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  • Writer's pictureRachael Scarr

Harnessing Your Superpower

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

{ Listen to this post here }

What’s your kryptonite?

What brings you to your knees?

What do you often view as your main weakness?

I am an empath.

I hate that phrase. It sounds so…new age-y. But it’s true! I feel others’ pain deeply.

In my bones.

But not just their pain, I feel their joy, anxiety, sadness, excitement, fear, stress. I just…feel…it all. It enters into my psyche and it becomes incredibly hard to shake. Hard to dismiss. Temporarily becoming part of my narrative, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with me. This can be a friend, a cashier, a server, a parent, a child, an animal, a complete stranger - anyone who happens to enter into my sphere. I pick up on the emotion, resonate with it, and immediately want to console, help, congratulate, uplift that person (or animal) - whatever the situation may be.

Of course, this type of skill is fabulous when it comes to caring for and listening to my loved ones. I’d like to think it ultimately makes me a better friend, family member, and partner…but, there’s a flip side to it as well:

I can’t shut it off!

Every move, facial expression, turn of phrase revs up my engine and starts me into analyzing and trying to relate. Trying to take it on. To feel it. To help. To connect.

It’s exhausting.

I was taking one of my long walks through the park a few weeks ago and all the sudden I felt, inexplicably, heavy. Just, weighed down.

I saw the people walking around me and I thought about the journeys they were all on. The ways that this devastating pandemic has affected each and every one of their lives, and how difficult this has all been.

What is he thinking? What must she be going through? I wonder how they’re making it work? I wonder if they’re okay?!

And then, I got sad. In that moment I was hyperaware of humanity and all of the suffering and stress that we’ve experienced this last year.

What a weird time we’re all living through.

Like I said…heavy.

And exhausting.

I know it’s not my job to feel all of this. To carry that weight. I know I don’t need to and am not expected to.

But I just can’t help it.

I’ve always known I was prone to feeling. It’s one of the reasons I love acting so much. I get to use my skills as an “empath” and actually embody the emotions of others in a cathartic way, while simultaneously aiding audiences in their very own catharsis.

I’ve always been quick to cry at movies, parties, weddings, conversations - happy or sad! It doesn’t take much for something to tug on my heartstrings. I immediately feel it and experience it. The good, the bad, the ugly.

It’s part of the reason, I think, that I naturally gravitate towards more light-hearted or uplifting entertainment. I choose to watch - pretty exclusively - romantic comedies, sitcoms, and reality television. I choose to read magazines, autobiographies, and self-help books. I tend to listen to acoustic, pop, jazz, and worship music.

I can’t handle heavy. It hurts too much.

I had to stop listening to Taylor Swift’s new albums on repeat (temporarily…not forever, I’m not a monster), because I could no longer get through a song without sobbing.

I can’t watch gore or horror movies, point blank, because it increases my anxiety too much and makes me nauseous. I can handle maybe one thriller type movie every few months - but it has to be mild and it has to be predictable.

I appreciate dramatic television and love the acting in it, but it just doesn’t hold my attention or relax me the way I want my tv programs to do. It requires too much bandwidth and, often, hits way too close to home. It’s often hard for me to watch the news for this exact same reason.

I prefer fact-based, non-fiction writing - stuff I can learn about and implement. And stories or tips that inspire me, instead of weigh me down.

I’m just too…sensitive.

And that’s okay.

On that day in Central Park a few weeks back, where I couldn’t stop feeling, instead of pushing it down or wishing it away, I let myself feel. It wasn’t wrong to feel these things, feeling them is part of what makes me me, it was just…uncomfortable.

I decided, however, to breathe it in and let it live in my spirit for a while…despite the discomfort it caused.

I just wanted to see what would happen.

What happens if we don’t view our “weaknesses” as kryptonite, but as our superpower?

What if we really embrace what makes us unique and learn how to use it for good?

See, my heavy feelings about humanity that day actually sparked creativity inside of me. They were intense and hard to grapple with, sure, but I chose not to let them overcome me. I, instead, harnessed them and used them to my advantage. Those feelings actually got me to thinking and pushed me towards artistic expression. I sat down that day (on my rock) and wrote a poem using those thoughts. Those feelings. And now…I’m using them to write this post.

We can choose to see our major character traits as flaws or strengths.

The choice is up to us.

Let it control you, label you, overtake you…and it becomes your kryptonite.

Acknowledge it, celebrate it, harness it…it becomes your superpower.

Feeling things deeply is not bad. My hyper-sensitivity does not make me weak. It actually gives me power. It’s actually my driving force. And it’s a force with which to be reckoned.

I chose, that day, to accept my God-given skill of empathy, and to view it as good, as necessary, and as POWERFUL, because that’s exactly what it is. (And, it is the year of POWER after all! *wink*)

My intense empathy is what makes me unique.

It’s what makes me strong.

It’s what makes me a good friend.

It’s what makes me a good daughter.

It’s what makes me a good person.

It’s what makes me a good partner.

It’s what makes me a good actress.

It’s what makes me a good writer.

It’s what makes me a good artist.

It’s what makes me, me.

And I am enough.

I thank God for ALL of my character traits, because without them…I wouldn’t exist.

Without yours, neither would you.

Our intensities can either make us or break us. So, don’t let yours be your kryptonite…and instead, harness them into your superpower.

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