For quite a while, I struggled through life. I was surrounded by abusive people, day in and day out. I was unaware of my empathic abilities. I was hyper-defensive and unnecessarily judgmental. I was angry and I took things personally.

After some intense life shifts paired with the realization that I am an empath, I continued to struggle. I was in this middle ground of self-awareness where things began to click, life started to make sense and I was recognizing who I was apart from how I spent a lifetime being defined. Yet, I was still affected by those defining me. On the inside I knew who I was. But on the outside, I still gave others the power to tell me what was true and what was not. Every encounter had me frazzled and filled with self-doubt. So instead, I just didn’t want to speak to anyone.

I was self-aware and alone.

Through slowly gaining the courage to write about my struggles on the very public internet from the private cocoon of my home, I found others who were in the same boat. Those who had heard terms like “intuitive” and “empathic” and related, but who were too frightened to apply it to themselves. Hokey, fake, crazy, pseudo-science. Together, we worried about these labels. We worried if we accepted who we were, that these negative tags would come right along with it.

But an amazing thing happened when we all connected. We unknowingly gave one another the strength to work through the fears. We focused on the terms we would use to define ourselves and gave the negative labels less power.

Soon, I felt stronger. Rid of the abusive individuals who were so incessant on defining me and armed with the knowledge to recognize abusive language, I stood on my own. I spoke my truth. I told my story. I broke free of the mainstream, the narrow-minded and the judgments and I realized that the only one who can define me is me.

I am an empath. I am intuitive. I am a clairsentient. I am highly sensitive.

And no words that any other human being chooses to apply to me will ever change my truth. Some days I may falter and go back to believing that the definitions of others matter. But on those days, I hold fast, knowing my truth and knowing that I will always come back to it.