Growing up I used to feel things, all the time, really deeply.
I would see something as I walked home from the shops, maybe a homeless dude, or a child in distress, and I would feel it. I would feel it right in the very depths of my chest.
Like an ache. Like a vice grip held tight and twisting. Hard enough to require me to stop. Stop and take a breath.
I knew something was wrong. I knew something was not right.
Doctors spoke to me with fancy words, elaborate and lazy diagnoses, and offered me concoctions to dull the pain, to drown out the sorrow I was swimming in. Sorrow that wasn’t strictly my own.
I had never heard the word empath before. I didn’t know there were others like me.
I didn’t know there were others who had to crawl their way out from under other people’s grief, routinely.
Being an empath was hard. It is hard. Sometimes, the door that must be closed in order to protect yourself, is the same door that needs to be left slightly ajar to allow in the goodness.
The balance is delicate.
But weirdly – the only place where the empathy does not creep in is my coaching.
Yeh, I know that sounds odd.
When coaching I can detach like a motherf*cker.
I can detach and rise above my own shit and yours, to find myself in the most perfect position to help.
To see, to witness and to do good.
It’s a connection, but a different type. It’s deeper and stronger.
In the distance that’s created, there is everything that could not be found if I jump into the swamp with you. There is understanding, healing, objectivity.
Love for the whole.
It’s like when you watch a lover walk across the room and you gasp at seeing their beauty, distant and afresh.
For me, empathy, extreme empathy, I-am-in-bed-for-days-suffering-your-pain empathy, all but vanishes when the person actually asks for my help.
Then it’s all about action, results, useful shit.