Alissa holding a rose while in front of her meditation tipi.

This Is What It Feels Like To Be An Empath

highly sensitive Dec 29, 2020

I care about you, a lot.

I like taking care of you. I want to make you feel happy and seen and understood. I sort of live for the moments you tell me, “Thank you. I’m so glad I have someone in my life who actually understands me.”

I lose myself in my relationships sometimes, though. I care about you so much that I get invested in what you care about, too. Sometimes, I find myself mulling over your problems, wondering if there’s a solution I could offer that might help you feel better.

It’s kind of easy for me to forget myself, sometimes. Your feelings kind of feel like my feelings, you know? I just want to make sure you’re doing okay, and then I’ll relax, too, I swear.

Yes, I’ve been told many, many times, that I care too much. What does that even mean, though? I’ve never understood how to turn that off. I’ve tried, believe me. Caring so much has gotten me hurt. It’s gotten me taken advantage of, for sure.

I’ve tried not to care so much.

Before I knew better, I cared too much about people who weren’t good for me. As is my nature, I put my whole heart into these people and they took advantage of me. Before I knew better, I blamed myself for everything that went wrong.

After that, I wanted to harden my shell. I wanted to not care, too. I’d shrug my shoulders nonchalantly as tears welled up in my eyes. I’d tell myself I wasn’t worried, while a million knots in my stomach told me otherwise. I’d hold in my feelings until eventually, they’d explode in a phone call with my mom.

Me? Not care? It’s like trying to squeeze a hippo into a pair of leggings. It just doesn’t fit.

Yes, I know, sometimes the amount I care might be a little much for you. You might wonder why I’m always asking how you are, doting on you, and wanting to be there for you. Just know that it’s part of my nature. My heart is filled up when I get to care for you.

I feel the ups and downs of life, deeply.

Sometimes the sunset is so perfect, it makes me cry. Sometimes the way an older gentleman smiles at his wife makes my heart crumble into a million pieces. Sometimes I see you doing something you love and I feel overjoyed for you.

Other times, I wake up feeling sad about the way things are in the world. Other times, I feel overwhelmed by people’s anger and feel hopeless about things ever really getting better. Other times, I feel small and weak and incapable of doing much good.

The ups and downs; the darkness and the light; I’ve always known both of these sides well. I used to wish I was more even-keeled and a little more numb. Why do I always have to feel so much? But if I wasn’t feeling that much, then I wouldn’t get to experience feeling overwhelmed with joy, excitement, and love.

You might say I’m a little dramatic. I like to say I’m passionate.

I’m spiritual.

I’m obsessed with finding meaning in everything that happens. I love having deep talks on the couch at 9 p.m. I crave magic. I look for miracles. I dream vividly. I notice signs. I believe we’re always receiving love notes from the Universe. I trust my intuition.

I love spending time on my own. I tend to be pretty comfortable in my own space. Since I’m always so tuned into your energy, sometimes it feels good to just be in my own energy. I like to journal and get to know myself better. I like to dim the lights, burn a candle, and meditate.

I like baths and ocean waves and reading good books on sunny days. I like being here. I like being alive.

So, what does it feel like to be an empath?

I suppose it feels like being very human. It feels like being a little more raw and exposed. It feels like I’m missing a buffer between myself and others, and the rest of the world.

Yes, raw, is the word. It feels human. It feels real.

With love,