The other day, around about 1am, I was dangerously deep into the internet. Not in a bad place, but I found myself quite lost. After clicking link after link, with 15 unexplainable tabs open, I was no where near where my search had begun. Not even that I knew where I meant to take myself, but my journey started and ended on almost opposite sides of the spectrum.
As a nineteen year-old surrounded by the growing trends of Toronto, living in such big city with so many different subcultures within it gives me too many options of the person I can become. Who do I want to be, what do I want to do, where the fuck do I want to go, why do I want to put myself through this, and when do I plan on starting? Sometimes I consider how any of these things I've conjured up in my head can be anywhere near a realistic goal to have for my future, but that is always quickly dismissed. I don't consider it a question of how, because I don't think you are ever really ever able to predict exactly how you will end up getting somewhere, but rather everything with somehow messily work itself out in the end of things.
Currently, I am in a phase of body modifications. Nothing too crazy, but just the right amount to make me different than what everyone assumes me to be. My night started with piercings; on YouTube seeing the suggestions people have, pain rating on a scale from 1-10 and most importantly whether or not I think it looks cool. One video turned to another, and then I was online searching piercing shops and tattoo parlours near me. I found myself sliding into the DMs of local artists and seeing when their next available appointment is, as if I have any clue of what I want to get permanently on my body. I returned to YouTube and dove even deeper than I already was. Long story short, I ended up on a travel blogger's channel and in just one second of his video I caught a glimpse of something: a tattoo on someone's arm. I'm not sure whose arm it was, but for some reason I really loved it. This thing had definitely less than a second of screen time and even in the slight glimpse of seeing it I wanted it more than anything I had ever wanted in that moment. And I didn't even know what it was. Without rewatching the video or even double checking what I thought I saw, I was on Google with only three words to describe what I thought I saw: You. We. Me. And I found it!
You. We. Me. means something a lot deeper than I had ever expected it to, and I intend to base most of what I do in life off of this symbol from this point onward. It was eye opening to a degree. It's not as if it makes me want to run off to a temple and live in peace with nature, but it definitely made me think more about how the people I surround myself with can affect my well-being and what should happen in order for me to live the happiest life that I possibly can. Yes, I am a teenager and many may discredit my values due to the fact that I am "so young", but I feel as though I truly found something somewhat valuable while aimlessly wandering the web.
After all this rambling, I guess that's a long enough introduction for what it is that I feel like I discovered. I'm treating it with so much suspense that it makes it seem like a long lost treasure but I promise it's nothing that exciting. No, I didn't locate Atlantis or prove that aliens are real, but to me this was impacting to say the least. To make my search for this image even more difficult, the only articles I could find to describe it were in different languages. This may be me being an idiot and over tired due to the fact that my search ended at 2:30am, but I found it in the best way I could.
I found a Romanian article and translated the entire thing through Google, and from what I was able
to find I was glad that I dedicated so much to my search. Some of you may already know this picture and its meaning, but it's a concept that I have not yet learned and it truly empowered me to live my life differently than I currently am. Through the translation that I was able to find, the picture held a lot more than I originally thought.
It describes a category of people who are so empathetic that they feel the emotions of those around them. The people who show exaggerated empathy and need to protect themselves from the emotions of others and learn to take care of themselves. It addresses these people specifically and teaches them how to focus on self-care and to rid themselves of the people who cause trauma to their generally positive state of mind. Essentially, when you become overly connected with others, especially those with pains similar to yours, you in turn attract unsolved emotional situations in ourselves.
Emotional vampires are people who are difficult to bare for overly empathetic people. Different types of emotional vampires include the critic, who are those that express the unfavourable opinion of things. There's also the victim, who fabricates victimhood for a variety of reasons, such as justification of abuse of others, manipulation of others, or a coping strategy for attention seeking. There's the narcissist, who has excessive interest in or admiration of themselves, and the controller, who determines the behaviour or supervises the running of others.
Find the Margins and Stay There
You must allow yourself to escape. You must ensure your mental well being. Find out how much you are able to stay in one place, as some situations may be too overwhelming. Make sure you don't have to rely on other people to get out of difficult situations, and establish boundaries with those who overwhelm you.
Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
1. Find Positive People and Positive Situations
Listen to those hopeful
Listen to the faith they have
Listen to beautiful words, songs, and positive art forms
Hope is contagious and will raise your morale.
2. Grow positive emotions that enhance your inner strength
Respect your own needs
Maintain a healthy sense of self love
Manifest empathy in a healthy way for you
3. Learn to use compassion as a way to defend yourself against overwhelming emotions
Allows empathy to others conditions
But first requires compassion for yourself
4. You do not have to feel guilty when you take a break for yourself
Keep yourself whole by not sinking into the world of negative people
I did not realize how much impact this picture would have on me until the early hours of the next day when I had deciphered the Romanian article explaining it. I'm not describing myself to be to most empathetic person you will ever come across, but I do believe that we as people can be easily effected by other peoples emotions. Yes, I am young, and many more life altering things will present themselves in my life. I have a long road ahead of me, I know. However, nothing like this has ever made me so mindful of how I present myself to other people. The immense amount of influence we have on one another is something that is truly interesting to me and I feel like this concept broke it down seamlessly. Yes, it may apply to only certain people, yet it struck me significantly close to home. Im not sure if this will be valuable to whoever may be reading this, but I found this theory quite moving and instead of it being hidden in a Romanian article, I decided to give it my own kind of breakdown. This needed to be shared, so here I am sharing it.
This is the link to where I found the photo if you care to translate the website yourself, or even do some more research. I think its worth looking into if you're truly interested!
A lot of the articles surrounding the topic are foreign, but I'm sure there are English journals with the same concept breakdown out there that you can find with more research. However, I found enough with translating this article to understand the meaning of the photo that initially caught my eye.