I used to think that empathy came naturally to people... but everything changed when billions of people starting hurting en masse in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I had been working for myself in the role of 'Intuitive Healer and Kinesiologist' for five years which meant I helped alot of people during this time, having conducted over 2,000 sessions. I had also generally been the one offering empathy to family, friends and colleagues as needed, previously working in managerial and team leadership positions in the financial services industry.
However during this challenging year,I was the one that really needed empathy!
We are extremely lucky here in Perth, Australia with lots of freedom and minimal infection rate, however I was still facing all of these challenges at once:
indefinite separation from my fiancé in Greece and close family in Melbourne
close family member diagnosed with cancer
two friends, and more connections, all committed suicide
increase in clients who were anxious, depressed and suicidal
old health issues like anxiety resurfaced
near death experience for my dear kitty
loss of safety at home as relationships with stressed neighbours deteriorated
loss of direction in business
That is a lot to handle in one year!
Because all of these things happened at once, I felt overwhelmed and it was really hard for me to clearly express to people what was going on. It started showing up in that I would take weeks to respond to texts or emails from people. Their enquiry was just added to the long list of things that required my energy!
I craved understanding and empathy from people but wasn't sure how much to disclose.
Everyone was going through challenging times soit's not like I'm any different right?
And for so much of my life I have been in the role of 'healer' and helping other people. This was a new, vulnerable place to be in and I felt confused about what to do.
I was burnt out.I felt lonely and beaten and found myself thinking "what's the point?"quite often.
I didn't have the energy or capacity to deal with all of these powerful emotions that others were experiencing, on top of my own challenges. Subsequently I reduced my workload and dived deep into self-care.
What got me through, was having some key people in my life offering me empathy and understanding on a regular basis. These key people had enough self-awareness that they could put their own troubles aside, and truly be there for me.
The gift of empathy, something that I previously taken for granted, was having a profound effect on my life. And one of these people, my partner, was on the other side of the world. So empathy via phone or video call was just as powerful!
My heart started to heal and I developed emotional resilience to the challenges that I was facing. Once I had taken the time to process my emotions (which also involved a lot of self-empathy) my heart started to re-open and I could feel the pain and suffering of others again.
I could be there for others. I began to take more clients on and continued working on my compassionate communication training program which I had begun earlier in the year and had lost my way.
My heart truly ached for those that were struggling to process the huge changes of 2020 and their feelings of loneliness and perception of separation and isolation. I was worried about the increase in the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide that I was seeing around me. I felt terribly sad to see so many people feeling lost, confused and disheartened, like they had no other choice other than to end their lives.
I knew, that if we could spread the power of empathy around our communities, many of these issues would be resolved.
This, I realised is mylife purpose and I'm on a mission to get this done! If you'd like to read more about how I plan to do that, please read more here.
Thank you for reading and please reach out to me if you resonated with my story.
Remember - you are never alone - connection is only one empathetic person away.