What I Want My Sensitive And Empathetic Child To Know

by Kelli McCarty
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You are the first to pick up you sister’s pacifier when it falls to the ground. You are the first to ask me if I’m okay when I bump my arm. You are the first to notice when a child is crying and wonder why they are upset. You are the first to put others first — because that is who you are. You are a sensitive, empathic, caring, and ultra-kind child.

You feel all the feels.

You want to make others feel better. When I’m sad, you feel my sadness. You are so sensitive to others’ feelings and emotions. Sometimes so much so, that we can’t watch certain shows or movies… because you feel what the characters feel and sometimes even that’s too much. And I’m OK with that, because your empathy is working — working all too good.

And we love empathy in our house. We read about it, I write about it, and we all try to practice it throughout the day. And you have mastered it my love, even at your young, tender age.

And this empathy of yours will lead you to help an isolated classmate being bullied at school. Your empathy will lead you to your interest in community service and volunteerism to help others less fortunate than you. And your empathy will make you the best friend, best partner, and best mother, anyone would ever want.

You see, nothing makes me more proud as a mother than to know I am raising a child who really cares about others. Because being able to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes has the power to change the world for the better.

And nothing makes me more terrified as a mother than to know I am raising a child who really cares about others. Because being able to truly feel what another feels is draining. And there are times, sweet one, that this world will take advantage of this endless give that you have to give.

See, our friend empathy also has a dark side. A dark side that often goes unnoticed because of the sheer altruistic beauty of empathy. But my dear, you need to know about this dark side. A dark side that can make you appear weak, a dark side that some will want to take advantage of because you are oh so caring.

So when you tell me “no!”, sometimes I am okay with it. Because you need to find your voice. You need to find your boundary. And once you find that boundary, don’t let anyone cross it. Not even for a minute.

Because being empathic does not mean others have the right to walk all over you. Being kind does not mean that you don’t get to take a stance on things — especially things that matter. Truly caring for others does not mean you don’t truly care for yourself.

So find your boundary, my kind girl. Make this world a better place because you truly care about the lives of others. And make this world a better place because you also have a voice and boundary to stick up for yourself and for others.

Keep feeling what others are feeling — feel their joy, feel their pain, and feel their love. Because there is nothing like a shared experience with another human. Be empathic. And find your boundary too, oh sweet one.