As an empath, I have found that the outside judgement from others is sometimes just as distressing as the internal chaos that is experienced. We have all heard statements such as "you're too sensitive," "maybe you're just co-dependent," "it's all in your head," or my favorite "it's just a trend." If these, or similar statements have ever been directed at you, it is in this moment I encourage you to release them.
Being empathic, to some, can feel like a curse. Some days, it feels like we have no control over the absorption of others. To an extent, we don't. Aura portraits, or Kirlian Photography has shown that the auric bodies of some empaths appear to be more porous when compared to others. The extra dedication and work needed to make up for this can be overwhelming for some. This is when the victim cycle can arise, and negativity around the subject can become enhanced from the energies that we create in our mindset. But this does not need to be the case.
Repeat after me - sensitivity is my superpower.
Say it aloud this time, sensitivity is my superpower.
In order to properly utilize our gifts throughout life, we must first understand them.
Webster's definition of empathy is (n). the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
But what does that mean to us?
As a baseline, empathy is the ability to understand and share another's reality. Every human being has this innate ability. We learn early on that energy is the information that moves, and every aspect of life is composed of it. Thoughts, objects, feelings, bodies and spirits are all affected and shared on different wavelengths.
To break it down, we have physical and subtle energies. Physically, our empathy is translated through a complex system of biochemicals and hardwired neurons. Our psychological profile is primarily body-based. Through this we send, receive and interpret empathically delivered information. Contrarily, our subtle energies (also referred to as intuitive, spiritual, psychic or mystic data) make up the bulk of the information that we give and receive empathically.
To put it simply, empathy produces concrete results but primarily occurs through the exchange of unseen information.
Accessing and interpreting this information can be very useful, but it is important to know that the level in which each individual absorbs this energy varies. Some people reside on one end of the spectrum known as under-empathy. These individuals aren't able to fully activate their empathic circuitry. The "under-empathetic" have a range of paths that they may end up on, but the purpose of this topic today is not found in those details.
On the other end of the spectrum you can find over-empathy. I personally have found myself here since a child. Before we are aware of the effects this has on us, we may find ourselves overwhelmed with the physical conditions, emotional entanglements and hidden beliefs of those around us. It's difficult to know if what is being experienced is a reflection of our own state or another's. This becomes even more complicated when we are also attuned to that of the unseen universe.
Bottom line, it can be harmful and isolating to be too "tuned in" as it is overly "tuned out."
Throughout my life I have found myself in states of contagion and empathetic absorption. Contagion is a term that social scientists use to describe the hyper-empathic condition in which one person's state of body, mind or soul catches fire in another. Empathic absorption happens when we soak up and hold onto so much of another's empathic data that we lose track of our own bodily needs, feelings, knowledge or value system. By allowing this to happen within ourselves we may become susceptible to ailments triggered by the stress and inflammation, further dragging us down a hole of exhaustion and illness.
This is where the empowerment begins - with boundaries.
Empathic boundaries are the filters that decide what empathic information we will let in or not. These energetic "strainers" as I call them, are composed of various types of fields that emanate from us. This includes electromagnetic fields, which are biological and are generated from every one of our cells, organs and overall body. The other vital fields involved in this filtering process are our auric fields. Auric fields are an extension of our chakras, which are the subtle energy organs that manage all aspects of our being. Between the two, it is decided what data to absorb or deflect based on our programs which are ideas stored in our neurological system and our chakras.
For some of us, this is easier said than done. I personally have learned that there is no such thing as "finished" when concerning boundaries, it is a constant evolution that ebbs and flows based on our current health conditions and outer situations. For those not as high on the over-empathy end of the scale, it can be hard to relate to the struggles that accompany it.
This is where misinterpretations come into play. Another's projections are not your genetic make-up. We all have our own hardships, and I ask you to observe any accusations objectively, knowing that only you have the power to decide who you are and what you experience. On that same note, I found for me that holding a space for love during these times heals not only ourselves but those triggered around us.
For those who have read this far and relate to the content being described, I want to share some tips that have allowed me to alter debilitating programs, and give relief to an empathic area that may be impacted.
Within this topic there are four categories; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual empathy.
Physical empathy is the ability to sense what is occurring in another's body. Emotional empathy is the capacity to feel others' feelings as if they are our own. Mental empathy is an aptitude for cluing into another's thoughts and perceptions. And last but not least, spiritual empathy is the talent for relating to beings in the spiritual realms.
You may find yourself affected by different categories throughout your life, or you may find a theme throughout your experiences. The beautiful thing about these tips is you are not limited to one or the other. They all work in conjunction with each other and can be used in whatever order you feel necessary at that time.
Clear your old programs. If you're obtaining too much physical data, ask that your inner spirit release debilitating safety and security issues. Sometimes we over-relate to others' bodily dilemmas if we think that understanding their challenges will keep us or them safe. As you remove thoughts like these try replacing them with a new belief such as "I only sense another's physical reality when it serves both of us." This can be exceptionally helpful in the field of body work, and a topic I would love to dive deeper into if I received enough feedback requesting that I do so.
Change your negative programs. If you are the feeling sponge of the universe, it's possibly because you confuse caring about others' feelings with carrying their feelings. Clear up these dismantling programs by examining the reasons you think it's your job to take care of others' emotions. Dig as far back as you need, as many of us create these programs as children and find the same loop playing on repeat for most of our adult lives.
Unpin a barraging belief. If you are too frequently struck by another's mental data, search for the underlying reason. Think through the thoughts and separate what is yours and what isn't. Substitute that thought with a new truth like "I am only informed of another's mental thoughts when that assists myself and them."
Consciously set up filters. Sometimes, we tune into the spiritual realm because we want to know what's going on that isn't obvious. The best antidote is to get a spiritual guide. Ask your inner self or Higher Power to guide and protect you. For me, I feel most supported with a plethora of angels and guides alongside my Higher Power, all working in the best interest of my highest self.
And as always, be gentle with yourself. Some days we do not have the strength or clarity to create clean incisions between ourselves and the energies of others.
On days that I feel overwhelmed and cannot dissect the root cause I simply say "this isn't mine." I found, that if I repeat it enough that the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual sensation that I am experiencing will simply fade away. If it does not, I recognize that it is in fact my own and I can choose to deal with it in that moment or ask that it be temporarily removed until a time that is better for me.
Once these experiences have been removed, I lovingly place myself in a bubble of white light as a barrier to keep those energies from returning. I often picture this before I'm ever affected. If I know that I will be entering a crowded location or need to be in the vicinity of someone who does not make me feel good, I will place myself in this bubble before entering the situation. For me, it is a helpful tool that reinforces the work that I do to clear my own fields on a daily basis.
Very few things in life are accomplished with zero effort. But effort does not have to mean difficult or taxing. It's all about intention. Let it flow. Experiencing your empathic abilities are anything but malediction. There is no evil here, only different levels of energetic comprehension. As mentioned above, it is a daily task to reinforce these boundaries and we must be patient with ourselves in the process. For it is our empathic abilities that allow us to relate to one another. To love, to mourn, to share joy, frustration and sadness. To be human. And it can be both useful and enjoyable in personal and professional settings.
We are in a time when everything around us feels heightened, and this can make us second guess our capacity to control what we absorb. Some of us are more susceptible than others to these exchanges, but we all hold authority over our own lives and experiences. Not only are we blessed with such deep awareness, but we can explore and grow within ourselves and come out with greater knowledge for how these powers can enhance our daily lives.
If nothing else, I hope you walk away from this with the knowing that our gift of empathy is one of our greatest strengths. Let it guide you, let it teach you, let it empower you.