As an empath and highly sensitive person, it has been my nature to lean towards helping others. My ability to sense pain, sadness and discomfort within others would often thrust me head-first into the fire ready to fight any danger or threat that was the source of their suffering. In my genuine and well-meaning desire to help others I would do anything and everything within my power to “help.”
It wasn’t until well into my adulthood that I would learn one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn. During the summer of 2021, I confided to a near and dear friend about an incredibly challenging and painful experience I was facing in my life. She listened attentively and empathetically as I shared my frustrations and desires to “change, fix and alter” the course of events by influencing the very obviously “wrong, poor and dangerous” choices of those involved. After nearly half an hour into this compassionate conversation, she said:
These words LITERALLY shook me to my core! It made me question so much about myself and the ways in which I was living my life. The effects of her words lasted long after our conversation. I could feel everything within me shaking and waking up with the realization that in my desire to spare others of their suffering I had unknowingly been taking on and adopting the burdens, challenges and struggles of others as my own. In my well-meaning intentions to help others, I had been hurting myself in more ways that I could have imagined.
Health: I was living in a constant state of exhaustion, overwhelm and overstimulation suffering from adrenal fatigue, chronic pain and illness.
Happiness: Life felt like an endless battle, and I struggled to find any glimpse of joy in my life that I could celebrate or enjoy.
Relationships: All of the fighting to “get others to see” things a certain way and to redirect their choices, behaviors and actions took a toll on my connection and the quality of my relationships with others. Additionally, my exhaustion, frustration and overwhelm often left me feeling irritable and impatient with others. I became withdrawn and detached and would go to great lengths to avoid social interactions with others.
Professional/Financial: My preoccupation with the challenges of others distracted me from my work and numbed me of the desire to create and produce. I would frequently use the struggles of others as a perceived valid excuse to get in the way of my work and was one of my greatest saboteurs.
It became clear to me that the costs of “playing superhero” to everyone else far outweighed the benefits and gains. While this is something I’m still working on every day of my life I am forever grateful to my incredible friend for her honesty and for planting this life-changing seed in the garden of my my mind. To this day, I continue to lean into her for the support, reminding and reassurance she compassionately and unconditionally offers me.
I share this message and life-altering experience to everyone who struggles to separate and differentiate “concern from control” and who feel called to purge the unnecessary weight and burden that comes from carrying everything that isn’t yours. Consider the following:
Who in your life do you find yourself “swooping in” to save?
What have you been carrying that isn’t yours?
How does playing the role of rescuer effect your life? What are the costs, and do they outweigh the gains?
We all need help and support to help us as we journey to rise to the highest version of all that we are meant to be and live our greatest lives. Join me and an incredible group of women in Rising Together where you experience the genuine connection and sense of belonging you’ve always wanted within our inspiring and supportive soul sister community.
The information contained on this website and accompanying blog and membership area (collectively “website”), including ideas, suggestions, techniques, videos, products and other materials is educational in nature, is provided only as general information, and is not medical or psychological advice. You understand there is a distinction between “healing” as referenced on this website and the practice of medicine, psychology, or any other licensed health care practice. While Debbie O’Keefe has been trained and has experience in a variety of emotional freedom techniques, she is not a physician, psychologist, psychotherapist, or other licensed health care provider. Debbie O'Keefe does not diagnose, nor does she make any claim to "cure" or "treat" any physical or mental health conditions. None of the services provided by Debra O'Keefe of Life Path Consulting are meant to replace any conventional medical or mental health treatment or therapies including prescription medication, counseling, and other conventional therapies. Results will vary and are completely dependent upon the level of commitment and effort of the client. The services she offers are not licensed by the State of New York or elsewhere in the United States.
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