Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
I'm not sure the exact day I decided the problems of the world were mine to fix.
I guess it’s part of being the nurturer, the guardian angel, the rescuer. If anyone needed me, I’d take their problems from them and I'll carry it around for a while.
Even though I couldn’t fix it for them.
Even though I knew I shouldn’t fix it for them.
But I’d still take the burden away and add it to my already heavy load. Regardless of the problem. And the level of unnecessary drama.
I've always felt other people's pain, intensely. I don't know if my high level of empathy is a learnt or inherited trait, but it's always been part of me. Inside me, I can feel the heaviness when I meet someone who is carrying a great load. I feel their burden on my chest and their rawness, like an open gash on my skin. I assumed that if I had the power to see and feel, then I have the obligation to heal.
And so, I spent my early adult life feeling. A lot.
Boyfriends cheating, girlfriends fighting, bad tanning experiences, you name it. I was trying to solve everything. For everyone.
I developed intestinal issues and neck issues from the constant worry and stress. I wept alongside strangers who shared their stories as their pain was so intense and it was physical. And I was exhausted. Because these waves of empathy were drowning my spirit.
So, I had to consciously step back and say…
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys.
I decided to listen but not inhale other problems. I offered an ear, not a solution. I held hands, I hugged, I cried, I offered perspective and advice, and then I left the problem where it belonged. With the owner.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys.
Suddenly I could sleep better. I could think clearer. I was more supportive to everyone because I wasn’t emotionally involved in their life. Or their dramas. I had clarity.
I was free.
Got a real problem? Please come talk to me. I'm a great listener and a rational thinker. And I understand people. And feelings.
But don’t ask me to fix your dramas for you. I can’t.
Sorry. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys.
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