It’s hard. It’s hard feeling as though you are everyone’s “person”.
Most obviously, I am the go to for my kids; I am their person for the good, the bad, the really bad (teaching them that we don’t dunk our raisins in the toilet before we eat them). I am definitely their person.
I am my partner’s person. His sounding board, his cheerleader, his devil’s advocate. I’m it.
I am the voice of reason, the negotiator, and the arbitrator to my sibling and parents.
I am the connection to family for an aunt.
I am the listener, the supporter, the resource, and the connector at work and with friends. I get the calls and texts when the great things happen in family, friends’ and patients’ lives (pregnancies, engagements, dates, remission). I am the receiver of the calls and texts from the same people when the worst happens (lost or never realized pregnancies, affairs, illness, remission, death).
I am an empath. I want to be with those in need and I am. I am so there that, outwardly, I appear the strong and solid pillar they need, but internally I am struggling by taking on their pain.
I am exhausted.
I should correct myself and say that I am an empath in progress. It is fully possible to maintain and be empathetic while not internalizing the feelings being shared. It is perfectly okay and even healthy to be with someone in this space and when you part ways, to leave that stuff where it lies. It does not make us any better people to our people to pack that stuff up and carry it with us; what are we are going to do with it anyway? It doesn’t serve us or the other person/people to drag it around.
Now here’s where things get tricky. Sometimes I need a person, too, and though I feel I have a couple stellar folks I can lean on when in need, sometimes I’m just too tired to reach out. (I am also a socially adept introvert which throws another monkey wrench into reaching out but that is a whole other topic.)
I really don’t like the term “self-care” though I wholeheartedly believe in the practice of caring for ourselves. It is my personal belief that this care of self should not be an extra part of our lives; it should simply be our practice. We care for others wholly and daily so why are we only providing ourselves with the basics of survival? Take that five minutes to decompress when you need it, not when you can fit it in. Go to the class, the book club, the woods; just go. Drop the mom/wife/sister/daughter guilt (why is this a thing anyway?) and go.
Again, I’m an empath and human in progress. I can also be a hypocrite when it comes to the above, but I’m trying. We all must try because I am certain that as women and men and carers in general, most of us feel as though we are that “person” for many, many people as well. In the end, if we choose to continue to be that person for others, I highly doubt we want to be a disgruntled version of ourselves.
These ramblings are just that and are not meant to shame or blame or complain in any way. We are people and thus, each of us needs something different and unique to us; some need more, some less from our people. Likewise, the amount we have to give is different and unique and needs to be respected. Be honest with what you have and what you need.