We do not save anybody–people choose to save themselves.
This is a hard lesson I have learned twice.
I was a rescuer for a long, long time.
I very well could have had an invisible cape with an “S” tied to my back as I zoomed around my life being in service to friends, lovers, partners, strangers–everybody.
I would meet broke travelers on hikes and they would end up spending the night sleeping in my cabin.
I would even give up my bed and sleep on the couch for people I barely knew.
I wanted to rescue and heal and give to this world, with all my heart.
We think that being selfless is a positive thing—but there comes a point when we are giving our entire self–physically, emotionally and spiritually–when we completely disown and abandon our own self-care and needs.
Having boundaries as an empath can be nearly impossible—you tangibly feel emotions of others around you like others feel wind on their skin.
There isn’t a choice of wanting to feel somebody’s pain as an empath, it just consumes you when you are near it.
I can sit beside someone on an airplane and feel their depression, suffering and pain.
I now know I have a choice whether I engage in it, but for a long time I always engaged in helping, supporting and rescuing– until it bit me in the ass hard enough, I finally listened.
For a long time my worthiness lived outside of me. To continue my story and dialogue of being unworthy, I unconsciously chose men and partners who would not show up or treat me with worth.
When they didn’t show up, I could blame the world and continue to feel not good enough and exist in a pattern of victimization.
I see my pattern starkly in relationships in my past.
I once paid for gas money for a man I was dating to get to a self-growth course in Edmonton. I also paid for his fee for the course and found him a place to stay. I covered the cost of groceries for the time we would be there and I flew there to emotionally support him during the course.
I was pregnant and had just moved into a little cabin in British Columbia.
This man I had chosen was struggling with a few things and I wanted to support him.
I used to constantly choose to put other peoples’ needs before my own.
I remember saying during my time in Edmonton with this man, “I need to know you are going to show up for my abortion in BC. No matter what, I need you to show up.”
He was struggling financially, but said he would figure it out.
I was with my mother the day I went for my abortion, and mothers weren’t allowed in the procedure room–only boyfriends or partners.
I remember putting on my blue gown and laying in a bed before the procedure and swearing that I would never choose to be with another man whose mountain was not standing tall ever again.
I used to think that I was strong enough to carry both myself and the people I was with.
I used to foolishly think I could rescue people.
“If your mountain is not strong right now, I will carry you over rivers and valleys on my back. I can carry your mountain and mine”, I would say.
Well, when my mountain needed to be carried I was alone.
I chose that experience by entering into a relationship with somebody who knew they could not show up in the state they were in.
I chose that experience from a deeply unconscious belief that I was unworthy of love.
It was unconscious sabotage from the get go, for it validated my story of unworthiness.
After that experience I no longer choose partners whose mountains are not standing and tall before we enter a relationship.
It was a tipping point and a painful wake-up call.
Present day, I believe healthy relationships happen when each person’s mountain is standing strong and together we create an entire.y different thing– which is a relationship.
There is no leaning or collapsing.
There is support, but it is a two-way support system.
Both mountains are standing.
I learned this lesson more deeply when a close friend and man I had been intimate with committed suicide last year.
Even when I showed up to support him near the end of his life and attempted to carry his mountain, that didn’t save him.
At his funeral a woman I didn’t know approached me and said, “He loved you so much. I thought that love could save him.”
That haunted me during my grieving process. I thought on some level if I had been able to love him back and carry his mountain, that I truly could have saved him.
I know now, after time has passed, that isn’t true.
We choose to save ourselves.
We cannot save anyone–no matter how hard we try.