Has anyone ever told you that you are “too emotional”? Does your mood sometimes change for no reason when you enter a room? Do you avoid crowds as much as possible because you always end up feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or agitated? When you are around someone who is sad or hurt, do you feel as if can actually “feel” what they are feeling? Does being around a happy or positive person immediately lift you up and make you feel better?
If you said yes to most or all of the above questions, then you may be an empath.
Understanding what that really means is the first step. Learning how to protect yourself in these situations will help you to gain some control and help you to avoid those overwhelming waves of unwanted emotions.
What is the Difference?
Some people believe that you have to be an intuitive, psychic, medium or healer to be an empath. That is not necessarily true.
An Intuitive is someone who is able to tap into subconscious information and understands that following that guidance will help them in their every day lives. They may not understand where this guidance comes from, but they have learned to trust it. Empaths are highly intuitive. Learning to deepen your understanding of intuition will greatly help those who are discovering who they are.
A Psychic is someone who has taken their intuition to the next level and is able to garner information through their senses. They usually work closely with their Spirit Guides and are able to receive and give messages and guidance to others.
A Medium is someone who is able to connect with spirit and bring forth messages of love and encouragement from your deceased loved ones. These messages are very comforting and healing for the person receiving them. All mediums are psychic, but not all psychics are mediums. I also believe that most, if not all, mediums have some empathic tendencies.
A Healer is someone who is able to “scan” a person’s energy field, see and sense illness and injury, and channel healing energy based on the needs of the individual. Again, I feel like most healers also have some empathetic tendencies, but most have learned to protect themselves from other people’s energy before they begin their work.
What is an Empath?
Many people are empaths, whether they are aware of it or not. If they don’t understand what is going on, even just going to work, a family function or simply running errands can be draining. These situations can leave an empath feeling like they just want to stay hidden away from the world. If they can’t get a handle on it, they may find themselves becoming reclusive and distant from others to avoid the negativity and/or sadness of others.
Empaths are highly sensitive individuals. They literally know where you are coming from and can feel everything around them. Empaths are often described as energetic sponges because they absorb outside energy and emotion, both good and bad. Magnet is another word often used to describe a person with empathic abilities as they tend to draw people and animals towards them. They are used to being asked for help from a stranger, or having people they barely know spill out their life story. This is because people, children and animals feel safe in the presence of an empath.
An empath has the ability to feel other people’s emotions as if they are their own. This is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone’s loss or circumstances, because you are able to understand what they are going through, but it does not actually affect you physically or emotionally. It’s more like observing.
An empath “feels” what the other person is feeling be it emotional or physical. They actually take on the emotional and/or physical pain of the other person. Being an empath can be hard, especially for someone who doesn’t know what is happening to them. They have big hearts, they are often taken advantage of by others, knowingly or unknowingly, which is very draining for the empath. Understanding and learning how to protect themselves and their energy is very important. They need alone time in order to regain a sense of balance and stay grounded.
Empaths are often artists, writers, poets, singers and people with a high degree of creativity and imagination.
How to Protect Yourself
If you feel like you are an empath, or have some level of empathic qualities, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn to protect yourself and set boundaries. Following are a few tips and tricks to do this.
Practice Meditation and Protection
Learning to meditate and go within is one of the best ways to learn how to protect yourself from absorbing other peoples unwanted energy. Being able to quiet your mind and ground yourself is the key to being able to create a “protection ritual” Some people imagine themselves surrounded by a while light, or they imagine stepping into a glass box. They work with this visualization with intention, by imagining that the the light they’ve surrounded themselves with, or the box they step into, is so strong that nothing can penetrate it. They imagine negative energy and other people’s emotions bouncing off of their light and returning to the universe to be healed.
We must as empaths learn to set boundaries, especially with friends and family. You must not let anyone use you as a target for their negativity or emotional baggage. While its important for you to be a good listener, and be there when you are needed, you do not have to be the dumping ground for anyone on a regular basis. We all know someone like that, and its important to set limits to what you will allow them to dump on you. That also goes for strangers, listen with a loving and accepting ear, but then excuse yourself and walk away.
Releasing Negative Energy
If you find yourself feeling trapped by someone who is drawing your energy, and dumping their own, you must not stay in a negative energy field any long than necessary. Find a way to politely excuse yourself and walk away. If you feel down after one of these encounters, if possible, go into a grassy area and place your hands on the ground, imagining yourself releasing the energy of that exchange into the earth to be recycled for a higher purpose. That will help you shed the negativity and move forward with your day.
Choose Your Friends Carefully
Be very selective with your inner circle. Choose people who both support and understand you, and who are of like minds, on similar paths. Do not allow an energy vampire, into your inner circle.
Stop Paying Attention
What another person thinks or says about you is none of your business. There will always be nay-sayers, or those who become angry with you as you begin to set boundaries. That’s ok. Keep moving forward, keep setting boundaries, keep protecting your energy. Eventually they will fall out of your energy field. It will happen naturally, as long as you do not continue to enable or respond to their behavior.
Remember, You Are Worthy
You are not your brother’s keeper. You deserve to be happy, peaceful and fulfilled. After all, how can you help anyone if you are not in a good place yourself? Take responsibility for your emotional well being and don’t let anyone make you feel as if you are being selfish. It is not selfishness, its self-preservation.
Relax and Breathe
Take some down time. Take a walk in nature, or if that is not available, take a walk in a beautiful park. Work in the garden. Create a quiet space inside your home. Find a quite corner at work where you can escape when need be. Set up healthy routines and know when you need to retreat and rejuvenate. Spending time with little children and animals is also wonderful ways to lighten your mood and get you back into a loving space. Spend time with joyous people. Find something to be grateful for. Even watching a funny movie can lift your spirits. Laughter after all, is one of the best medicines.
Suggested Reading: The Empath's Survival Guide by Dr. Judith Orloff
Suggested Reading: The Empath's Survival Guide by Dr. Judith Orloff