By Rachel Puryear
Let’s discuss a deeply challenging subject for empaths, which we rarely talk about but very much need to. That is anything having to do with money. Empath or not, everyone needs some money. Empaths, however, tend to be less comfortable than most non-empaths about addressing finances.
There is no need for us empaths to shy away from money matters. We should have it, and we should also want to have it. So let’s look at an overview of this blog’s upcoming series of posts about empaths and finances.
Many empaths go through life struggling with money. This is true even though they are usually intelligent and capable people. Let’s explore some of the reasons why.
(1) We Tend to Feel Needlessly Guilty About Having Money:
It doesn’t make you greedy or selfish to want to have money – it’s a perfectly legitimate acknowledgement of a need we all have. There is no need for guilt or shame in pursuing having enough money, or in building wealth.
Yet, many empaths associate money with greed and selfishness; in part because of associating it with people who got very rich exploiting people, the planet, and institutions. However, these people who got wealthy through exploitation and greed are not empaths, and empaths because of their nature are unlikely to ever become this way.
Empaths often feel the opposite of a sense of entitlement when it comes to money and wealth. They tend to feel that they simply do not deserve wealth, and sometimes that there is even something shameful about having it. This belief creates an energy around a person that repels wealth and abundance, even when the person has other factors in their favor that should help them attract wealth (such as education, skills, connections, opportunities).
Empaths’ tendency towards anti-entitlement is also rooted partly in knowing that there is so much poverty and need in the world, and empaths often feeling uncomfortable with having wealth when they believe that it could alleviate someone else’s poverty if others had it instead. While this sentiment comes from an incredibly goodhearted place, it is not a reason to impoverish oneself – this will not help anyone.
In fact, empaths are much more likely to use money they have to do good, and to help others and good causes as well as themselves. However, as the next section will discuss, empaths must also be cautious. (A future post in this series will explore shifting to a healthier mindset around finances for empaths.)
(2) We Often Need Better Boundaries Around Money with Others:
We empaths tend to want to help others. Quite often, we help others before helping ourselves. That admonition about putting your own oxygen mask on first tends to go right over our heads.
As brought up in the previous section, we tend to feel unworthy of having wealth and other advantages while others lack the same, humbly seeing ourselves as no better than others (maybe even seeing ourselves as lesser). Accordingly, we may view it as our obligation to give what we have to others, even if it means we ourselves are left with not enough.
We as empaths deserve financial well-being as much as anyone else, and we must remember that. Most non-empaths don’t need to be told such things – but empaths tend to need reminding, because of their tendencies towards anti-entitlement as previously described.
I don’t want to discourage empaths from helping others, financially or otherwise. However, it is important to help selectively, and to only give of ourselves to others who are deserving and would do the same for us given a chance. (A future post in this series will address more about good financial boundaries with other people.)
(3) We Are Often Not Cut Out for a Lot of the High-Paying Careers:
Many professions known for high pay also come with lots of stress, high pressure, and long hours. (As do many not-so-high-paying occupations.) Of course, these expectations are not easy for most people to meet. But for empaths, this pattern tends to quickly lead to burnout – and empaths who force themselves to grin and bear it are likely to suffer health problems more quickly than their more neurotypical peers. Therefore, empaths need to choose careers carefully, and also be on the lookout for ways to earn money that fit our needs and personalities (this will be explored further in a future post).
(4) But We Also Sometimes Overlook Opportunities to Make Money:
(4a) Empaths Should Not Necessarily Dismiss Difficult Careers, Provided They are Well Prepared:
Many professions which are potentially lucrative but also famously grueling – including medicine, veterinary, law, social work, and teaching – could actually benefit greatly from what empaths have to offer. The problem is, empaths tend to become quickly worn down in these occupations.
However, some empaths do go into such professions and make it work. Here is what I have observed about these people:
They feel a calling to the profession, rather than entering them because of outside pressure (pressures like family expectations, people telling them they are obligated to go into a difficult field just because they are smart).
They don’t need anyone to tell them to do it, they decide to go into that work on their own. They have a plan – they understand the downsides of the profession and have thought through how to manage them, and they have research employers in their field and found ones that will be a good fit for them to work for.
Often, they will work for nonprofits, or companies which share their values and offer them needed flexibility. A word of caution, though – not all nonprofits or companies branding themselves in glowing terms have empath-friendly cultures – researching any entity before working for them is important. (A future post will address good careers for empaths, as well as tips for empaths in making career changes.)
(4b) Financial Education is Critical for Empaths as Much as Anyone Else:
Many empaths neglect learning how to manage their money. Often this is because of negative associations around money as discussed in #1, or because we are more interested in things like our creative pursuits or managing our close relationships. We need to learn how to take care of our finances in order to provide for ourselves well, to do what we want in life, and to have options and security. (A future post will explore further in depth money management for empaths.)
(5) We Can Forget How Much Good We Do When We Have Money:
Money in the hands of empaths will generally tend to do good. Whether we use it to take care of ourselves, our families and loved ones, or to further good causes; we usually make the world a better place with it in ways big and small. The main instances where that’s not true is when we are manipulated into giving it to people who want to take advantage of us and misuse it, as referenced in #2.
Empaths as a whole tend to be generous and giving. In compensating others, we tend to value others’ hard work and pay them accordingly. If empaths managed most of the world’s wealth, economic justice and equity would be far more widespread than it is.
So if it helps to remember this in all you do managing your finances, I hope this reminder will always serve you well. And stay tuned for a future post about how managing money well can helps empaths do even more good in the world.
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