I am a walking mirror neuron. Highly empathic and extremely sensitive, I feel other people’s feelings and tend to see deeply into situations. It’s both a gift and a burden. At at improv class I took recently, I mentioned my tendency towards empathy in a self-deprecating way to a fellow student. She came back to me later and said, “You know, Kymberlee, empathy is the best of humanity. Hold on to that.”
This meant a lot to me. It is a wonderful thing to claim the gift of caring so deeply for other beings. This has been with me my entire life. People sense that I am kind and trustworthy. This is a beautiful thing. It also brought up my fears and the difficulties I’ve faced with this over the years. Here are the major issues I’ve faced:
A recently-divorced friend of mine calls the needy part of himself “baby bird”. He used to talk about how he was worried that baby bird was hungry and needed too much attention. I find myself wondering how I got cast in the role of “mama bird”. I think the answer lies in my tendency towards empathy. I genuinely care about others and want to reach out and help. People sense this.
My solution to this is to find a new metaphor. I shared this with my friend and I’m putting it here as a reminder to myself that empathy and care are indeed wonderful as long as they are applied equally to all hearts.
I have my own baby bird I need to feed so I am not really noticing yours anymore. You are an adult and it’s your responsibility to feed it.
I encourage you to protect your baby bird yourself instead of looking to others to do it for you. Feed it, nurture it and keep it safe. That is the task for each of us.
I am a hawk who will kill baby birds to feed my own young.
Your baby bird feels like a hawk to my baby bird.
We are all birds of prey and we all have baby birds to feed. It’s good to remember that.
“Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth.” ~Rumi