How Empaths or HSPs Can Make Peace During Times of Global Suffering

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Though I believe being an empath or HSP (highly sensitive people) is akin to being a superhero, it's a title that comes with a lot of responsibility. Trust me, because I am one. Empaths have the ability to absorb and feel the pain and suffering of another which means we also have the power to either enable or disable global suffering, depending on how good we are at diffusing our own suffering.  But it's important to remember that commiserating is not the same thing as healing.

Unless empaths make an active effort to empower the sufferer and inspire healing, they'll just end up being an enabler and perpetuator. Before empaths worry about how to disable another's suffering, however, they must first commit to disabling their own.

Empaths have it rough. They are often affected by global tragedy in the safety and comfort of their own homes. It can be hard for empaths to enjoy the things that other people may find enjoyable such as attending live concerts, having a drink with friends at a bar, dancing the night away in a club, or being absolutely anywhere there is a large crowd. Why? Because they absorb all of the suffering around them, specifically sadness, loneliness, and desperation, which permeates their inner peace and leaves them feeling weighed down.

When you are an empath or HSP, it can seem selfish or arrogant to attempt to relieve your own suffering first when there are so many others who are so much worse off. Or maybe you've never considered it suffering since all your basic needs are met; food, water, shelter and supportive friends, thus, you continue to put yourself in situations that push your limits, drain you, or deplete your energy. Empaths or HSPs are often drawn to emotionally draining jobs such as therapists, counselors or HR managers. When they go home, they take the suffering of their clients home.

Therefore, acts that may seem selfish to others, are survival tactics for the empath or HSP. Empaths have the ability to make someone else’s situation better (or worse) depending on how they handle their own suffering. If you're an empath or HSP and feel overwhelmed by all the suffering around you, instead of attempting to disable another's suffering, heal yourself first. Heal yourself first, before you get to work healing others. Teach others how to heal themselves through example. Become a suffering disabler instead of a suffering enabler.

How empaths or HSPs can make peace and encourage positive change during times of suffering

Though you may not have experienced some of the tragedies you read about in the newspaper firsthand, doesn’t mean your pain is any less significant. As a healer, an empath, or someone who has committed himself to living a life in light, you must repeatedly carve out space to mediate and practice self-work. It’s the only way to make peace in times of suffering.  Think of meditating like putting up a peaceful forcefield around you. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the numerous amount of tragedies happening around the globe, and therefore chaining yourself to the suffering, you are making space for light to come to you in the form of answers, action, and awareness. 

If you don’t know what to do with the latest tragic headline, seek emotional shelter. Meditate until you feel awake again. 

Our brains are not meant to process all the suffering in the world, natural disasters, school shootings, civil wars, genocides. It's not uncommon for empaths to sit with the news and cry real tears. You can feel the sadness in your bones. Maybe you call a friend and commiserate together. Perhaps a particular cause speaks to you over others so you focus your attention on this tragedy. Maybe you become a Facebook activist. But the only thing this seems to do is exacerbate your internal suffering. It does nothing to actually heal those that are suffering firsthand. You end up prolonging the mass suffering. 

Instead of feeling overwhelmed, make space for light to come to you. Once you’ve made space, the answers will reveal themselves to you and you will have a clear path, in the form of positive action, of what you need to do. If you continue to cloud your brain with the negativity and suffering of the world, you are going to become a permanent resident of that state. You’ll also inadvertently be contributing to the perpetuation of global suffering. 

I encourage you to put in the self-work and meditate, clearing your mind and own suffering first. You’ll learn how to deal with it and acknowledge it for what it is. If you don’t do this first, you’ll be doing a disservice to yourself and those you are trying to help. 

Be a healer, one who empowers, a supporter, and a beam of light -- not just a commiserator.

Empaths can really feel the pain of another. While this superpower enables you to connect with those in pain it also guarantees that both of you will continue to suffer if you don't actively disable your internal suffering. Better to continuously heal yourself through self-work and meditation than perpetuate global suffering through commiseration.

 
 

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Nicole Paulus is a Berlin based bozo from the States. When she’s not running her own digital marketing company Nico New Media, she's drowning her der, das, die sorrows with some dark, fair trade chocolate. You can read about her adventures on her blog.