In the movie “27 Dresses” the main character bends over backward to support other women on their big day in the hope that one day it’ll be her day and they will all be there to support her. What if, at the end of the movie, instead of the sweet pan-out shot of the long line of women in ridiculous dresses there to support our heroine no one showed up?
That’s how I feel as an empath. That I put in so much energy, time, effort, and sometimes sweat and tears to support others in their big life events. And I did it happily and with the hope that when it was my turn I would receive their support in return. But then I didn’t.
It’s not that they weren’t supporting me, they just couldn’t feel my needs in their bodies and give to me from complete understanding and almost psychic knowing of what I needed. And, because that was the only way I knew how to give, that’s how I expected to receive support so I wasn’t open to the type of support that was being offered. Maybe that desire for specific support came off as expecting too much. Maybe that’s part of why I’m often perceived as both “too sensitive” and “cold.”
I would guess most of the people who’ve hurt me don’t even know it. I was not about to tell them! After all, as an empath, starting a confrontational conversation is doubly painful for me. I would rather brush it under the rug and let them think everything is sunshine and rainbows than admit I was wounded. This also leads to holding onto hurts that were never fully expressed and moved through in an open, healthy way. Being an empath is hard, especially if you don’t know you are one. For many years I didn’t know I am an empath. I was just a big ball of too many emotions I didn’t know what to do with and feeling unsupported through it all.
So, how do you give and get the best support?
- If you are not an empath or highly sensitive person, try to have compassion and sympathy, if not empathy (hugely different from being empathic FYI), for your “sensitive” loved ones when they tell you they don’t feel supported. And, since you can’t feel their emotions yourself, ASK how they would like to be supported. It may surprise you as to how different it is from how you like to receive support. Do your best to give support in the way they ask. This tip works for anyone, empath or not: ask and make an effort.
- If you are the “sensitive” one, put an energetic bubble around yourself and tap into your courage then confide to your close circle that you don’t feel supported. Be ready with a kind and specific request of how your people can support you right now. Then be open to however they are able to show you support in their own way. Asking and receiving may both take some practice, but you’ve got this!
Go out and support one another in a kind, loving, individual way. You will be blown away by the depth of connection it brings.
If you want a safe space to practice asking for and receiving specific support, join the Connect Deep-Her Circle. Learn more here.