Empathy: Writing a New Narrative

Empathy is very interesting because it self-sabotages us sometimes. I remember once in elementary school, the teacher selected me to read a passage from a textbook out loud. Everyone else in the class sighed loudly in disappointment when the teacher called my name.

She said something like, “I want Carla to read because she annunciates and projects.” Even though I was thrilled that she chose me, I felt bad that everyone else was disappointed. So I intentionally stumbled through the passage.

Why did I do that? Why did I think that failing in something I was selected to do would make those who weren’t chosen feel better? Why did I minimize my skill? Why did I want to make my teacher regret calling on me? 

My reluctance to lead continued through childhood and into adulthood. I constantly shied away from the spotlight, got embarrassed when I was recognized for something positive, and gave credit to others for most of my successes. I put myself down and felt the need to apologize for everything.

My low self-esteem made me take criticism too personally too. I valued achievement, but didn’t want anybody to notice. I wanted to be the best, but I didn’t want anyone to recognize me for it. Poor little rich girl!

When I found out that I was an empath about four years ago, it made everything make sense. Wanting to help and inspire others without having the confidence necessary to do so seems to be the empath’s universal mantra. But that needs to stop right now. We need to write some new rules. We need to tell a different story.

How can you be a leader when everyone else’s feelings affect you? When you hide because you’re afraid of jealousy and cower because you think you’re weak? How can you help others who are on the same journey when you consistently bow out of responsibilities and shun the desire to win?

You Can’t Inspire Others When You’re Hiding

First let’s address the fear of jealousy. At some point in your life, someone made you feel that if you shine, others can’t shine. If you win, others will lose. Your success means someone else’s failure, and so on into infinity.

These are all lies. This is an abundant universe and there’s more than enough of everything to go around for everyone.

What’s funny about this for me is that I’m more intrigued with “arrogant” people’s successes, than I am with “humble” people’s success. I respect rappers and NBA players. I love watching the rags to riches entrepreneurial stories of industry tycoons.

Now technically as an empath, I shouldn’t be drawn to these kind of people right? So what’s with the cognitive dissonance? I think it’s my soul’s way of telling me to stop kidding myself and embrace both aspects of my nature.

Kendrick Lamar said “I can’t fake humble just ‘cuz your ass is insecure” and he’s right. If we are so worried about people being jealous of our leadership gifts that we hide them under a bushel, how can we be the light?

Jealousy isn’t real anyway. If you’re jealous of someone, it just means that you don’t have all the facts. If someone is “shining,” it’s because they paid for it in one way or another; and your jealousy denotes that you think they got it for free.

So let people think what they want, take your rightful place, and hold your position. You can’t inspire others when you’re hiding.

You Can’t Enjoy Your Empathy When You See it as Weakness

Next let’s address the sensitivity issue. Empathy is not necessarily sensitivity. Empathy is a gift, and sensitivity is a wound.

When I was a child I was wounded, so yes, I was sensitive then. But I am an adult now and I’m continually healing those wounds. So even though I still dislike horror movies and the sight of blood, there’s no need to identify as sensitive anymore.

Empaths as a collective are not “poor little rich girls and boys.” That narrative is old and tired. We did the work. We paid our dues. We are all grown up now and we can handle grown-up responsibilities.

Sensing energy is a gift. Tapping into emotions is a gift.  Your empathy will shield you and fight for you. Your empathy is a tool and a weapon. While sensitivity is wounded (and misunderstood) kindness, empathy is empowered kindness.

People rejected and hurt you in the past because they thought you were weak, but little did they know, you were stronger than they could ever imagine.

You’ve worked really hard to overcome, and now you are a warrior and a worthy ruler. Besides, isn’t it better to be kind and brave than it is to be kind and afraid?

You Can’t Show Others the Way if You Won’t Walk Through the Door

And now for the self-sabotage issue: we seriously need to stop doing this. It’s turning us into shells of ourselves. How does failing intentionally help you or anyone else?

What if Gaia decided not to seed humanity because she was afraid to take on the responsibility? What if a glimpse into her future scared her so much that she decided to call the whole thing off, and have a mediocre planetary experience instead of the challenging, but rich and rewarding one she has now?

When you forgo leadership responsibilities because you’re afraid that you’ll collapse under the weight of your greatness, you forget that you have help. You forget that whenever a leader arises, others (in physical and in spirit) will come along and support that leader in their vision. You have help and you’ll be okay.

You are deeply loved and admired by Source, Gaia, your higher self, the angels, and many more. They all appreciate the work that you’re doing; so stop telling the victim-hood narrative and start telling a story of empowerment.

You trained for this very important marathon and now it’s time to run it. And not only will you finish this race, you’re going to win. But…

You Can’t Win if You Don’t Compete

Empathy does not have to neutralize your competitive spirit, and this brings me to my final point. What do we fear the most as empaths when it comes to leadership? You guessed it: the criticism. Nobody likes criticism, but empaths convince themselves that they really can’t handle it.

We think that we will die from a negative comment or gossip. We think we’ll be thrown into a hole that we’ll never be able to climb back out of. And worst of all, we think that if we pursue our goals, we’ll never prove the critics wrong. Wrong!

Pay attention to the signs. If people have told you your whole life that you are a leader, that’s a clue. It’s your higher self’s way of trying to get you to realize that you are equipped to be on the front lines. When you wrote this life you gave yourself everything you needed to overcome critics and failures.

Has anyone ever told you that you were right about something all along, and they couldn’t see it at the time you said it? That’s another clue! It means that you can trust your intuition because the universe is supporting you. You are ahead of your time and Spirit always has your back.

You don’t have to let your passions torture you, because you put them there to motivate you. You’re more competitive than you think. Your desire to achieve in your area of expertise is not only a talent, but a will to win.

You don’t have to be aggressive to compete. And you don’t have to cheat to win. But it’s about time that all of us admit that we really do want to win.

P.S. Watch this Kevin Durant commercial. It pretty much speaks for itself.

Author: Carla Calloway

Aries. Introvert. Creative writer. Food enthusiast.