This past summer has been one of the most difficult in my life. While I never believed that bad things would evade me, I did think naively think that getting older was going to make things easier; not harder.
The thing is though, the pain that’s plagued my life for the last few months isn’t even my cross to bear. It’s not things that are happening directly to me more so as happening to the ones I love. As a fiercely loyal friend and family-oriented person, on top of being an empath, I feel my friends and family’s pain to the extreme.
But that’s not fair to take other people’s pain and make it my own. It’s not fair to act like these unfair things are happening to me when they are actually happening to those I love.
So what do you do when everyone around you is going through something arduous?
You listen. You really listen to them when they talk and don’t try to give them advice. They don’t need advice. They don’t need someone to tell them what to do. Listening has shown me that I can help the people I love by just letting them talk without trying to fix everything.
You are there for them. You show up. If you can’t be there physically, you’re there mentally and emotionally. You are a quick phone call away and they know that you’re going to answer. No matter what time. No matter what situation. You know that right now they need you and showing up for them is the easiest way to show them you’re there.
You try to not take on their pain. You empathize. This goes hand and hand with listening. You empathize with their situation but you don’t make their pain yours. Even though it’s extremely difficult to not too, you need too. Taking on someone else’s pain is a losing situation for you because it’s so difficult to heal someone else’s wounds.
Love the hell out of them. Love the people in your life who need a little extra right now. Tell them daily how much they mean to you. Remind them of all the good things they have to offer. Talk to them about the things that they’ve done for you and how it’s really impacted your life. We don’t tell each other enough about the positive impacts we have on each other and we need to start now.
Always remember that you need to take care of yourself too. While it’s going to be difficult to remember, but even though you’re not going through something yourself, watching the people you love in pain will take a toll on you. It’s, unfortunately, the way it works when you love someone. Self-care isn’t selfish so remember that when you get overwhelmed with other people’s sadness.
Pain, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, is all-consuming. Just remember that loving someone through tough spots is enough even if it doesn’t feel like it.