this way for so long that I can almost always feel it coming and I am able to brace myself – except for when it is unexpected. Which happens more than I like, and has happened more than I have liked lately. It is difficult to set boundaries when you are blindsided. Especially when the energy is not good.

For example, recently I found out that someone that I love very much was diagnosed with cancer. Not the “oh it will be fine, we caught it early” cancer either. It knocked the wind out of all of us. I don’t know about anyone else, but the news literally stopped me in my tracks. I was frozen in a whirlwind of feelings. I felt his energy. His fear. His devastation. As much as I am sure that it debilitated him – it also debilitated me, and likely everyone around him. I bring this up because it sparked this almost thousand word release about something deeply personal to me, but also because I had to find a new way to deal with it. I prayed, meditated, wrote him a letter, cried … I even tried to ignore it because the energy hurt that bad to feel. Imagine the worst pain a broken heart could have ever caused you and multiply it by a sequence of ridiculously high numbers.

Even then you might not know. Or maybe you do know. Maybe you are a feeler, an empath, like I am.

In stopping to reflect, I realized that I have a coping mechanism that I probably never realized I had. Meaning, I know that I do it, but I hadn’t realized the stem of it. By projecting the energy outward in the form of actually giving love, I am able to deflect some of it by loving others. Whether it be in the form of a card, a love note, food, or simply a trinket I see in passing – I feel less intensity in the energy when I am able to tangibly show love.

So that is what I did. When I think back to a week ago, when the energy was fresh and new, I still feel it. It feels different now, because I know that I gave out a portion of the energy that I absorbed, and immense pain was transformed into hopeful energy.

Or at least I would like to think that it was.

My point in writing this is almost 100% selfish, but if you are anything like me, even a little, in terms of empathy, the hope that you open your eyes to it or learn something new about how to set boundaries to protect yourself would be as precious to me as having this opportunity to get it off of my chest.

Creative Commons License Cocoon by A. Pagliaricci is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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