It is officially Day 31 in Kenya. I don’t even know where to begin with how I feel, or what I’ve experienced since being here. I’m not one to sugar coat things, nor am I one to sit here and lie to myself.
Since being here I’ve experienced an abundance of different emotions, far from what I had expected. Initially when I started work, I felt passionate, alive and eager, leaving my mark and pushing for social change. As the weeks went by, case after case, I felt myself becoming progressively drained, alongside feeling guilty as a result of this. I kept telling myself that many people would die for this opportunity, and I here I was living one of my dreams…so, why was I feeling drained? I felt obligated to help these individuals to my fullest capability, yet I couldn’t comprehend why I felt so empty.
It took me some time to realize how important it is to be a skillful empath. Rose Rosetree has a quote from her book that strongly resonates with me in saying that it is better to be a non-empath than to be an unskilled empath. There is a substantial difference between being kind, and being an empath. Many people in this world can be considered kind through acts and intentions, however, empaths literally feel and identify with what someone else is feeling or going through, on a psychological level. Within the past, I can identify as being an unskilled empath (and undeniably sometimes still struggle with this :)), merely because I viewed my sensitivity and vulnerability as a weakness. I did not know when to stop identifying with others, nor did I know how to turn my empathy on or off. It is odd to explain- I would constantly beat myself up for always feeling, when all I wanted was to not feel at all.
(Real life pic of me out here cryin’ 24/7 on full blast)
I am a very passionate person and I’ve learned to embrace that quality, as it makes me, me. For the past year, I have worked, interned and volunteered with many different populations. I always feel this strong desire to help everyone around me, particularly those who are willing to receive the help and assistance that I can offer. Through all of this, I’ve neglected myself by not prioritizing my own needs as an individual, forgetting that without my glass full, I am not capable of empowering others in the way I’d like to. My glass can’t even be full…this motherfucker gotta be overflowing with the shit that I intend to do in this lifetime.
I am learning that I cannot be compassionate to others without fully being compassionate with myself first. I am learning how to listen to what nourishes and feeds my soul, simply for me. Whether that is the people who I choose to associate with, the experiences that I wish to have on my own terms, or even developing and challenging paradigms that exist in my head. I am always looking for ways to challenge myself because I realize that we grow where we are not comfortable. I strive to be comfortably uncomfortable because I am constantly evolving.
I love the work that I do and the challenges that come alongside, because it forces me to find a plausible solution, once again showing me how resilient I am. I feel like the universe is always throwing curveballs, reminding me why I do what I do, and showing me ways that make the journey a bit smoother. Progress and healing are never linear, so when things are going exceptionally well, there will undoubtedly be something that pops off. To love yourself is to honour what feeds your soul and makes you happy, as an individual. I used to factor everything into my happiness equation, attributing my happiness to people and things. I’ve learned how important it is to live in the present moment because happiness is not a destination we aim to arrive at, but it is a temporary feeling that comes and goes, and it lies within the palm of our hands through keeping peace within ourselves.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I love you :):):)