If there is one thing the past several months have taught me, it's that self-awareness is truly life-altering. I say that because, for so many years of my life, whenever relationship challenges would come my way, I'd spend more time trying to figure out the other person more than myself.
But like the French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne once said, "The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself." Indeed. And, if you want to get to the root of your relationship issues, look within…first.
And after going through a series of pretty devastating transitions in some of my relationships, I realized that a part of the reason why I attracted some people who weren't healthy for me — and why letting them go was difficult even though they were toxic — was because I show a lot of signs of being something that, while growing up, I didn't hear a lot about: An empath.
You don't have the time and I don't have enough word count space to get into all of what an empath is, but a bottom line definition is this — empaths are individuals who have an uncanny ability to not only understand other people but can literally feel what they are experiencing too; so much to the point that they are able to mentally and emotionally put themselves in someone else's position, sometimes to their own detriment.
This means that empaths are highly sensitive, extremely discerning, and can oftentimes absorb the emotions of others. Some other traits of an empath include being introverted, a loving nature, preferring to spend time alone, and they can get easily distracted by noises and smells too.
Although in many ways, it's a beautiful thing to be an empath, it does come with its challenges.
Because they are so intuitive, they tend to be targets to energy vampires and narcissists (check out the video "15 Things That Happen When an Empath Loves a Narcissist" when you get a chance). Empaths are also known for giving more than they receive plus, it's very easy for them to get completely overwhelmed in their relationships — almost to the point of caring more about the choices their loved ones are making than their own loved ones do.
Did you just read all of that and have a huge light bulb go off? If so, welcome to the world of being an empath (if you want to double-check, do this self-assessment test). Now that you know why you've been going through some of what you have, as a fellow empath, here are three tips to help you experience less harm and guard yourself better moving forward:
3 Ways To Protect Yourself As An Empath
1.Take Your Time in Relationships.
The more I've studied about empaths, the more I recognize the importance of taking my time at the beginning of relationships and finding balance once I'm in them, whether it's a professional or personal one.
In the past, because I could sense a lot of what a person was going through or where they were coming from, I would immediately invest my all — time, effort, energy, and even resources — without allowing time to reveal if they were someone that I should get that deeply involved with.
Sometimes you need months — even years — before you can comfortably say "This is someone I trust" or "This is someone I can call a friend." Personal bumps and bruises have taught me that sometimes feeling what a person is going through is not about getting intimately involved so much as offering a word of encouragement, praying for them, or just meeting an immediate need. No more, no less.
(Accepting this alone is a total game-changer!)
As I'm doing some healing from childhood trauma, I realize that because I am an empath and I didn't make dealing with the PTSD of my childhood and adolescence as much of a priority as I should have, oftentimes I kept re-victimizing myself by choosing my childhood abusers as an adult; only, they were in forms of different people.
Now that I am aware of this, I see that, as an empath, I have a tendency to even want to rationalize my abusers' abuse because I am wired to feel what they feel (deep, right?!). Knowing this helps me to recognize when I'm about to repeat this kind of pattern with other toxic individuals.
For instance, if you do research on narcissists and sociopaths, a lot of them become that way due to their own unresolved childhood stuff. A narcissist and an empath are an intense combo because the narcissist wants to drain the empath of their good qualities, while an empath wants to do whatever they can to make a narcissist better. See what I mean? #breakthepattern
Not everyone is an empath. That's not a good or bad thing; that's just the way it is. To me, I think empaths are a lot like silk — simultaneously strong and fragile. Because of that, they need the kind of people in their life who will treat them that way.
Something that a strong-yet-fragile individual — an empath — needs is the kind of relationships that will give as much as they take. Since an empath feels so much and their heart is so big, reciprocity cannot be a preference; for the sake of their overall health and well-being, it must be a requirement.
As I've been settling more and more into understanding that while I am an empath, my past relational bumps and bruises have been healing and, it's been quite some time since I've encountered any new ones.
I'm telling you, sometimes, the best way to resolve issues with others is to truly understand yourself. Self-awareness makes this possible. Whether you're an empath — or not.
Feature image by Getty Images
- The Empath's Survival Guide: Living Well as a Sensitive Person ›
- 5 Protection Strategies for Empaths - Judith Orloff MD ›
- 12 Balancing Ways How to Protect Yourself as an Empath - SYLVIA ... ›
- Top 10 Protection Crystals: Which One is Best for You? — KRISTA ... ›
- Tips for Sensitive People to Protect Their Energy | Psychology Today ›
- Four Signs You May Be an Empath-Warrior | HuffPost ›
- 10 Traits Empathic People Share | Psychology Today ›
- How to Stay Emotionally Balanced If You're an Empath | The Chopra ... ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images