Embracing Empathy- a teacher’s heart

It has been a while since my last post, just over a year in fact and it sure does feel good to be writing again. The reason for my silence you may ask? Well…LIFE I guess.

I am now one of those cliche’s who unashamedly has to confess that she managed to get pulled in… swept back by the rip-tide of the busyness, pressure and utter chaos that was 2018! With every wave, I found myself paddling harder and harder, yet always feeling as though I just could not catch a break. However, perseverance prevailed and here I am…

A firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”, I choose to walk away from one of the most personally trying seasons in my teaching career with grace and appreciation. Appreciation for the challenging times, the rewarding times, the opportunities for growth and introspection, and also just for the lessons learnt. The saying that teachers are “lifelong learners” rings so true – for every challenge that we face, there is always a greater reward. We may not always find ourselves in comfortable situations; that emotionally charged parent meeting, the difficult colleague, the tough but right decisions that have to be made…but the gift of hindsight always affords us a greater perspective on things. Personally, I have come to realize what in theory I suppose I have always known – as an empath right down to the core, I care. I worry. I panic and break out in all sorts of ailments. I have restless nights. I obsess, and I just want to make things better. Managing these traits so that I am able to protect my sensitivities is a work in progress, but embracing these traits is a gift that I am only now allowing myself to embrace.

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers.” — Judith Orloff,MD

As teachers, we are wives and husbands, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, parents, friends and colleagues… we are many things to many people. We are family; mentors, educators, listeners, caregivers, providers, secret keepers, peacemakers… and let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming at times, ok, all of the time! But I believe that in order to be a teacher, we all have empath qualities here and there…we wouldn’t be in our profession if we didn’t. Yes, some may argue that we are too sensitive, that we take on too much, but the counter argument it that at least we do CARE, we NURTURE and are fiercely COMMITTED to our cause. And while we may have to work a little harder than others to keep our head above water so that we don’t physically and emotionally drown…being an empath is a gift in my life; although, I am only now learning to value the need to take care of myself. Self care is crucial – taking time out to fill your own cup is a necessity as we pour so much of ourselves into the lives of others. You can’t pour from an empty cup so familiarize yourself with your own needs. It is important to honour these needs and communicate them to your loved ones. Acts of self-care are the ultimate act of self-love. Be kind to yourself, because you matter too!



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