I have always known I am an artist. But it is only of recent that I learned that I am also an empath. I have always been an empath. I just didn’t know the name of it. I just was told I was way too sensitive and needed tougher skin. Upon reading up more on empaths I see the direct correlation between artists and empaths now.
Artists. Man, are we weird. Most of us float to the beat of a different drummer and that drummer changes beats almost every day. We are known as sensitive and emotional. Dreamers. Passionate. Fierce. Some of us are quiet introverts. Others love to be the life of the party or center of the stage. Some of us like both, depending on the day. Some of us glow with our inside fire. Some of us let the fire simmer within. Everyone is an artist but few have been given permission to find or release that artistry. Many were left to see their creativity die with childhood.
I was given permission to be an artist. And thank God because that is who I am. Everything I do is a measure of my creative being, right down to my fitness routines. My Pilates, Yoga, Barre are not just about fitness to me. They are a dance. Aerial is a way for me to get back to my inner child ways of climbing and swinging from things and feeling free with no cares in the world! Except falling. That one doesn’t escape my mind! Singing…It’s the way I truly express what’s in my heart and soul. It’s what fills me and helps me feel a little more complete. Dancing. Another way I feel free and allow my inner child to release (we all have one. I just don’t stifle mine as much as many adults!) I am an artist in everything I do. I see the world through an artist’s eyes…pure and new. Everywhere I go, every new thing I try is incredibly exciting to me! And like many children, I want to try everything and anything! This is where I feel most child-like. I get bored easily. Every day I want a new experience. If I’ve already done something, that’s cool, but what’s next?!?!?
I am an artist through and through. Yes, some of those things make me an athlete as well, but I am not the type of athlete that will be out on the field competing against others. I’d definitely be willing to try, as I’ll try anything at least once, and I live in the moment. So, if that moment gives me a bat, you bet I’ll swing it. Can’t guarantee I’ll hit anything, but I’ll sure as hell try! But passion wise? That’s not the best way for me to release my inner child and artist. It might be because sports bring back pain for me in the fact that I have asthma and wasn’t aware until later in life. My lungs felt like they were on fire when coaches and PE teachers made us run. Later I learned the magic of inhalers. But, for me it’s just not my release. And that’s ok.
Someone recently said they were surprised by that because I am so competitive. Yes. Yes, I can be. But I’m also an empath. And these days, I much prefer places where I can feel positive energy filling me, not taking it away through competition. With my exercise routines, we all feed off one another. You do not compete, esp. in Yoga and Pilates. The competition is more against yourself than another. And you learn and become inspired by the person next to you in a beautiful handstand or the perfect bridge. Even in barre, I push through, knowing I am strong enough and hoping I can encourage the new person next to me that it never gets easier, but your body can reach the next level. Now, if you give me a microphone…watch the competitive gal come right out!
Empaths are those of us that don’t just see suffering or joy. We actually feel it in every bone of our body. That’s why we are truly so excited when we see people succeed and reach their dreams and goals! It is legit excitement! Because we feel it! And feeling good is awesome! Empaths easily take on the energy of others, not meaning to. Some of us even take on the pain of animals. It actually physically hurts our hearts and exhausts us at times. I provided a chart on common traits of an empath and they are spot on. I can feel someone’s energy in a few seconds and if it’s not good, I dread having to face them the next time. Often, I won’t. I’ll figure out how to avoid them.
Compassion is a part of being an empath. Since we feel everyone else’s pain and sadness, you bet we want to help fix the person. Usually we end up becoming sick because we cannot fix the person that doesn’t want help. And because we want to love and nurture everyone around us, often we are magnets to those who are broken. We are constantly working at making the world a better place and often feel frustrated by the lack of what only one person can do. Therefore, we take on more and more areas of volunteering, giving back, getting involved in the community, etc. Until we run out of air and energy. Then we collapse and retreat into our own world.
When I was about five my mom introduced the movie Benji the Hunted to me. I cried, and cried and cried. I couldn’t handle it. The movie literally hurt me. Never again did we watch Benji. Bambi even hurt to the point I couldn’t watch it again. I know to ask in advance now if an animal dies in a movie before I watch it. Even knowing it’s not really dying, I still can’t even have the thought. It really affects me. Imagine that times a million when I receive the kill lists from shelters. But I must continue fighting for these animals until there is no need for my voice.
Not every empath is an artist nor is every artist an empath. Though I do feel from stories, they are highly, highly connected. Artists are incredibly sensitive and definitely feel things deeper than many. I just googled, artist and empaths. It’s amazing the number of articles that come up. Which also explains the amount of depression that many go through at one point in their careers or another.
Empath’s and artists are hard to deal with, I will not deny it. Now combine the two…We are very hard to figure out. Even if you think you are sneaky about it! I have been told repeatedly two things about me…that one, I am a constant mystery. Two, I’m never boring. Personally, I take both of those as a compliment. But I know for some who are looking for a calm ocean all the time, I am tough. But I love the ocean in all states! I think it’s gorgeous and mysterious in all its beauty. I’d take its splendor every day as opposed to a steady and calm lake! Some days I am a ball of energy, a force to be reckoned with. I am go, go, go, ready to take on any challenge ahead of me and add new ones! The next I am asking for a little alone time. A bit of quiet just to sit and reflect. I often forget to explain this in my relationships and it leads to the “Are you mad at me? Why don’t you want to spend time with me? Why are you ignoring me?” I assure you, it’s not any of those. I am just completely drained from my day that I need a few minutes to decompress. It doesn’t take me long. But that’s what I have learned I need.
I think understanding this about myself has lead me to greater health. I now know when to say I just can’t anymore. I know when to retreat. I know when to say, I need a day. Now I can feel when my anxiety and depression are getting ready to hit. I go full force for a good week and then BAM! I am down. I have learned what I need. When my waves are the highest and hitting the sand at full force I know it’s probably best to not schedule anything at all the next day. I know I will be of no use if I do schedule anything. I know I will probably get hurt if I try to do something like exercise, because I will not be paying attention to my body. So, I usually hibernate, allow the tide to stay low for the day, knowing that I will be back to normal the next day and will be of greater use to myself and to everyone.
I have just recently begun to meditate. My meditation group asks me to meditate 20 minutes in the morning (pretty easy) and then 20 minutes in the afternoon (oof! Ridiculous! Especially during high tide!). But I have been doing it. And it’s really made a difference. I have been in a super high stress situation though and I can tell you it has helped. So, I highly recommend learning it. It’s not easy and like every habit takes time to develop. I was hit with the idea of this blog while I was meditating and here we are.
I think knowing who we are is one of the most important things to becoming the healthiest version of ourselves. That is why I wrote this. This journey, this discovery has helped me to better understand myself and my own needs. Instead of being upset with myself because I am burnt out and need a day off, I relax. I let myself recover, recuperate and reset. I do not beat myself up anymore because I feel like I’ve lost a day. I love on my dogs, usually we lay in bed watching Netflix movies from my laptop (I don’t allow a TV in my room-reasons later!), journaling, wasting time on Facebook and basically doing whatever I want to do. I don’t care that I haven’t showered. I don’t care that the house is a mess. I don’t care that I didn’t work out. Because I am recharging. And there is nothing more important than that. If the universe allows the biggest body of water in the world a chance to rest and recharge, doesn’t it want the same from you and me? Take some time today for you. Learn what you need, embrace it and listen to it. The universe always knows best. And mostly, love yourself through it all.