Today I was thinking about the concept of empathy. It is becoming a popular word and overall concept to help people understand that some people, including myself, can feel what others are feeling or take on the feeling of others intentionally or not. I really like the book The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff, MD as it describes exactly what an Empath is and self care strategies to bring balance to your life.
The main problem I see is that without boundaries, empathic people become overwhelmed with the emotions and feeling of others.
I pulled two plant essence cards to help me dive deeper into understanding healthy boundaries regarding empathy. I drew Parry’s Bellflower and Wood Betony.
Parry’s Bellflower reminds me of a no nonsense friend who tells it like it is. Basically it says, “Other people’s issues are none of your business. Trust that everyone is having the experience that they are wanting.” It helps heal patterns of unhealthy empathy where you take on others thoughts and emotions to help them or to help you understand them/the world better. Unfortunately you are left with other people’s stuff inside your body. Not a good situation.
“See that all are responsible for themselves. At some level, the perfect level for each person’s experience, they are awake and having the experience they wanted. Honor each person by seeing their beingness and know it is enough.”Parry’s Bellflower Honoring the Wisdom In Nature Messages From the Plant Kingdom
The second card I pulled is Wood Betony. Wood Betony is all about celebrating life and going with the flow. Understanding there will be hard times and fun times all wrapped up in the experience of life, it asks you to go with the flow and not be so serious. It reminds me of a friend who makes a party anywhere they go, pausing for a moment of sadness and then getting right back to the party. It’s not that they do not care. They just do not get stuck in the drama of life, theirs or others.
“All is life. All is right. Become like the willow, owing in the breeze. Dance when it is windy. Rest when it is right. Listen to your own rhythms. Dance in the light. Grieve for a moment. It will be all right. Starlight will bless you. You will be all right.”Wood Betony Honoring the Wisdom In Nature Messages From the Plant Kingdom
The two of them together give the perfect balance needed for healthy empathy.
Letting people have their issues without taking them on personally.
Not needing to act as a sponge for the world or relationally for the benefit of others or to keep the peace.
For God’s sake, find the fun and flow in life when you honor your own feelings and let go of the feelings of others.