I have always been the type of person to effortlessly befriend others. I love meeting new people, and I love making people feel like they are seen, like they are valued, like they are validated. As long as I can remember, building meaningful relationships with people has been my “super power”. I don’t mind complimenting others. I love noticing the changes people make like when someone has gotten a fresh haircut or is rocking a new shade of lipstick. I love observing those changes and even more so, I love letting them know that they are seen. My acknowledgment, says to them, “Hey, I see you”. It brings me joy to validate people and to give them the confirmation they seek.
I have always sought to see people for who they are and nothing else. And what I have learned about others along the way is that not everyone operates in this manner, and for people like me, who are empaths by nature, being surrounded by people who aren’t as open and as accepting as I am feels a lot like being overcome with darkness and a loneliness that can most definitely have a damaging effect. I know this because I have been overcome by darkness. I have been damaged, in fact, I still am. With that being said, I realize that my healing will begin, can only begin, once I start to release the parts of me that are screaming to emerge, but before I can do that, there are some protections that I must put in place for myself so that when “the world becomes too much” for my empathic soul, I know how to adjust, so here are some notions that I keep in mind when faced with moments like this.
notions on navigating the darkness
Know your values and beliefs so that when someone asks or expects you to behave in a situation as they would, you know where you stand on the issue at hand. Because I am a mutable person and someone who most definitely matches energies, it is critical that I know who I am at all times because if not, I will be swayed to be someone I’m not, to act in a way that does not fit with my vision of myself.
Control what you can control: People will make expectations of you that are not within your capacity to give. With that being said, it is imperative that you are aware of what you’re capable of giving and when you do choose to share your time and your gifts with others, you will be in control. You will know your limits because your mental health will depend on your ability to say “NO” or to walk away when you have done all that you can do.
Understand Your Triggers and by this I mean recognize the things that make you overly emotional or that make you feel like you are losing a part of yourself. Understanding what triggers certain emotions allows you to control how you respond in certain situations. For years, I have felt unseen and abandoned, so when I am left out or if I feel like my presence is not desired, I am heartbroken, and to this day, I have not overcome this feeling of abandonment and rejection. To protect my heart, I find that I have stay away from people so they won’t grow tired of me or learn that I’m really not that interesting after all. For this reason, I am often lonely.
Find you some people who will show you love when you feel you are the most unlovable. Trust me, this has proven difficult for me, for I have found that most people really do lack the capacity and the compassion to see you and not the many mistakes you have made.
And finally, when you find that “The World really is too much” for you, steal away. Take some time to be introspective, reflective, and to be oh so gentle with yourself. Find a way to forgive yourself for the times you kept loving someone who didn’t love you back. Why? Because now you understand that they couldn’t. Yes, be gentle with that girl because she didn’t possess the knowledge and the courage then that you possess now. Remember to take all the time you need to love yourself so that when you are ready to re-emerge, you can continue to spread your magic. Because whether you know it or not, it’s working.
Does this always work? No! Nothing is foolproof, but what I have discovered is that if I don’t take care of me, no one else will.
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and it is also my reset, rethink, and realign month. I think that it is appropriate for Black people and all minorities to take the time we need to navigate the many minefields that surround us. We are more than worth it.