Spark Inspiration


Ever since I was a child, I have been particularly attuned to others’ emotions. Growing up, my parents’ emotions, particularly my mother’s, loomed so large in my experience that they often eclipsed my own experience. Over time, I became an expert in reading other people’s emotions. This skill has served me well over the years. It has helped me to be successful in my career as a psychologist. I can anticipate the needs of others. It makes me a great gift-giver. It also keeps me safe. I call it my superpower.

Recently, I’ve started to think differently about my ability to be aware of, connect with, and have empathy for the emotions of others. I still think it’s my superpower. But I am aware of something that I can miss out on when I am focused so intently upon others—me.

StarburstSometimes, my awareness of others makes it hard to know where I stand. I can see things from so many different perspectives—and many of them make a lot of sense. Since it can take a lot of energy and focus to settle on just one opinion, my path of least resistance would often be just to go along with what others want.

But some years ago, I realized that this wasn’t enough. By listening to my broad spectrum of emotions, I learned that I have a lot of opinions and preferences—and some really strong ones. So I started a new habit of checking in with myself, several times a day. What do I think about…? What do I want? How do I feel? Through this practice, I learned that my habit of shaping my preference based on other people was widespread. I also learned that through awareness and making a conscious choice, I could live differently.

Nowadays, I’m still at it. My new practice has become more of a habit. It’s not quite automatic. It takes focus, energy and attention. Well worth it, in my opinion. When my emotions call, I listen for their wisdom. The best part of it all is I’ve met someone that I really like—me.

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1 Comment

This truly resonates with me. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself and letting your story be a source of inspiration for others.

Posted by Kendra S. on 13 March 2015 @ 1pm

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