Surviving Life As An Empath
…Thriving when you are energetically sensitive.
"As empaths we are not here to be sponges or enablers. We are here to be helpers, guides and supporters."
· Are you able to tell what someone is feeling just by being in their presence?
· Do you get overwhelmed by the energy in public places like hospitals and shopping centres?
· Can you automatically sense and take in the energies and emotions of those around you unintentionally?
· Do you have a sensitive heart and are easily drained by emotional interactions?
· Do you feel the pain of other people when they are talking about a situation as though you were there too?
If you can relate to one or more of these then chances are that you are an empath.
Life as an Emotional Sponge
People who are in caring professions or service professions such as healers, nutritionists, nurses, kinesiologists, and coaches - people who are drawn to helping others are frequently empaths and often higher souls. To be good at these types of jobs you need to be able to relate to people and to connect to what someone else is going through.
Regardless of your job, you can still be an empath. Being an empath is a strength, but life can be hard when you are able to so keenly identify other peoples’ energies. Challenges can arise if you don’t know how to detach from other peoples’ energy and unless you know the difference between your energy and other people’s. All of this might sound simple but it isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially if you have spent a lifetime merging your energy with other people and taking on their energy.
Dr Judith Orloff has done a lot of research in this area. She describes empaths as “emotional sponges” – people who feel deeply and are deeply attuned to the feelings of other people. However, if you are always aware of what other people are feeling you can often be overwhelmed and lose touch with what YOU are feeling.
Why are Some People Empaths?
Being an empath is an energetic exchange. It happens mainly through the solar plexus chakra. This is our seat of personal power and our sense of self, our confidence, and who we are. For many reasons, including patterns of running energy created in childhood, we may grow up believing that it is more important to know how others are feeling than how WE feel.
A healthy solar plexus has a balance of energy flowing outward and connection to our core self. But, if we habitually feel unsafe as children, then we can create patterns whereby we abandon what we are feeling and experiencing in a given situation. All of our energy and attention goes into the outward environment. We are on high alert and constantly tuning into those around us trying to assess how others around us are feeling so we know whether we are safe or not.
Closely related will be the habit of taking on the energy of other people and perhaps losing touch with what we think and feel in the process. We will learn this as children because we don’t want to see our parents or siblings in pain so we will take on their pain and energy trying to lessen theirs and thus restore peace in our home environment.
What Belongs to Me, Anyway?
If this goes on for long enough we may lose a vital skill of being able to know the difference between our energy (what is ours) and other peoples’ energy (what is not ours). Steven Kessler has some great work in this area and considers this a fundamental energy skill. How can you speak up for yourself if you are not sure what you are feeling and someone else’s opinions are in your field? If you go home at the end of your day and don’t feel right, you need to know if the energy is your own or has nothing to do with you and is something you picked up from a co-worker.
In summary, as an unhealed empath, you may leave interactions still carrying other peoples’ emotions or let their preferences, beliefs, and expectations impact your decisions. Some empaths unconsciously feel that it is their job to carry, fix, or transmute the emotions and energies that those around them cannot. This can be a heavy burden to carry and what is the price to one’s own journey when we constantly place other peoples’ energetic needs ahead of our own?
The life of an unhealed empath is somewhat like being a small boat buffeted about on the ocean by large waves. Constantly overwhelmed by others’ experiences and struggling to find your centre. In contrast, a healed empath is exactly what the world needs more of – intuitive and perceptive yet grounded and able to hold their own energy separate to others. From this place, you are unstoppable and poised to make a difference in the world.
Here are my top survival tips.
1. Know What Belongs to You
Learn to identify what energy is yours and what belongs to someone else. To do this you also need to know how to connect with your core or centre, which is where the essence of you resides. With practice, you can identify what is yours and what is someone else’s. Also, you need to start to notice where your “edge “ is –i.e. the edge of your energy field. Empaths merge energies very easily which is great for connection, but you also need conscious awareness of where your energy starts and where someone else’s begins or you will lose yourself too easily and not be able to reclaim your own energy.
2. Ground Your Energy
Ground your energy daily so that you can stay strong in your own energy field and get used to being in your own energy and what it feels like when it flows well. This will help you not to be overwhelmed or flooded too easily by the energy of others. Learn to speak up for yourself and to set a boundary when you sense your energy is starting to merge in an unhelpful way.
3. Respect Your Unique Gifts and Set Boundaries
It takes time to work with and develop the ability to be empathic and not have it control you. Appreciate that your energetic sensitivity is a gift. Learn about your childhood and why you needed to focus your energy outward in order to survive – it helps to know why we are the way we are. But you need to have boundaries around your energy and be able to choose when to merge and when to separate. Most empaths need to learn boundary setting as merging their energy is a natural way of being in the world but all healthy and individuated adults need boundaries.
4. Create an Energy Protection Toolkit
Lastly, have a tool kit of options you can pull out before you enter an energetically loaded situation or once you identify that you are ungrounded, or that you are carrying others energy and be able to clear it.
This might include:
· Essential oils (eucalyptus is very good for clearing and cutting ties),
· Warm Epsom salt baths (salt is a cleanser and purifier of energies)
· A cord-cutting and/or energy purifying visualisation you can do.
· Also, working daily to ground and protect your energy and reinforcing this before you enter a meeting, party, negotiation,
Remember that life as an empath is still sometimes a challenge because we feel everything and are deeply sensitive but we have the tools to heal and once we have clear boundaries and greater energetic awareness we are left with the ability to connect deeply with others and make a difference in the world.
If you want to stay in touch you can find me at www.justinepeacock.com.au and you can also join me at my Facebook group “Consciousness Women’s Collective” where you will find tools and resources as well as information on how to work with me.