Oh what a curse it is to feel so much! Or is it actually a blessing? It all depends on how you look at it. I think it’s totally a blessing; it’s life that ain’t perfect.
Empaths make great counselors, artists, writers, police officers, healers, teachers, doctors, moms and friends. One of the coolest things I’ve noticed about being an empath is I can feel how someone is feeling even at a great distance. I know what you’re thinking . . . stalker status, right? Sometimes it can be really hard to feel someone hurting, but it is also wonderful feeling that someone is doing okay. Moms can be really good at this. I remember one time I was really sick at elementary school and my Mom seemed to appear out of nowhere to take me home. I remember asking her how she knew I was sick and she just matter-of-factly replied, “I just knew. Mom’s just know sometimes”. I remember being in awe of her special Mom power.
Sometimes empaths can even pick up on the sickness in their pets. (Get ready for a story about me being a cat lady. Whoo hoo.) My cat, Sophia and I shared a special bond. I had her for over 13 years and by the end of her time with me she would get sick often. I was hanging out with my boyfriend at the time and I had this overwhelming urge to go to my apartment and check on her. I just knew (empaths just know things) she was sick. Sure enough, when we got there she was yowling and was sick. I can’t explain it other than I had some special cat Mom powers.
Another hard thing for empaths is being around a lot of people. I used to take the edge off of social situations by binge drinking. Wow. Genius. (I was in my twenties.) Anyway, I try very hard to be extraverted and I love live music and socializing but sometimes anxiety gets in my way. I’m pretty sure all empaths struggle with anxiety in some form. I get anxiety sometimes at my job as a library lady or when I go to the store. I also feel changes in the earth and sky. Super Volcano? Supermoon? Solar flare? Ya. I feel those too. Time to get out the tin-foil hat!
I’ve also been diagnosed with a mood disorder on top of being an empath. Oh the layers! Empaths have layers! (Quiet, Donkey.) So I have to check in with myself often. Even though it is hard sometimes, I really don’t see it as a burden. We all have things that we have to deal with: gifts, genetic disorders, diseases, or situations. I think it’s all in how we deal with what we got, you know?
Speaking of how to deal with being an empath, here are some of the tricks I’ve learned that keep me thriving:
Setting Boundaries. People can be both high energy and energy drains. Just because someone is an energy drain doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. I’ve been a an “energy sucker” before. We all have. The goal for an empath is balance and boundaries when it comes to dealing with other people’s energy and feelings. I’ve found that shielding and clearing help, but sometimes you just have to be open with people and get used to saying NO. That’s a hard one for sensitives because we literally feel what is wrong and we (almost compulsively) want to help/make it stop. Therapy is a great tool to help empaths learn how to set boundaries. Try not to be a filter for other people’s feelings, but don’t completely shield yourself off from other people either. It’s up to us what we take on. We are not helpless and merely surviving in a sea of other people’s feelings. You got this. Remember it’s all about balance.
Meditation. Meditation is a game changer. Yet it’s not easy to sit still and focus on your breath. It takes practice. Start small. Even 5 minutes is enough some days. There is no wrong or right way to meditate. When you have a thought, don’t beat yourself up about it, simply let the thoughts pass. Meditation is more about checking in and listening and less about self-improvement. It is one of the easiest ways for an empath to get centered and focus. You will notice a difference in your day-to-day life when you do this simple, quiet practice.
Burning herbs, incense, scented candles or aromatherapy. The smells tho! Certain scents raise the vibration of a space and some, like sage, remove negative energy. If you are not into smoke, but you want to have the same therapeutic effects, you can diffuse essential oils into the air. Even wax melts work to fill the air with a pleasant odor. I burn sage and incense because it just makes me feel better. Incense isn’t just for hippies anymore. If you have allergies, you can opt for a nice room spray. Some people prefer a candle that smells like sugar cookie and some people like to burn mugwort. It doesn’t matter what you burn, just focus on how it makes you feel.
Epsom salt baths and showers are important. Water not only cleanses our bodies, but it cleanses our spirit too. Sing in the shower! Imagine all your worries washing off and going down the drain. Take an Epsom salt bath. The key to Epsom salt is the magnesium sulfate–it is absorbed directly into the body through your skin preventing crap like hypertension and even diabetes. Epsom salt is inexpensive and is usually found near the vitamins and cold medicine in the drug store. You can also buy scented Epsom salt in the bath and beauty aisle. Instead of just plopping a bag next to my tub, I like to get make it fancy using a really pretty glass container with a lid (like this) or even a large mason jar and keep a scoop handy.
Next week, I will talk about how to deal with the narcissistic personality.
Homework : Write down exactly how you feel when you are around people in your life. Who takes from your energy and who uplifts you? Write down 3 ways you can modify your reaction to both types of people in your life. Have you been taking on their emotions without realizing it? Can you set a time once this week to meditate? Treat yourself to a scented candle for your bedroom. Put epsom salt on your grocery list.
Suggested reading: “Meditation Without Gurus” by Clark Strand