When Self-Care turns into Self-Neglect

by Wendy Wolfe on July 1, 2015

When you’re a highly sensitive empath it can feel good to go off by yourself to a quiet place.  Extracting ourselves from other’s energy helps calm us.  I teach this “down time” as a strategy for taking care when life gets overwhelming.  But I’ve noticed how overuse of this strategy can send you into the dark murky waters of anxiety.

What starts out as self-care can easily become self-neglect. 

When healthy alone time turns to isolating oneself this strategy can actually make your sensitivity and anxiety worse.  There is healthy alone time and then there is unhealthy isolation.

As a solo-prenuer I had to recognize when it was time to reach out.  Working alone day after day even when talking with clients via the phone or Skype can send a person in a downward spiral without other connections.  I used to joke about needing to “get off the farm”.  As I began to see how I could shut down when not connecting personally with others, I learned a valuable lesson about energy and open hearts.

Have you ever experienced this?

You spend time alone and then become more fearful of getting back into the world.

Staying home alone starts feeling really comfortable.  You tell yourself things like “I’d rather be alone watching a movie than out with friends” or “I wouldn’t enjoy myself anyway”, and “They’re not like me”. It’s easy to go from here to all out depression.

You think this is coming from your sensitivity but I’m here to tell you that’s not the whole story.  There’s more going on. Feeling the energy and emotion of love

The problem is when we go from healthy alone time to isolation we unconsciously close down our hearts.  When we close down our hearts it allows our ego, aka small self, aka monkey mind to gain control of our thoughts.  That monkey is good at making up fearful stories that have no basis in reality. This is never a good thing.

A closed heart allows fear to take hold of our mind.  Our fearful thoughts make us feel separate and different from others.  The fearful thoughts begin taking up more space in our heads than thoughts connecting us to others. This in turn causes us to be more fearful of what others think, increasing social anxiety and thus increasing our fear of being with other people. Then when we do venture out with our closed down hearts and fearful thoughts…expecting to have a bad experience because we’re sensitive to energy… we attract the experience matching our expectations.  A vicious cycle ensues where our fear creates more experiences to show us how “right” we are about how difficult it is to be around others.

I’m not diminishing the reality of being energetically sensitive.  I’m suggesting when you open your heart and bring yourself out of isolation you’ll create more positive experiences and feel less affected by other energies.

Sensitive or not, we’re social animals.  We need our herd, pack, gander.  We’re designed to be with others.  As babies, lack of connection has serious health issues because we are wired to connect.

So how can we do this without feeling overwhelmed or fearful?

Begin by shoring up your energy first.  Practice the Energy Mastery guided meditation to maintain healthy energy on a daily basis.  Take time to generate a feeling of love and gratitude within your energy field and build your energy from this feeling.

Feeling the energy and emotion of love and gratitude allows you to open your heart.  (Keeping a daily gratitude journal helps keep the heart open too).

Reach out to a friend who is supportive and allow that connection to expand the openness of your heart.

Then Get Off the Farm with your heart open.

When you venture out into the world and connect with others from the heart, there is no energy drain.

With your heart open and your aura filled with loving energy you’re protected.   It’s your best protection from feeling overwhelmed or drained.

It’s your best strategy for feeling joy.

And yes, your heart will close down again, and again, and again.

And you can open it again, and again and again.

That’s what we’re here for. 

To live as much as possible with an open heart.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Krieg July 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I found this in the ‘On this day’ portion of my FB feed today, 7-2-17. So timely yet again. Thank you-it can be difficult to actually reach out, even when you are thinking that you know you need to.

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Wendy Wolfe July 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm

I love how we often get just what we need when we need it :-).

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