As an empath, I sometimes struggle to speak my truth in relationships.
I’m aware that speaking up means conflict. Though my adjustment seems outwardly seamless, I noticed in recent relationship dynamics that I was trying to numb myself with unhealthy foods.
Subsequent to a period of days of avoiding speaking up and eating in a way that didn’t nurture my body, I sat down for meditation and felt a throbbing pain in my lower belly.
It was hard to keep my eyes closed as I meditated, hard to truly feel the sensation of pain, and my mind kept running away from the pain into thoughts. For the next little while, I went back and forth between sensing as much as I could of this intolerable pain, going into thoughts to take a break from the sensation, and having warm tears flowing down my face.
The tears felt good, as though something in me was being met with presence. Yet, my sensitive digestive system felt shredded with the low-quality foods. Feeling shredded had to do with how I learned in my childhood to disappear in my relationships. This physical pain was the pain of leaving my integrity with others.
For the first time, the intense feeling of pain was different and felt like a blessing. Instead of my usual experience of numbness, this physical pain was telling me something had to change, that there was an internal limit or boundary that I wasn’t honoring.
Usually, I beat myself up for my food choices.
Instead of having a compassionate inner voice, I criticize myself and end up feeling much worse. But this time felt different—I was not beating myself up. Instead, there was clarity between how I treated myself in relationship with others and in relationship with myself.
Staying present in my meditation, I noticed a small, yet clear voice inside me saying that I need to do things differently. I can no longer continue this self-torturing pattern in my relationships. In fact, it became evident how this pattern plays out in my relationships with friends, money, and work. And, that this pattern needed to change.
We live in a culture where we are disconnected from ourselves. Pain brings up worries of what might be medically wrong with our bodies. Or, we’re used to reaching for something to soothe or alleviate the pain such as medicine, food, alcohol, television…anything to not feel it.
This article is as published on Elephant Journal. Images have been added to this post.