25 Jan It’s Not My Fault: The Difference Between Helping With Problems, and Owning Them.
If you’re a sensitive person like I am, you can sense when someone else is hurting. I know when my assistant in China is overwhelmed, I can tell when a longstanding client is having marriage trouble, and sometimes I actually feel anxious just before other people end up in conflict in a professional situation.
I’ve had this sensitivity, this almost “psychic empathy” since I was a kid.
It has served me well over the years. It is very common for clients who don’t even speak english to tell the translator “Exactly, that’s EXACTLY how I feel”. It helps me build bridges with people, and helps them to feel seen.
The trouble has been when I feel like the suffering that I sense, is mine to resolve. At those times, I find myself being overwhelmed and overcome by helplessness.
Paradoxically, the helplessness has helped me find my footing. It tells me that I’m trying to control or manage something that isn’t mine to resolve. Other people can manage their pain, others can sense their energy, others can learn from their painful histories.
When I allow others to have their genuine lived experience of the moment, I can simply support them by being there.
When I allow others to have their genuine lived experience of the moment, I can simply support them by being there. I understand that there are many factors that lead to a person experiencing pain. I don’t need to know what they are to help, I don’t need to solve them to help. I can bring connection to the disconnection through presence, empathy and compassion. This perspective sets us both free from the guilt that we caused it, or have to “do it right” to make it pass. This is true human connection.