Three Helpful Tips to Make Life as an Empath Easier
I've been told a lot over the last few months that I am an empath. At first I just thought it meant I am super sensitive & able to pick up on other people's energies. I had no idea it actually goes much, much deeper than that. After a mind-blowing reiki session last week (more on that in a different post), Stephenie* suggested I actually research "empath", as it might help me feel less crazy or like I'm losing my mind. I figured many other people might be in the same boat, so I want to share what I've learned and some guidelines I've been using to manage it.
What it Means to be an Empath
From what I gather, being an empath means you not only feel your own emotions much stronger that most people, but you also pick up the energy of other people and feel their both their emotions and physical pains as well. This makes it very hard to differentiate your emotions from another, and can lead to sudden, inexplainable, exasperating mood swings. Sometimes, people don't even need to be close, especially when you have a strong connection to them. If my mom has a migraine or is having a hard day, I pick up on that even though she's a provence away - without even talking to her.
It also means that being in public is an absolute fucking nightmare for me. It's always been a trigger, but I figured it was just the anxiety. Turns out it's a lot more complicated than that, and I've hard to learn some tricks to protect myself, especially when it comes to doing markets. There's so much more to this, and I'm really just starting to learn, but some of the best resources I've found are this, this, and this. The last one is especially great if you are in a relationship with someone who is an empath.
Be Open & Honour Yourself
An important guideline I have learned is to be open and honour where you are at. There are some days I cannot handle being in public, especially if I'm trying to work through my own stuff. I'm not able to protect myself enough and just end up making everything worse. I used to get made fun of so much for how often I stayed home and to avoid seeming weird I would force myself to go out. Now that I have a better understanding of who I am and what I need, I don't give a fuck about what other people think. If I need to stay home, that is what I do - even if it means I don't leave the house for days. This is especially true after I do a market, since it takes me almost a week to recover from being immersed for hours in so much energy.
Which leads to my second tip: learn how to protect yourself. Some tricks I use are "zipping up" my energy, imagining a shield of white light surrounding me, carrying a crystal, and doing deep breathing. When I'm working a market make sure to take frequent breaks, often going outside to hug a tree and do some grounding. I also use Adorn's Rose/Lavender Hydrosol Spray and Pranic Forest's Anahata perfume and Hawthorne tincture. Finally, if I do start to get so overwhelmed I have a panic attack, I let the panic attack happen (usually in the car) and then go back to breaking everything baby steps.
Most importantly, I've learned how to set boundaries around energy. As a healer, I've spent most of my life wanting to take away other people's pain so that they don't hurt so much. I never realized that I was literally taking on their pain - no wonder working as a counsellor was so damn hard for me. I got pretty good at managing not doing that with strangers anymore, but it is still so hard for me when it comes to the people I love. So, I've been repeating "I will not take on anything that is not mine." Even just setting that boundary seems to have an effect, whether I consciously remember to practice it or not. I'm still trying to learn how to differentiate between what is my energy and what actually belongs to others, but I trust that the more I learn the more I will be able to do so.
Do you have any thoughts or tips on being an empath? I would love to hear your experiences!
*Stephenie is a remarkable reiki practitioner with many other psychic abilities (like reading past lives!).