The world is changing. Many people feel burned out from living in flight or fight mode on a constant basis and don’t want to feel like that anymore (rightly so). We deserve better for ourselves and there is so much more we can do to live from a place of inner peace.
I discovered I was an Empath when I began my journey of self-improvement some years ago. I had never heard of the term before, but it was a huge relief to learn that although I may be a ‘born worrier’, ‘too sensitive’ or the queen of overthinking, the way I feel emotions deeply is a gift. It felt validating to hear of others who share a similar experience to me, and have a real reason and explanation as to why I feel the way I do.
What is an Empath?
An Empath or Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is someone who actually feels the emotions of other people in their own body, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. They may find themselves physically, emotionally or mentally drained after being with someone who is stressed, in pain or has negative energy.
While it is not possible to have an exact figure on how many of us are out there (and not all of us have yet figured out what it means to be an Empath), it is estimated to be anywhere from 1% to 10% of the world’s population. We are a unique little group who simply see the world differently from a Non-Empath (i.e. the rest of the world).
Are You An Empath?
Have you ever woken up feeling fresh as a daisy, ready for your day, only to walk into your kitchen or office and suddenly feel drained and exhausted but can’t understand why? It may actually be connected to the emotions or feelings of the a person already in the room.
There are many different aspects and delights to being an Empath/HSP but in this blog, we will focus on emotional and physical Empaths. An emotional Empath picks up the energies of others who are struggling emotionally. Physical Empaths are sensitive to people’s physical symptoms. Of course, the reverse happens too, where a bright and breezy person can walk in and bring a sense of lightness to your day.
Empaths are often told we are too nice or too ‘soft’. In the past, we were told to toughen up and keep our emotions in check. Perhaps it wasn’t safe to express our emotions in family or social circles, so we developed coping mechanisms to suppress that side of ourselves.
Throughout history, Empaths risked death by being burned at the stake (Joan of Arc), were assassinated (Martin Luther King), or imprisoned (Nelson Mandela) for standing up and expressing compassion for those with no voice.
In fact, Empaths are kind, compassionate and highly intuitive. Our contribution to society is having a profound impact on the world now more than ever. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a shining, inspirational light as a deeply compassionate Empathic young woman, mother and world leader.
Many of us are highly intuitive and work as healers practicing as alternative or complementary therapists. Empaths keep our communities going by being volunteers, charity workers, medical professionals, carers, and human and animal rights campaigners.
We are great at resolving disputes due to our ability to see both sides of an argument.
We also make great employees due to our conscientiousness, loyal nature, and want to go above and beyond.
On the flip side, Empaths who aren’t aware of their empathic nature can often feel taken advantage of, burned out and overwhelmed. They may experience conflict with a partner for caring too much for others or for their inability to say no to those who are dimming their light. Some suffer with addiction issues as they struggle to exist in low vibrational environments.
Protecting your Energy
As an Empath, it is vital to look after your own emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health ahead of anyone else’s. With the right amount of self-care, it is possible to look after yourself and your loved ones, without carrying the weight of their emotional baggage:
- Your body and mind constantly emits tell-tale signs when something doesn’t feel right. Trust your inner knowing and ask if these are your feelings or someone else’s. If they’re not yours, ask the Universe to release those emotions. You may experience a shift in your energy or regain a sense of calm.
- Our innate love for animals and being in nature can replenish our energy quite quickly.
- Learn to reflect and relax by using grounding techniques, looking into alternative healing modalities or practicing meditation or mindfulness .
- Journal what or who triggers your emotions so you can establish a pattern and recognise ways to overcome negative reactions.
- Remember that ‘No’ is a complete sentence.
- It is not selfish to self-care. Preserve your energy and health so you can give your energy to those who need it, not those who drain it.
- We all have free will to choose what to do with our lives, so it is not up to us to change anyone else’s.
- Do more things that empower you, rather than drain you.
- Lead by example. When you shine your light, others will be drawn to your glow.