Looking back on my childhood I remember the feeling of being scared of everything. The normal things people tend to be scared of like clowns, scary films, rollercoasters etc. Add onto my list, men, loud noises, busy places, new experiences like swimming and starting school and they’re just a few things that I can remember. As an adult I still have a lot of worry especially when it comes to new experiences and have spent the last 2 years trying to work through these to understand why these fears started, what I can do now to break through them. The difficult thing? I have no recollection on how some of these fears came about, none!
I have more memories of my childhood being super fun, engaging and loving. Days out with family and friends, holidays camping and trips to the beach. When I try and think of anything negative from very early days, 4-7 years old, I really struggle to find anything that stands out to me as being the trigger for my fears or having any significant impact on how now I have a lot of worry as an adult. Until I learned about the term empath! Could this explain the reason why I avoid busy places, could the drained feeling after being to a busy place and meeting new people be the reason I try and stop myself from going there in the first place. Has my mind made up this is a “fear”, and this is why I don’t want to or can’t go?
We are unique amazing individuals. Not that I like labels or think labels are needed, I mean we should just be us authentically and not need to explain certain aspects of our lives, but that’s a whole other topic. But sometimes having a label makes it easier for us to understand and connect with others, which in my case its really has helped.
An empath is a person who is highly sensitive to emotions. Not only can they sense the emotions of those around them, but they also absorb these emotions. As well as feeling emotions and being sensitive to this, other traits include being intuitive, find nature comforting, find you’re the listener in the group, the person that everyone comes to for help/advice and best of all empaths are super loving, kind, open and want to realty help people. To sum this up the dictionary’s description is as follows- a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual. The downside to all of this is that absorbing everyone’s emotions and feeling overwhelmed in certain situations can be extremely draining and exhausting. Of course, there are many of these traits that people may have but not necessarily be an empath.
Trying new things
I was reminded by my dad the other week when I was talking about all this new information I’d been learning about of a time when I was maybe only 5 or 6 and he was going through a phase of listening to Enya, little me comes running down the stairs in tears asking them to turn it off because it’s too sad. Probably should have known back then really, eh? My mum always said she never knew whether to push me to do new things or whether to stand back and let me try things as I wanted. As a parent now going through the exact same thing with Lexi, it’s an impossible choice. Do I encourage her to try all these new things that seem to “frighten” her, or will that scare her even more, or do I stand back and let her try things as and when she wants, or will that stop her pushing herself and she’ll end up more scared of new things because she ends up not trying anything? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way and what may or may not have worked for me as a child may or may not work for Lexi. It’s trial and error for me just now and I think we’re starting to find a good balance. Encouragement and lots of positive words for Lexi seems to work. If she gets upset but still wants to try, then we try the new things together with lots of tears and then lots of cuddles and positive encouragement at the end. If she tries something new and can only complete half of it before choosing to stop, then we focus on what she CAN do and HAS done. We keep trying over and over if she wishes, even if she’s still in full on tears, because Lexi is driving it, she is choosing what she wants to try and not try. I get a few funny looks at places like the park when she’s climbing in full on tears, but it works for us. She challenges herself, works through her emotions and in most cases celebrates her successes. Maybe I should be validating her worries when she’s saying she’s scared, I never invalidate those feelings by saying “you’re not scared” or “there’s nothing to be scared of”, I’d be the biggest hypocrite if I did that, but my hope is that by still showing her love and encouragement she will focus on what she can do and although there’s upset and tears, she won’t be creating a connection to that feeling with trying new things. Instead, her connection will be trying new things and celebrating successes. I feel as though a lot of my "fears" and "worries" are made up as I've built this idea in my head that trying something new must equal fear. It's been a bit of running joke as an adult that I was the kid who was scared of everything, and most of the time I giggle about it, but I now wonder if it still has me building this belief that I am scared of everything because "I have always been this way". Ok, well there's something new. Breaking down my own negative beliefs right in front of you all. What an epiphany that was!!
Well it's safe to say this has ended up a very different post to what I had originally started or anticipated to write it as, but we just go with it. I will probably come back for another post which will be more informative to being an empath and ways I’ve found that has worked and not worked for me.
Laura & Lexi xx