This could also be titled Empath sabotage type 8: sainthood. (It’s not). I’ve enjoyed writing that series on how empathic or highly sensitive people commonly get hung up on relational, emotional, mental, spiritual, and other such barriers towards their path to self-discovery and self-actualization (or, enlightenment).
You see, whether you want to admit it or not, growth is not a straight line. Put in the effort from your end and watch the results add up is not how it works on dense planet Earth. There are constant wrenches thrown in the mix, banana peels, slip ups, mishaps, lessons to learn, and adversaries to recognize and overcome (yes, not everyone has good intentions and sometimes acts on their ill feelings). I can get in the head of an empath in this sense quite well because I have lived all of this myself and have watched my clients struggle with such subconscious challenges, but weren’t ever able to put their finger on them.
It reminds me of an interview I was watching a while back between two military personnel. They came from opposing ideologies and locations and yet they shared a common mission. And the interviewee made a statement that stuck with me. When asked whether good people sometimes have to make decisions that could hurt others in order to protect themselves or others, the one interviewed said, “There are no saints in this Universe”. It was as if the interviewer expected to hear, “good is prevailing. Good people are out there. Don’t even think about the bad.” Or, “good people only ever do good.” But that wasn’t the sentiment.
The sentiment was that no matter where you go, there may always be good and evil; stop working so hard to be a saint on earth, it’s occupying too much of your time (or stress level). Start worrying about the fair, just, and most healthy course of action to take for yourself at the time. Sometimes, there are causalities. Sometimes people drop out of the race. Sometimes, you discover enemies. It’s no one’s job to be a saint, and yet we devote so much of our time to protecting this image or blaming ourselves when we are not. Or, we do everything to avoid having others point out that we are not.
I thought back to all of the extremely sensitive, emotionally empathic people I know through work and life. They all had saintly energy, as well as saintly images to match. Squeaky clean, kind as anything, loving, and compassionate people who trusted, listened, and reciprocated. They weren’t putting on a facade — that is who they genuinely are. The only problem was that they also felt they had to work hard to be absolutely perfect or no one would love or respect them. That someone would call them out as “imperfect” and still in their ego; that they would be frauds.
In some ways, it was as if the empaths had internalized the idea that inner peace or outer peace could not be achieved because they themselves were still imperfect. “Oh you think you’re so perfect? Remember when you did ____________” as an excuse for someone’s bad behavior. They thought others would point out their supposed weaknesses as soon as they stood up for their ethics or morals, as soon as they shared some pearls of wisdom. It was a way for others to ignore the light because the light was, well, refracted.
You are not here to be a saint. You are not here to be a saint for someone else. You are not a fraud if you cannot be perfect 100% of the time. Sometimes, you’re gonna have to fight. Sometimes, you may need to get loud in order to make sure the right thing is achieved. Sometimes you’ll choose the wrong thing — usually without realizing it. Sometimes you will make enemies in the process. But if your the end goal is a healthy one for the greater good, you cannot control the external circumstances. Let the cards fall as they may. You are not a saint and sometimes the end goal is more important than attaining perfection in the day-to-day. Don’t let the fear of not being a saint keep you from trying life. “There are no saints in this Universe.”