"But I know he's a good person...
That's great. But it doesn't matter. Not if he's treating you badly. If you're going to let someone be in your life on a regular basis, it's their behavior that matters, not their potential.
Most Empaths can see the potential in those around them. On one hand, this is a wonderful thing. They can sense the innocent goodness of a person’s soul even when it’s not being expressed to the rest of the world. They know bad behavior doesn’t define a person. They see the wounds and the heartbreak that can cause some people to consistently act like jerks. Even abusive jerks. They can truly understand the aphorism, “hurt people hurt people.”
This ability to see goodness and potential in everyone makes highly empathic people extraordinarily compassionate and understanding. It makes them truly inspirational teachers, counselors, and advocates. It’s a huge strength if they're in a work situation that comes along with clear, firm boundaries.
But there's a catch
A possible down-side for Empaths comes in their personal lives when dealing with the
people they love.
Many Empaths keep hoping for this potential for goodness to express itself, even when someone in their lives is consistently causing them mostly stress, heartbreak, and pain.
They let themselves believe lies because they don't want to believe the person they love would lie to them. They continue to try to help, support, and encourage while getting nothing back.
They keep trying to make things work with friends, partners, or family members who just aren’t good for them. At the very least, this is a waste of precious time and energy. At worst it can be dangerous.
Not Your Responsibility
Life can be heartbreaking almost as often as it's wonderful. We all experience trauma and psychological wounds. Even though encouragement and support from others can be incredibly helpful, it's ultimately our own responsibility to heal, learn, and use our experience to build strengths like maturity and compassion.
But some people don't--or aren't able to--take on this responsibility. Instead of gaining maturity and compassion, they build only defensiveness, resentment, and lists of grievances. In our relationships with these people, we’re consistently treated badly and struggling to maintain healthy boundaries. Until they are ready to change, these people won’t treat us right, no matter how much we try to help them. No matter how much potential they were born with. No matter how good we believe they are...deep inside.
This doesn’t mean those people are evil or *toxic. But that doesn’t make them your responsibility either. It doesn’t make them your project.
(*People aren't toxic, but their behavior can be).
Because Empaths have a gift for seeing potential--and because they feel and love so deeply--they sometimes avoid the reality of people‘s bad behavior.
They focus on the good and ignore all the bad stuff. Because of this, Empaths often stay in relationships even when they’re treated badly on a regular basis.
Separating yourself from a chronically hurtful person isn’t being judgmental or selfish. You deserve to protect your heart and your energy.
(And consistently being there to rescue someone who won’t help themselves probably isn’t doing them any good either. Not in the long run.)
You can’t love someone out of their pathology. You can’t make them heal if they aren’t ready to heal. You can’t force them to grow.
Yes you can keep loving them. But Some people need to be loved from a distance. Some people deserve space in your prayers but not on your calendar.
Determine who gets to spend time with you based on who they are today, not on who you believe they could be. Base it how they treat you, not on their potential. Not on the inherent value of their souls.✪
I'd love to hear your questions, comments, and ideas for further posts. My mission is to help each highly sensitive and empathic person wake up to their power, brilliance, and authentic path. Click here to learn about intuitive coaching and please share this article on social media if you think you might know other Empaths and HSPs who could benefit.