January 17, 2020

What is one thing I would change about myself?

First, I am so sorry that FOUR posts published yesterday. I have no idea how that happened. I was revamping some recipes and had them set to publish in the future, but somehow they all published at once. The only post I meant to publish yesterday was the tutorial for the pet feeding station!

Anyway, today is another writing prompt. And I've had a bad day, so I truly am going to keep this short...

What is one thing that I would change about myself?

I thought hard about this, because the obvious answer would be that I wouldn't have anxiety. Having anxiety is the worst! But I wanted to come up with something deeper than that, and I thought more and more about what actually causes my anxiety.

Surprisingly, the one thing I would change about myself (and what gives me so much anxiety) is the fact that I am hyperempathetic. An "empath", I guess it's called. I am extremely aware of what people are feeling and I somehow pull just the negative vibes from them and feel them myself. I found this quote on Pinterest that sums it up perfectly. This is exactly how I feel:

I did not cut off the bottom attribute, but it's jennifersoldner.com

Being empathetic is generally a good thing, but when it causes you to feel this way, it's not. I can remember when I was a child, ALWAYS feeling guilty for everything. Especially for things that happened to other people. Even if nothing "bad" really happened, I felt the guilt for no reason at all.

Sometimes being empathetic is helpful, however. Here is an example that happened to me:

I always noticed a kindergarten mom who would pick her son up from school at the same time I picked up Eli. Even though she smiled and conversed with others, I could feel her emotional pain. She seemed totally normal on the outside, but I knew that something wasn't right. I decided to do something about it, because I was worried about suicide. I gave her a card with something empathetic written on it.

A few years later, she told me that she had been planning her suicide and the card meant the world to her at the time. Someone cared and someone noticed she'd been feeling that way.

This empathy is a gift, in a way, but it's a huge burden as well. I feel responsible for everybody's problems and everybody's pain, even if I have nothing to do with them or it at all. When my family is hurting, I will do anything that I can to make them stop hurting, even if it's not good for myself. If I feel like I've hurt another person's feelings for any reason at all, I'll carry that inside of me until the day I day, unless I can somehow fix it. And I spent WAY too much time worrying about how to fix it.

When I started psychotherapy, my therapist and I talked about all of this and how I need to do things that are best for ME and to start doing what I enjoy and to stop trying to fix things that I know I can't change.

This is why I've been putting so much work into doing things I enjoy--like the DIY house stuff and woodwork. When I'm alone, listening to a podcast and working on a project, I don't have to feel what others are feeling. Carrying the burden of others' feelings along with my own is exhausting! I think this is what causes me to be more introverted, as well. Being around a lot of people is a lot to carry.

Anyway, I really am trying to keep this short today, so I'll end it with this:

In general, I am a good person. I am kind, generous, caring, a good listener, and (for the most part) determined and goal-oriented. I am also extremely empathetic. So, I feel and understand your feelings much more than is comfortable for either of us, but it's important to know that I care. I care more than anything that everybody is okay.


  1. Lovely, insightful post that truly lets us know you better. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

  2. You sound like the perfect friend. You saved a life that day. You are wonderful just as you are. That’s what my wish is for you. That you could see that and not want to be different. That’s what we all want for our children. That’s what I imagine our creator wants from us. Can you imagine how you would feel if your kids wanted to be something other than what they were when that very thing is what makes them so amazing and unique and that’s their contribution to the world? It would be heartbreaking to you as a parent. You are gorgeous inside and out just as you are. Carole W

    1. Carole you said that perfectly. There are some really bad people in the world and some very special people just like you and Katie!

  3. This explains so much. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who feels like I know you because you share so much about your life, but this really helps me understand so much about you. You truly are a special person and I wish you peace in your life.

  4. You are a gift to your family, to your blog readers, and to all who come to know you. Thank you.


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