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13 Ways to Maintain Healthy Boundaries When You Are an Empath and People You Love Are Suffering


As an Empath and someone who is an energy body worker I need to have healthy emotional and mental boundaries. It can be difficult when my codependent family members are having trouble. Obviously I care very much about my family and I don’t want them to suffer. But I also realize that I need to stay separate to stay healthy and thriving! 

I reached out to my wonderful network of wisdom this morning and asked them:

“How do I show my love while still protecting my energy? How do I help when I want to hide?”

Their answers were phenomenal

1*Ask  yourself  “what I CAN do?” (instead of fixating on not knowing what to do)
2*Asking yourself  what you would want someone to do for you
3*Put on your oxygen mask and do some self care– I’ve totally been slacking! 
4*Reach out (send letters) 
5*Ask them to tell you specifically what they need (general pleas for help can feel really overwhelming; specificity feels manageable)
6*Realize you might look rude but understand that youdon’t need to feel ashamed about your boundaries (give space to allow even better help to come in)
7*Help from afar with gift cards and helpful services within your budget– support those who are able to support in person
8*If you do visit, set a specific amount of time (like 30 min)and leave as soon as you start feeling drained 
9*Take them out for lunch 
10*Focus on your reaction to the situation because that’s one thing you can control. 
11*Recognize your strengths (like researching and reaching out to other people for help)
12*Focus on your priorities
13*And ask yourself what a good example of your role would look like so you won’t feel like you’re failing

I am so honored to have such a powerful network of wise women in my life! 

If you have any awesome advice to add let me know in the comments :)

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After the Election: Moving Forward Recovery Plan


My post-election recovery plan 

SNL Kate McKinnon Hallelujiah
1. Refuse to live in fear

Know that God is still in control, there are still good people in the world, and there are still things that we can do to make a difference in the world. Our rights have not been taken, yet. We will fight. And even if they cage us, we will still sing!
2. Refuse to take this out on my fellow human beings 

Consciously love people who have voted for Trump. Recognize that they are getting screwed over, too. We the people are in this together.
3. Continue to be grateful and to enjoy the life I’ve been given 

Write down things that make me happy, speak aloud things I’m thankful for 
4. Stay informed 

Watch my favorite YouTube peeps, read my favorite news sources 
5. Do what I can 

Random acts of kindness, signing petitions, supporting people, standing up for what is right 
6. Stop using Facebook as a self-soother 

Wean myself off, again. It’s so easy to keep scrolling and hitting refresh but there are much healthier ways to use my time. Think of other ways to feel safe. Meditate. Read. Take photos. Clean and organize.
7. Reach out to people I love 

Writing letters, sending personal messages
8. Keep living life

Taking baths, drinking enough water, journaling

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Wordy Wednesday: A Journey

Poem I wrote in November 2008

With eyes shining
You inform me that you are becoming a boat
–please leave a message at the beep–
The bomb shelter has flooded
And we’ve decided to paint our lips with
Strawberries
Your skin is a language I find trembling
(My tongue stutters in my mouth)
You are my thanksgiving in 8 words-
A treasure beneath the window pane-
A cracking
Becoming an oasis in the desert of
Desire
The water in my solar system
The touch of heat and the the spark of
Fire in the magnifying mirror
With burning leaves and
Thunder
Direct sunlight and the moon
It’s winter and I love you.

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Throw Back Thursday: Just Fine

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Oh, younger version of myself, you make my heart hurt!!

I wrote this poem 8 years ago.
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November 20th, 2008

When you can’t say how you feel
Or why you feel the way you feel
Because you don’t know how you feel
Does that make you numb?

Does a lack of definition mean you’ve ceased to exist?

Are you simply floating away bumping into people you used to know who are no longer the people you used to know?

Are you continuing your conversations with the bricks in an uncaring wall?

When people ask you how you are then just want validation of their own existence, they want those 5 little words, “fine, thanks, how are you?” the way they want pre-shrunk cotton on their beds and trash day to always come on Thursdays.

When he asks you and he really wants to know
You stop thinking
The world becomes clearer and your inner self hides
You focus on the lighting in the room, the way your toes can feel the sheets, wrinkling under your feet
Your emotions become color blotches like in a color blind test– is that an “8”? Or the word “orange”?

Muddled, your brain frustrates your mouth
You feel like a box of oranges, like a cold glass bottle, like sprite left out overnight– it’s lost its bubbles, like a tree with no leaves

You feel powerless, scared, uncertain, crazy, like you might start crying if you stop smiling, like it’s all your fault, like he might stop wanting to touch you, like he might not want you in his room, like he wants something more, like it will all melt, like you’re a little girl, like you hate him when he looks at younger girls, like you love the way he holds you, like it might not be enough, like if you let him get your emotions, you’ll fall apart when he leaves and takes them with him, you’ll feel all these things.

And you want to be a suitcase, you want to be a kiss, you want to be the way he feels when he opens a new book and smells the paper, you are afraid to be extraneous, you’re afraid of water in movies, afraid of the end of the world, of suffocation, afraid of the feeling you get when things become comfortable and unspoken instead of when things are passionate and words are poured like honey all over the body of the beloved; you are afraid of the time when touching ceases and people get left alone in dark rooms and move to bigger beds so they can say this side is mine, you stay over there when they used to wake up sweaty and tangled and you are afraid of not being wanted.

You’re afraid that he gets up in the middle of the night because there’s something better out there for him and he’s still searching for it, you’re afraid that you don’t know how to become someone worth sticking around for.

You feel broken and invisible and like a favorite pair of pants that’s getting too small.

Opening your mouth in answer, you smile and say,
Nothing. I’m fine.

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Stability and Safety

My yoga teacher, Melissa West, was discussing how stability and safety allow your heart to open. Isn’t that beautiful?!
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Safety is trusting. Knowing you’ll be held and accepted every time. Respecting boundaries. Communication. Warmth. Strength. Holding hands. Being there. Texting just to say “I love you”. Listening. Drawing near. Sleeping softly. Closeness. Holding space. Understanding and not judging. Love.

Safety feels unbreakable, calm, soothing, peaceful, comfortable, controlled, cradled, hushed, being quieted, real, clear, unambiguous, protected, undamaged.

Safety comes from never-tiring love, long-term reliability, confirmation, certainty, trustworthiness, reassurance, honored words, &being cared for.
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Stability is balance. Strength. Knowing who you are. Stretching up and out. Trusting the ground. Having a foundation. Being unshakable. Being shaken but not falling down. (Strength is falling down and getting back up) Solidness. Ability to be pushed without leaving or going away. Resilience. Remaining self-assured. Being your own person. Not melting into another person or into a puddle. Being proactive instead of passive. Having boundaries. Being sure. Feeling certain.

Stability feels sturdy, steady, poised, confident, resolute, durable, well-founded, grounded, rooted, anchored, unafraid, plucky….

Stability comes from self-control, persistence, loyalty, endurance, being single-minded, undiscouraged, well-established, having conviction, having a lion-heart, & being determined.
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What makes you feel stable and safe?

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Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: Anxiety and Depression. How do you deal when you feel miserable?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this third part, I simply asked:

What do you do when you feel miserable?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

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How do I take care of myself when I feel horrible?
If I’m physically sick, that’s easy.  I have a visual reason others can see for laying around, sleeping, watching TV, etc. 
It’s a different story though, if I’m not feeling good emotionally.  That’s tough.  There is so much pressure to ‘do’ and ‘go’ and ‘be’…it’s hard for me to validate just laying around, sleeping, taking it easy, etc.  I don’t know if that’s because I fear others will think I’m being lazy or if I’m too hard on myself.
After this past winter, I’ve decided that I suffer from S.A.D. to a mild extent.  There’s relief in that, but there’s also that stigma again.  I’m not quite sure how to deal with it or if there is a way to prevent it…guess it will be one of those things I’ll learn.  ☺

-D.K.
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Miserable: cry. I get wrapped in my head and ruminate, making it worse. I pretty much think of everything bad that has every happened and may possibly happen and somehow embrace every wretched feeling.

I haven’t actually been diagnosed as having depression, but the more I look at my daily bouts of crying and frustration, it may be the case.

As a background: I have always been unstoppable, I power through everything like a fucking champ. However, it’s caught up to me, hundreds of fucked up traumas have caught up and crushed me and I have collapsed but have faith I can somehow move forward and hopefully soon.

-Y.R.
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When I feel miserable, it’s generally a sign I need to rest. Sometimes I will sit on the couch, watch TV, and force myself to ignore any of the other “to-do”s. Sometimes I take a bath. Sometimes I go to bed, even if it’s 6:30. If I’m emotionally miserable, I usually write and try to figure out what is triggering it.

-B.V.
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I isolate. I isolate and revert to negative thinking always turned internally. I’m starting to recognize it now. I’ll call someone, I’ll go to the beach, I’ll quick jump in the car and drive to my parents’ house. But if I don’t catch it right from the start, I let that miserable feeling worm its way through my entire life and my eating disorder takes over again

-Daryn

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Honestly, in my darkest moments, as much as it hurts, I find that the best is just to surrender to the tears, the rage and find a safe way to let it all out.  Either by myself or to someone that I won’t hurt in that moment.  I am not scared of the darkness – I know if I allow myself to feel the pain, that eventually it will begin to subside.  We tend to hold onto it as long as we need it for some reason.  When that reason starts to disappear, our grip starts to loosen. 
That is what I have in this moment.  Hope that helps.  Would love to hear what others have to share.  ♥

-Lili
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When I feel miserable, I eat poorly and watch too much TV.
Or shop online.
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with anxiety or depression but I obviously don’t deal with it well since I have stomach issues and headaches.
I’d say I’ve been mildly depressed on and off since having my daughter- the lifestyle change is something I struggle with. I like to be good at everything I do, so I struggle with balance and sometimes feeling like I do nothing well and everything mediocre, which I hate. I have also always required my very own time and space – lots of it – which since having children I don’t have.

-L.M.
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It’s been so eye-opening reading the responses and seeing how so many women are struggling with the same stuff!!
Depression and anxiety can feel so lonely.
Crying can feel so defeating, sometimes like failure.
Our society sees any emotional or mental difficulties as being weakness when actually I think that it might just be part of being HUMAN!!!!

It’s been interesting to see some people list crying as a form of self-care!!

I think it’s so important to let women know they are not alone and that it’s okay to feel sad….

It’s important to remove stigmas so we can transition to a place of helping each other. Giving women permission to connect even in their darkest places could prevent us all from going too deep into that pit where we feel shame and loneliness and disconnect….
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If you’d like to add your story, please feel free. You never know how much it could help someone else.

So much love!

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Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: How do you define “Self-Care”?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this second part, I simply asked:

How do you practice or define “self-care”?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)
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“Self care: often times neglected, most of the time neglected. I think I’m using this interview to ignore real life.
When I have the ability, I do yoga. When I continue to do yoga each day it gets easier and easier.”

-Y.R.

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“I am just now struggling with some depression that comes and goes for me.  My self-care for it involves eating well and frequently because low blood sugar affects my moods.  Getting outside as much as possible.  Exercise.  Remembering to have some fun.  Connecting with people.  Crying.  Getting some TLC from loved ones or from massage therapists.”

-Lili

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“Aside from maintaining good hygiene, I define self-care as taking care of my physical needs in a healthy manner and allowing myself to enjoy ‘wants’ – without going overboard, of course! 

Honestly, I should probably take better care of my mental/emotional needs and wants, too.  Why is that difficult and hard???  …maybe because our society really doesn’t allow us to be emotionally weak. There’s a stigma to that, I think.”

-D.K.
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Self care isn’t really something I practice. At all. Ever. But I’m trying more now. Like before I would sit and watch 3 hours of TV after the girls went to bed and consider that “me time.” Within the last 2 weeks since being diagnosed with Gastritis and a possible ulcer I’m trying to pay more attention to my health via self care. I am walking/running on our new treadmill about 3 times/week and have just bought a book to read for pleasure, after the girls go to bed. I’m trying to be in bed, going to sleep by 10:30 and am trying a low fodmap diet to help with the gastritis. I’m also making an appointment at a naturopathic office to help me figure out what’s going on with my migraines and stomach.

-L.M.
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Self-care: I rarely do! I work out 2x a week minimum and try to eat healthy and sleep at least 7 hours, but that’s about it. I’d like to have more time to truly unwind. I’m reactive instead of proactive. I blame this partly on the fact my massage therapist is now 14 hours away. ;)

-B.V.
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Right now, self-care comes in two forms. For the first form, I’ve found that I have to revert to my most basic needs as a human to practice self-care. Self-care looks like taking 30 minutes to prepare a healthy meal and then sitting down to actually eat it but it also includes taking actual steps to deal with my eating disorder. Seeing a therapist, not working out a couple days a week, eating a scoop of ice cream with my friends…this is all part of the self-care I need right now. Of course, this will change as I make strides in my recovery. But for now, a majority of my self-care is simply trying to love myself enough to keep walking down the path of recovery. The second form is what I call “sea-salt therapy.” I hop in my car, drive to the beach, and let the ocean do the talking. Salty hair is the best kind of self-care.

-Daryn
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Self-care has been something I’ve struggled with a lot, personally. I wrote about my experience and my process here. Check it out if you’re curious. (I also include two links that can really help you feel better immediately.)