Having a hard time being an empath ?I know many friends & clients who struggle with this ability that, sometimes can seem like a curse more than a gift . In my own experience I have seen it come from a highly compassionate place and morph into anxiety if not nurtured well. I have also seen some fellow acquaintances in the spiritual community unfortunately use it as a way to get attention- be it from interpreting others or giving their power to readily too others.
Actually I find this to be one of the empaths biggest lesson – The Giving away of power too readily to others.
The second one would be – To truly own one’s personal power with deep presence .
We will get into each of these in a second but for now lets define what its like to be an empath. (See if you can relate)
The word empath hasn’t had many scholarly or psychological definitions and is therefore just refereed to as a ‘paranormal’ ability. However it is more common than most think in our society and also common in particularly women. The lack of definition has left many empaths feeling alone and weird whereas empathy is infact a needed human trait. After listening to one audio done by Brene Brown’s (A shame and vulnerability researcher), I understood empathy as the ability to FEEL WITH others.
Empaths often feel what others are feeling as they are more aware to the cues of body language, tone of voice, and even the intention behind actions. This awareness brings with it an acute sensitivity to others mainly because they are translating what others are feeling and reflecting sometimes so closely they can feel others as themselves. And it is sometimes to draw the line where others end and they begin.
Empaths are essential to our society because they remind us that we are always connected through our feelings, emotions and energy. Even through the mass majority of our society that is numb, too tired to act, complacent, submissive and controlled by our social structure.
Often times an empath can get lost in the feelings, emotions and thoughts of others due to their acute awareness. When I personally discovered that I was an empath, I found it interesting that I could connect to others in this way, however, I always ended up in my day drained from processing other peoples problems or even worse trying to be their saviour. And this leads me to my first point.
Empaths don’t need to feel as though they have to save the world.
-Just because they can feel the words pain and need for change. This was an essential lesson for me too, in shedding the matyr complex – where I falsely believed that I was the sacrificial lamb for everyone else. One can only save the world if they are healthy, in their power,and taking good emotional care of themselves. Not guilt-ing themselves for the state of the world. And my second point…
Sometimes empaths can feel that they are to cause for everyones problems and that they must be feeling this way as a punishment for something they did. This can’t be further from the truth. This is usually an obstacle that comes from recognizing ones own power and owning it- rather than constantly looking outside ourselves for validation. Building a healthy self esteem is key.
Without a healthy self esteem, and by this I mean a clear sense of one’s self- being an empath can lead to confusion and anxiety. Because it can be hard to tell the difference between other peoples ‘stuff’ and our own personal ‘stuff’. The best way to begin to overcome this is taking the steps to become more present in the Now. Meditation helps quite bit ( see my last post on Practicing Intimacy through Mediation for more).
Another way of becoming more present is to become more engaged with the environment through the five senses. Notice the colour, temperature, textures, sounds, and quality of the environment. What does this moment look like? Are there any scents? Noticing the breath? How about depth of colour? Can you taste anything ? This can help bring one to the present moment.
Another point is recognizing the value of boundaries . As one becomes more present with themselves through practices that bring them to the now moment like meditation, they begin to build an understanding and friendship with themselves. They are also able to know the types of things that trigger their need for change. I always explore – What stories of the past they are keeping them from the now moment? , how they have been programmed by society and decipher what messages their e-motions are trying to share? It takes knowing one’s self to establish healthy boundaries of what feels right and how far is too far. And it takes even more courage to communicate them, like having the courage to say – No to others. ( see my blog on the importance of boundaries )
Lastly, Empaths need to recognize that we are only mirrors to each other and that what is felt from others doesn’t need to be internalized. This can be tough, especially with those we love and are close to us.
We can feel with others without needlessly sacrificing ourselves. (This is important to remember)
One way I distinguish others feelings from my own is taking a moment to breathe, and saying to the new feelings wherever I’m feeling them in my body “Thank you for the information, and I release you with a love that requires no force”. This is one way I take back my power, honour the message and come back to deep presence. Releasing is a constant ritual for me as an empath.
How do you cope with being an empath?