We are antennae for waves of fierce emotions

I was having a quietly pleasurable researching, big-picture information-integrating kind of week…

Diving into the role mirror neurons play in empathy:

Did you know HSP’s have more mirror neurons than average? No wonder empathy is one of our superpowers. Makes sense they’re also our kryptonite…

Exploring articles on aging and the impact of ageism on our development as women:

Did you know by age 4 – 6 we’ve already absorbed familial and cultural biases toward older people and aging? And…those biases turn into self-fulfilling beliefs that impact our physical and mental well being in later life?

“Even when I distance myself from reading about events, I can still FEEL the shock and grief from countless people humming in my nervous system.”
Tracie Nichols

Into this happy sea of HSP researching, learning, and deep processing dropped the news that two people – people close to my age who were thought to be successful and happy – had chosen to end their lives.

I reacted in layers…

  1. I was triggered. I’ve walked with despair to edge of “what’s the point?” a few times.
  2. I wanted to help…to ease the intractable waves of pain coming at me from the world…
  3. I felt helpless.
  4. I realized I was becoming entangled with and consumed by emotions that were not mine, but other people’s reactions.
  5. I stepped back and began managing the empathy overload from the tsunami of news reports, random conversations (in-person and virtual), and well-meaning (and needed) reminders about suicide hotlines and reaching out and generally raising our awareness of the people around us….
  6. I was especially tender with myself, with my greater than usual fatigue, with my greater than usual need for solitude.

This is the level of self-awareness needed when we’re living our gift of body-wisdom and/or high sensitivity.

We are antennae for waves of fierce emotions released by swaths of people. It increases our understanding of others. Deepens our compassion. Allows us to see social and cultural patterns and possibilities even before they’re fully developed.

It can drown us if we aren’t exquisitely, radically present to ourselves, and clear about our intrinsic worth.

There is, of course, lots more to explore here, but those are seeds for another article.

Your thoughts about my thoughts are always, always welcome. Please leave a comment, or connect with me via my contact page.


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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