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A Guide to Love, God, Prayer, Meditation, & Peace Within You—Right Now

When Empathy Causes Pain

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Genene: “Please, could you help me to understand how to not pick up on my husband’s health issues when I am close by him? I feel his pain in different parts of my body and I am unsure how to clear this energy from myself. I would really appreciate your kind assistance.”

The Voice for Love: “Dearest Precious Heart, thank you for seeking guidance and understanding in this matter. Let us look at this together and sort through the pieces.

“To feel pain when another is suffering can be an expression of great love. Love empathizes and cares and is concerned and seeks to heal and help. Yet, as you are experiencing, this is not helping you nor your dear one and, it is, in fact, causing you distress. How then may you be in empathy with your husband without feeling his pain? Is it loving to simply stand aside and know of his illness while you are well? Is it loving to not have pain when your loved one does? These are questions of your heart, asked from love.

“To empathize with another does not mean you must share in their suffering. You experience this as something that just happens and that you cannot help, but in fact, it is a question of choice. It has not seemed so, for the process occurring for you up to now has been an unconscious one. But once a pattern becomes conscious (as this has for you), then a conscious choice can be made to change it. You seek to love your husband wholly, but this does not require merging with his experience.

“It is a question of boundaries, my dear one. This may sound unloving at first, the thought of placing a boundary between yourself and one you love. And yet, the true meaning of boundaries is not keeping others out, but choosing what comes in. A boundary is not a wall but a door, which can be opened or closed as you choose. Boundaries do not imprison you but rather free you to be fully who you are. Your real question is not how to be near your husband without feeling his pain. Rather it is how to love your husband fully and completely and generously and from your whole heart without suffering because he is suffering.

“Again, we reiterate, you do have a choice in this matter, though it may not seem so as yet. You have become conscious of this pattern and so now you may change it. When you are near your husband, and pain arises within you, you will need to become still and silent and go within. You will need to see this pain as knocking at the door of your heart, and yourself stepping outside the door and closing it behind you. This is not unkind or unfeeling, rather now you can choose to hold the pain outside of you rather than taking it in as your own.

“Practice this when you are not with your husband. Close your eyes and imagine one of his symptoms as something you can hold like a frail and fragile kitten, and simply hold it in your hands. You are acknowledging its presence without merging with it. You are holding it outside of your own body with care and concern, without becoming it. Imagine each of your husband’s ailments as small and helpless creatures which you can hold in your hands with love, yet all the while knowing that they are not you. Imagine yourself pouring your own strength and good will and pure unbridled healing energy into them as you hold each one.

“As you practice this when alone, then when you are with your husband you will have the experience and the feeling of this process already within you to draw upon. See yourself consciously choosing what you will do with the knowing of his pain. See yourself as powerful and able to choose. You are not simply a sponge absorbing the experience of another who is near you. You are a powerful creator who chooses her experience. Your husband’s health issues can be your opportunity to experience yourself differently, to love with power and choice. You can choose to be fully present to your husband’s experience, and at the same time to be true to your own.

“Blessings be unto you, Precious One, as you embark upon this holy work within yourself. Thank you for seeking another, higher way to explore and experience your life. Do not fear, but step forth in the power of your true nature, which is Love Itself.”