Skip to main content

Podcast Episode 01 - Empath Unplugged with Esther Bertram

Is it Crucial to be Selfish?

In this episode of Empath Unplugged, Esther Bertram asks the question: is it crucial to be selfish? She begins by explaining what an empath is and how they are often taken advantage of because of their caring and giving nature. She goes on to say that being an empath does not mean that you have to be a doormat or a pushover, but that it is important to set boundaries and to be aware of your own needs. She shares some tips on how to do this, and how to find a balance between being selfless and selfish. This episode is sure to inspire and empower empaths everywhere to start taking care of themselves! Be sure to stay tuned to the end because Esther also plays an original song live!

Become a Patron & Join the Inner Circle

Full Transcription

00:01
Esther Bertram
Welcome to empath unplugged. A frequent release podcast of RAW and philosophical reflections on wellbeing, love and the meaning of life brought to you by your host, Esther Bertram, founder of The Insel, a rejuvenation island and community, for empaths. Expect topics such as philosophy, psychology, art, culture, spirit, science, holistic health and the occasional beach fire song to be part of your wonder ride to your Oceanside escape. It's time to breathe in the salty air and bask in the soothing, warm sun to relax, reflect and vibe along with a fellow empath to rejuvenate. Good morning listeners. Welcome to podcast. Episode number. One of Ampath unplugged. I'm sitting here looking at the beautiful ocean this morning from the inzel and it's a lovely day in Queensland.
00:59
Esther Bertram
The sun is shining and the water is glistening and it feels like the perfect time to finally start. This podcast I've been meaning to do for quite a while. And I'm going to jump straight into the tofu and potatoes. My vegan saying for meat and potatoes of why I even wanted to start this podcast and it's about helping empaths to thrive in work, life and love. And one of the big questions that I come across and I've had to face in my own life is. How we learn how to put ourselves 1st and this episode is all about why it's absolutely crucial that we empaths learn how to put ourselves first.
01:47
Esther Bertram
So because we're by default setting born givers, it is so common for us empaths to be caught up and tangled in other people's agendas and wishes. And we say yes, quite easily. And we end up easily burning out and. Often we're not able to even see clearly what's going on in our own status of well being, because we're often so overwhelmed by all of the inputs and tangents were pulled on. Unless you learn how to ground and protect yourself and self nurture.
02:28
Esther Bertram
So a lot of what I'm doing now that I'm in my forties is about holistic well being. It took probably 2 decades of a. Long journey and ups and downs and around the world to realize just how important it is. I was already aware of it in my twenties, but like most of us Sensitive souls, I had to learn some of the hard lessons by going to some challenging places along the way which we might visit on some of the upcoming podcasts.
03:02
Esther Bertram
But today's problem I want to look at is. Trying to reframe what it is to put ourselves 1st and not seeing it as a selfish thing. I think as an empath, one of our things sometimes we're afraid of is when we do give to ourself that it can. We can feel guilty. Well I know I have. In the past I've felt cause I feel the feelings of others so much, sometimes stronger than my own.
03:31
Esther Bertram
I sometimes feel guilty to tune out from them and go into my own because sometimes their volume is so loud inside me that it just it feels unfair if I hear them louder than my own self. Of course I should be giving them my energy and attention and. This can lead to burnout very easily, and now that I'm a bit older, I've worked out a way to kind of protect myself from the overwhelming frequencies I've actually literally. Protected myself by moving to an island with a water all around and it feels like it's an energetic barrier to the mainland and a lot of frequencies that used to be quite overwhelming so.
04:21
Esther Bertram
It's really helped me to just be able to hear my own self louder because I have less interference from the outside. So if you're living in the city, I recommend anyway. Everybody we you guys probably already know this how important it is to spend time in nature and away from all of the. Energy and frequencies, and the interference that happens as an empath and taking your shoes off walking on the earth, feeling grounded and protected, anyway, let's jump into a bit more of what I want to talk about, so. I don't see it as selfish at all to give to ourselves first for this main reason.
05:08
Esther Bertram
As givers, we want to give like I want to give. I want to give the most I possibly can to the world to my loved ones to myself and. If you care about doing this on a sustainable level and on a in a sustainable way over a long period, you need to prioritize yourself first, because otherwise it's just not sustainable. You end up burning out, so if you just logically take away all emotion and just put it out logically. And weigh it up and you calculate how much can I give to the world if I calculate over a very long period if I'm optimized as a human 1st and then I'm able to give to my loved ones and contribute to the world, what is the sum total of that giving over a long period? If I'm able to sustain it compared to little bursts of intensity for others and often neglecting? My own well being and not even having any energy left to do something of meaning and contribute to the world.
06:20
Esther Bertram
What I worked out in my twenties. When I was again in a situation with a yeah, certainly quite narcissistic type character and very consuming i had, I hadn't had a partner like that for 10 years. I was with somebody when I was 19 that had similar characteristics and I swore I'd never do it again, but somehow I obviously needed to learn the lesson again 10 years later and I found myself in this situation with an extremely charming.
06:54
Esther Bertram
And clever and. Lovely on a lot of aspects person but extremely manipulative and destructive. Ultimately, thankfully it didn't last much more than a year and a half or something. But at that point I was in my twenties I worked out. I really need to find a method of analyzing my state, with people forming a theory. Basically that I could use as a reference point to know if I'm in a healthy situation, because I'm so pulled by my emotions.
07:35
Esther Bertram
I wanted to use more of my logic in my mind to create parameters that would secure me to know that this environment this relationship, this workspace this House is more conducive to my well being. And that gave birth to my a few theories. A few life theories, and I've been developing them over 20 years and I'm writing a book about them at the moment. But I'm gonna just jump into the Core 1 today, which is called the 1-2-3 theory which I created back then in my twenties around about the time of this relationship and.
08:16
Esther Bertram
The theory states for the most sustainable energy output long term. You need to keep the order of the 1-2-3 Now what does that mean? So number one is yourself, so we as individuals are number one number two is our loved ones, our closest sphere, our relationships, our very inner family. Number three is the world and our contribution and what energy we can give for the greater good the greater collective.
08:51
Esther Bertram
Now I worked out then that I was. I have always been a 2-1-3 I just and most empaths actually are and I've talked to many of them over the years and find they're either 2-1 threes or three two ones. So a 2-1-3 is someone who. Is extremely giving prioritising giving to their loved ones, their family, their boyfriends, their girlfriends and. They give so much to that then the number one which comes after two. Doesn't get a high priority, and what ends up happening is if you imagine them at different heights, OK, just say. Number one is that the height of 10 and number two is at a height of five and number three is at a height of three, so you've got a downward.
09:46
Esther Bertram
Trajectory, so if you're filled up as a number one like a spring of energy, it can beautifully flow into number two really, effectively and then on flow to number 3 when you're at 2-1-3 Two goes at the front at value 5 and then it has to go uphill to number one and it's nothing is remaining for number 3 cause the water the energy the flow just doesn't make it there so. When you're at 2-1-3 your whole life is usually consumed by that, giving to your inner space. The same goes for if you're a 3 to one and that's people who are very cause based driven.
10:34
Esther Bertram
They might be driven by their work or their mission in life or their cause, or changing the world. And you often come across these people that are so mission driven. They're either 3-2 ones or three, one twos where the cause. Is everything that they love and then secondary. They may have the leftover energy for their family. And they might burn out if they put number one at the very end they you know. Usually it's not a sustainable thing. They might. You know fully physically, burn out because they've been staying up too late, giving everything to their cause.
11:10
Esther Bertram
Equally they could be a 3-1-2 which is also not sustainable that their cause is the most important thing. Then after that they're very self centered and give energy to themselves and their family and friends. Really just never see them. And they. Basically, just live in their cause and their own world, so it's also not sustainable. All of these are possible, and I'm not judging any configuration. I just needed to work out a configuration that made sense to my inner storyteller. My narrative of trying to understand the world purely so I could work out how to live a more healthy life, because what I worked out is if I can be a 1-2-3 whereas.
11:59
Esther Bertram
One I prioritize my own well being. And I have another whole theory about how to do that called the five finger theory, which we'll get to in another podcast. But if I could generate. A state of being that is extremely holistically healthy. I have the maximum personal energy to give to my loved ones and. I probably shouldn't have put it on a value ten five because I don't mean that to number 2 has a lower value than one. So I I'm gonna give you a new mental construct to think about instead. So if you imagine.
12:39
Esther Bertram
A cube, imagine a Rubik's Cube, and it has six sides. And you imagine you are the number one. You are a cube that has all six sides in harmony and resonating. Underneath you is a cube that's slightly bigger and that is the number 2, so we'll make it bigger this time. If you're on the top cube, that energy can roll down into number two your loved ones. And when you're a holistically healthy human.
13:15
Esther Bertram
You often attract like a mirror to your soul. Friends family. And loved ones that mirror the state of being that you're in. Now I've tried this in my life over the last 20 years and I've found it. I've lived the truth of this theory and it's a very interesting thing. It takes a lot of self work and it's never ending. I'm everybody is still working on themselves forever more. I don't think we ever get anywhere, it's just all a process. But in my version of the process I have found that once I was able to just be a lot more balanced in the different fields of myself.
13:59
Esther Bertram
As a human. I have attracted friends and close loved ones that have a similar state of wholeness and that then becomes almost like if you imagine the Infinity sign of. Strong energetic flow, mutually beneficial connections end up getting attracted into your life when you from the inside. Have that within you almost like a fractal starts expanding so once that is flowing you have so much extra energy and love and power and time to give to number 3 which is your contribution to the world and.
14:39
Esther Bertram
Personally, I've always been driven to try to have positive impact for others. I think a lot of empaths are drawn towards positively impacting. The world and choosing careers where they can help others to thrive. Whether it's in a creative field or a caring field or a coaching field, we're drawn to doing what we know we would like to have for us, which is a holistic wellbeing and development towards achieving our highest potential and. I've always wanted to do that to the maximum that I can.
15:17
Esther Bertram
And I found that. When I've been able to get into a state of being what I call a 1-2-3 I have the most amount of time and energy for the three, so it's actually the least selfish thing I can do for the world. By prioritizing my own wellbeing. First because it then flows into mutually beneficial connections that are really beautiful and flowy. And then all that extra energy that's greater than the sum of the parts flows into the positive impact work that I do.
15:52
Esther Bertram
And although it sounds simple, the 1-2-3 I think it was da Vinci. That said, the highest form of sophistication is simplicity. It's notoriously hard to achieve, I I've I even though it's my own theory. It's not always easy in practice, and there's a lot of unlearning to be done and. A lot of. Yeah, new habits to form so. I used to be someone who said yes to everything. That's a common thing I've found with my empath friends as well that. Because we feel others wishes and we want to help them.
16:34
Esther Bertram
We want them to get to the best place they want to and they see us as giving people they will come to us and we. More often than not, we'll say yes. So this podcast today is. To help potentially give you a new framing of. Why it's OK to say no, and thinking about it more as a new way to then think about your energy and contribution long-term and a bigger impact, because if you're in your day-to-day saying yes to everybody who comes and knocks on your door. Or you see in the street, or you calls up on the phone or whatever. You will be actively being a 2-1-3 which means your whole world will just be about helping your closest people occasionally doing a bit of yoga and some deep breathing and whatever for yourself.
17:33
Esther Bertram
But that's probably about it because the next day the phone will ring again and someone will knock on the door and you'll be again serving their agenda, their needs and their wishes. And fitting your own well being in between wherever you can. There's no thought or even feeling or energy left often for the three or contribution. Your bigger impact of the world. This might not be the case for everybody. Maybe some people are so optimised they're able to just.
18:03
Esther Bertram
Be giving all the time to everybody and filling in all their well being and running high impact businesses. I think if you look deeper into it, most likely in my theory, they're probably one two threes and they're just so optimized in their one. That they're able to be very giving to the number twos, which is what happens when you're optimised. It's just like an engine. If you think about a. Car and when you take it to the mechanic and you work on all the parts and you give it a turbo boost and I don't know the best petrol you can and hopefully more electric car.
18:43
Esther Bertram
Let's put it in the new paradigm. A great electric car with everything optimised. You can seamlessly flow and give you have already so much energy just to speed along the road and get to your destination. And yeah, positively impact the world as well so yeah, my advice in this podcast is start. Questioning when you're next, ask something. About yes and no. A good. Actionable step you can take is when you're next asked to do something that you know is gonna take your time and your energy.
19:25
Esther Bertram
Put it on the 1-2-3 And think is this just to? Help this other persons. Mission and agenda and it will not bring you anything. Or is this going to feed your energy as well and it's gonna give you so much. Fulfillment that and you have the time and energy and you've been doing. You've got enough extra time because you've been doing so much self well being in all the domains of yourself that it's an easy thing to say yes to.
20:01
Esther Bertram
And it just might be as simple as just having that awareness and realising if you want to become a 1-2-3 or not. It's just a mental construct because that's what we do in life. We create ways to understand reality, and that's a construct that I worked out for myself. Purely because I was tired of being in a relationship that was so consuming and it's so easy as empaths to. Accidentally be drawn into it even now, even though I made this theory up 20 years ago, I've consciously thought about it. I've dove deep into it on many occasions.
20:46
Esther Bertram
My default setting is still 2-1-3 It's so funny I feel these days I'm pretty much a really good 1-2-3 most of the time, but it's still a challenge. It helps living on an island. I'm quite a hermit these days, so I'm kind of cheating in a way. I'm not really that integrated to normal reality, but it's so curious, like if I'm, you know, down at the ferry terminal and if someone asks me. For something like the other day, someone was asking about a video editing thing and my default setting is always yes.
21:22
Esther Bertram
But yeah, sometimes these days I'm a lot more conscious of it and I. Check, in whether it's going to. Be conducive to my holistic wellbeing. Because I don't want to be burnt out and I want to give big energy to my loved ones and the world over a sustainable period. So I guess the final takeaway is empaths are born givers. But if you want to maximize.
21:53
Esther Bertram
The potential output of your giving it starts from within, like a spring of energy, and it flows into a waterfall and others can bathe in those waters, and you can give the output to the world. But if you do not give to yourself first. You can you can just burnout an exception. I must put this in here is being a parent. And I know that when you have children, I don't have any children myself, but I work with children in two of the companies I work with and I know they obviously for the time you're a parent you are almost forced into being a 2-1-3 but I would still argue that to be a power parent or a strong super parent.
22:46
Esther Bertram
Being a 1-2-3 can really help your children as well because they have an energy source they can rely on and lean on and. Be under the wing of which is another wonderful, beautiful thing. But there's these nuances. I mean, it is just a mental construct theory that. It's yeah, it's a. It's a flowing thing that you know that sometimes in a short, shorter period you definitely have to be at 2-1-3 or even in a pandemic. You have to be a 3 to one. You have to do things for the collective that you might not have wanted to do before.
23:28
Esther Bertram
For example, if one of my friends one of my best friends in the world over in England, I'm in Australia was really unwell and needed me. It would, I would wouldn't need to. I would be there immediately and. That would be me being a 2-1-3 for them for the period that they need me and I feel like that is absolutely how it should be, because that's what you do for friends in need. But it's more about the general default setting in your day to day life, so your normal work week or your normal life week. What is a good status to have while you're just at home and nothing too crazy is going on for me personally.
24:13
Esther Bertram
I'm happiest when I'm a 1-2-3 and it's still not easy so. As a final summary, it's not selfish to give to yourself first. It's actually securing your ability to give to others in a way that's sustainable, and the sum total of giving over the long term ends up greater than short term. Prioritising others needs over your own. So with that said, I'm gonna finish with a funny little story that just blew my mind off.
24:49
Esther Bertram
Blew my mind open the other day and. I've been thinking about doing this podcast for quite a few years. I've written it in my intention books and I just there's been a lot going on in the last years. Hasn't been the right time. And I decided just last week, I think, just recently that it's time now I'm starting. And I thought because I've got a. Career of being a musician.
25:16
Esther Bertram
That's what I did in Europe for over a decade. And I studied songwriting at university and you've just done music my whole life. I've had a big break the last couple of years, but I thought I'm going to bring it in to the podcast as well since we're on the insulin on an island like having a beach via song. And I was just writing in my book a list of all my songs that I've done and I wondered, and I thought sometimes I'm going to end the podcast with this song. What song should I do first and? I thought of the song free mainly because of the first words it says.
25:54
Esther Bertram
I've never walked this road before. And then the weirdest thing happened. When I recalled, I'd already decided I'm going to start with that song because it just feels like I'm free from myself to actually get on and. Not be scared anymore and just make the podcast. It's like getting out of your own way. It's a song about getting out of your own way and this kind of liberation. Then when I practiced the song I just played it once the other day and the next line after that.
26:28
Esther Bertram
So the first line is. I've never walked this road before. I've never made a podcast before. There's a whole orless house with an open door. Now I wrote this song about 18 years ago. I was in Ibiza and just on a little holiday and. Then I never knew. This often happens to me. I never knew back then what those lyrics meant. Sometimes they just write and they just they just write themselves, they just come through in a way and. I have been now that I'm living on an island. I'm actually building a house at the moment and it's been an extremely long and drawn out process because of the pandemic.
27:13
Esther Bertram
Because we live on an island, it's hard to get materials at the moment in Australia, so it's really drawn out. So the slab got done last year. Earlier this year the frame got done and it's been sitting there just with this frame. And when I set the words. I've never walked this road before. There's a Wallaces house with an open door. Then it just hit me about I'm it's literal.
27:41
Esther Bertram
It's my house with there's no walls and then open door and I thought I wrote this song 18 years ago I never knew what it meant. I randomly willies it. Random, who knows deep, subconscious chose it to be the first song that I'm going to play on my podcast. Then when the lyrics i just it was one of those synchronicities that I just. Yeah, I've been a bit, yeah, blown away from it all week.
28:11
Esther Bertram
Anyway, I thought I'd tell you that story. And yeah, I might finish today's podcast with that song and. Yeah, the Wallis House has never had more meaning than it does right now. Alright, I hope you've enjoyed this podcast and I'll sing you the song. And yeah, I look forward to telling you more about my journeys and helping you along your empath path through my own experiences. And sharing some vibes with you. Ok, just a heads up two things. One, I haven't been playing music for about five years, so I'm hoping it's like riding a bike too.
28:56
Esther Bertram
Although this is a simple song, it's a bit like the theory. It's also really tricky to play, so I haven't made my task easy, so please forgive the little errors and bendings of time and tuning. Hopefully the essence still comes through. I've never walked this road before. Ther's a walless house with an open door. My heart is clear but my mind's unsure. Destiny knows what this is full. I am free. From my self finally. I am free. That's the key. Hey yeah yeah. We enter space of pure love. Our boundaries melt like a set free dove. Once in a while. We cry for love. So many times. You sacrifice for love.
32:17
Esther Bertram
Now you're free. From yourself finally. Now you're free. That's the key hey yeah. Now I'm free from myself finally. I'm free. That's the key. OK that was free. And he got to learn about the wireless house from 18 years ago. It seems like a good wine. It wasn't meant to be really born until right now because it finally actually makes sense. And yeah, I thank you for being with me on this journey.
33:55
Esther Bertram
The my first episode of getting out of my own way and just getting on with it and starting this podcast. I hope it's brought you value and I look forward to sharing a space with you in the upcoming episodes. Bye bye. Today's episode is sponsored by Step by Step guitarlessons.com You'll go to course if you're an absolute beginner and want to learn guitar. I have taught hundreds of students with my fast track method from ages 6 to 80 with lifetime access.
34:28
Esther Bertram
These self paced online lessons mean you can learn in the comfort of your own home. The bite sized lessons are very easy to follow and the platform keeps track of your progress. This course is tailored for absolute. Newbies and is much more effective than random YouTube videos or learning from your Uncle Steve, who may not have the patience required to teach at a true beginner's pace. You are guaranteed to get fast results, and if you don't like the learning style, there is a 30 day no questions asked. Money back guarantee. Plus, it only costs the price of two in-person lessons, but you get over 50. There are several studies that prove that learning a musical instrument is the only activity to light up almost.
35:12
Esther Bertram
All areas of the brain at once making music has the power to soothe your soul, heal your body and bring you true joy. Not to mention if you've always wanted to be a rock star, learning guitar is your ticket to do so if you're ready to learn or want to gift it to a friend, head over to stepbystepguitarlesson.com and enroll today. You've been listening to Empath Unplugged, a frequent release podcast of RAW and philosophical reflections on wellbeing, love and the meaning of life brought to you by your host.
35:48
Esther Bertram
Esther Bertram, founder of The Insel, a rejuvenation island and community for empaths. For more information or to join the community, head over to theinsel.com If you have found. Value from this episode and would like to become a patron to support future episodes and gain access to exclusive content. Only available to patrons head over to empathunplugged.com and sign up to be part of the inner circle. Thank you for listening. Have a beautiful and rejuvenating week till next time.
36:28
Esther Bertram
Bye bye.