Friendship #101: How to create space like an Empath

My entire life has been filled with friendships. Many of my friendships are more than two decades old. The number of people I hold dear and consider my closest of friends is considerable. I am also aware of how rare this is.

My friends are placed in various groups: high school friends, work friends, college friends, grad school friends. Each group represents a valid period of time in my life. Oh, and I’ve lost friends along the way. I’ve been left, gas-lighted, and downright unfriended, but I never get too caught up when friendships run their course. Instead, I settle more deeply in the beautiful friendships I have still have left and love my friends exactly as they are.

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Sometimes I wonder if my secret to my solid friendships is the fact that I am an Empath. At times, I can feel how people are drawn to me. They may or may not consciously realize when they speak to me, their feelings process, they feel warm and tingly, and they leave me feeling completely understood despite the fact that I’ve said very few words.

Many Empaths complain of feeling drained after creating this level of space for people in their lives, but though I sometimes feel drained, I also feel so fulfilled. This is the part I love about being empathic. There have been time when I’ve had to cleanse and process after a deep dive conversation with a friend, but it has always been worth it. Feeling someone else become lighter and process a sadness, anger, or anchor that has weighed them down for years helps me to feel that being an Empath is a gift.

Today was just one of those moments. My close friend came into my classroom as the day came to a close. I could feel her sadness and stress. It was so heavy. I knew she came to talk, so I sat back and mentally surrounded myself with lightness and space. I listened as she talked and took deep breaths for her as she tore through her description of her current issues with her teenage daughter. I am so past the point of believing I can solve anyone’s issues with my advice or wisdom, so I am comfortable just asking questions or even listening and breathing in her sadness and breathing out love for her.

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She doesn’t even know it’s happening, not on any real cognitive level. She just knows she feels lighter, safer. Her tears flow but they are not being cycled through. They are being purged. You know the difference. There are those tears that process and those that only create more tears or such exhaustion. There is no lightness in them. Tears run down my cheeks as well, but they are not mine. They are hers so that she can process her sadness completely. I am not crying with her. I am just dropping tears. As an Empath, it is a strange feeling at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and I let it happen because I know how much it helps.

My friend leaves my room shortly after. She is not exactly sure why she feels better or even understand how connected she feels with me, but she knows she feels better in some way.

Anyone can do this for the person they love. You do not have to be an Empath. Anyone can create space for another. Anyone can listen with no judgment and no need to solve the issue or even talk their way to making someone feel better. You can just breathe and love someone while they feel.

It really is beautiful.

Love and Light, my friends.

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