The Weight of the World

Anybody else out there feeling completely ragged? I don’t know about y’all, but 2022 has taken a lot out of me. But I’m deciding that it’s time for me to take things back.

Last year, I was required to take a personality assessment at work called Clifton StrengthsFinder. While I don’t mind taking these assessments, I never really put much stock into them even when they are accurate. However, my company placed a major emphasis on this specific assessment which forced me to memorize and dissect my top five strengths (in order): Empathy, Discipline, Consistency, Individualization, Relator. One of the trending jokes last year was the “I’m an empath” phrase. I still find it absolutely hilarious, but as I’ve spent more time on my Clifton results and talked more about it in therapy, I’ve learned that I actually am an empath.

I’ve always been described as “sensitive,” having a hard time being playfully teased or with throwaway comments that are categorized as “jokes” even if these comments aren’t directed at me. I internalize everything. When I hear upsetting and/or offensive information, it plays on repeat in my head and, if I let it get to me enough, it affects me physically. It causes me debilitating anxiety. I lose sleep, my appetite, and sometimes the ability to focus when I think about the wellbeing of others. It maximizes tenfold when it comes to people I know and love. Though my empathetic nature keeps me in check about a lot of things, it ultimately comes at a great cost to me.

I had a realization that I’ve spent the majority of this year emotionally supporting others. I have consciously put my feelings to the side to show up for the people in my life. If I had a dollar for every time I said, “I’d want someone to do that for me” to myself this year, I could probably pay off my credit card. People have told me before I should have become a therapist which is a great compliment; however, it also demonstrates how much time I spend analyzing the lives of others to better understand them and their thought processes on top of my own. To be misunderstood is one of the worst feelings, so I never want the people around me to feel like no one is in their corner, even if I don’t ace the delivery every time. But as things currently stand, my emotional bandwidth is officially maxed out. To put it frankly: I am exhausted.

As I close out the year and prepare for the next, I am giving myself a mental break until further notice. When I did sober October, I was hoping that would “snap me back into it,” but so many things happened in October that brought me to this point. I love being a good partner, friend, daughter, sister, etc. by showing up for people when they need it most. But I only have one body, one brain, one life. I’m tired of being sickly anxious from worrying about everything under the sun. I’m tired of shouldering everyone else’s stress, guilt, anger, and so on. I’m ready to laugh more. I’m ready to be more present with my boyfriend, family, and friends. I’m ready to actually take care of myself when I say I’m going to and not feel guilty for putting myself before others at times.

I truly feel everyone deserves to be happy and in order to believe it for myself, I need to create action. I’ll never stop caring or become a selfish person because being empathetic is my true nature. But I have to accept that I simply cannot carry the weight of the world. Let me know in the comments some ways you are trying to create change in your life to better your experiences!

xx, AE

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