Sunday, July 14, 2019

Are You an Empath

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. 

Set Boundaries

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Living in Harmony

When our minds move in harmony and love, 
though forgiveness, or prayer, or the simplest tender thought,
then mountains move and the universe shifts. 
~Marianne Williamson

I really love this quote. It’s giving me a lot to think about this morning. 

I have always enjoyed Marianne’s books and teachings, but over the years I have come to realize that I do not always agree with her politics. Sadly though, I have seen how hateful people can be towards her when she says anything about what is going on in the world. Recently she was attacked on Instagram for sharing a picture and kind words on a very polarized political figure. This confuses me a bit because I would think that those who follow her, believe in her teachings.  Apparently this is not the case. 

Yes, I disagree with her politics, but her opinions in that area do not negate her teachings or her character in my eyes.  As a hugely popular spiritual teacher and the most widely recognized face of A Course in Miracles, a person who strives to share God’s love, and a beacon of light and compassion, her political opinions will not stop me from sharing her quotes, reading her books, and following her work. I have faced my own storms when it comes to politics, but it’s often been through her teachings that I have learned to be more accepting of people who believe differently than I do. 

I sometimes openly share my own political opinions (personally), but I try to do so in a peaceful and non-threatening way. Sometimes I fall short in the behavior I want to see from myself, and disappointed in the behavior of others, but I have learned that you can always find your way back if you are willing to move forward without judgement.  And just because my political position is different than hers, and perhaps yours, it does not make me less compassionate, less loving, less capable of empathy, less giving or less understanding. It does not make me selfish or single minded, or blind to the suffering of others.  I can believe what I believe and still want to find ways to help and give back. 

The bottom line is that I can disagree with you, but that does not mean I hate your or want harm to come to you. It simply means I disagree with you, and that’s okay. And truly, even though I know that there will always be areas where the population is very firmly divided, I do hope that people will learn to accept and work together for a common good, rather than stand firm on one side on the other and refuse to even try.  

#MarianneWilliamson #Love #Acceptance #Harmony #Understanding #Forgiveness #ACourseInMiracles #AReturnToLove

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Are You Sitting on the Sidelines?

It seems like everyone these days is shouting about change, but the lines are drawn, and the battles are being waged on social media, in the news, on the ground.  It’s a shouting match that no one seems to be winning. 

We all want change. We desperately need change! But what does that change look like? What should it look like? 

What I would like to see is a change that brings about peace, common sense, and responsibility to one another and the world we live in.  But how do we get there with everyone trying to out shout everyone else, in a world full of agendas and fake news, at a time when everyone wants something, but few understand the cost of anything, be it freedom or financial? 

I believe the first steps we must take is working on transformation within ourselves and in our own lives. 

In the next few weeks I am going to focus on a serious of steps we should think about in making the transformation from where we are to where we want to be. 

The first step is to Focus on YOU!

You’ve heard the saying “be the change you want to see in the world”. Honestly, this is the very foundation on which to build a happier and more fulfilling life. The first step for transformation and creating a more fulfilling and happy existence is by changing our own thoughts, patterns, negative behaviors. 

Seriously, what do we have control over other than ourselves? Our thoughts, our emotions, our actions. 

First our thoughts. When we focus on the little things in life that make us happy, we find more things to be happy about. When we are grateful for small blessings, we realize that we have so many more things to be grateful for. When we have faith that everything happens for a reason and start to believe that things will work out the way they should, our paths and our purpose become clearer and we begin to let go of the fear that is holding us back. Stepping into faith is a powerful tool.. use it!

Another thing we must focus on is our emotions. Happiness is easy when things are going great. But what about when things aren’t going as planned? How do we deal with difficult situations and people in our day to day lives? What is your go to response when negativity hits you squarely in the face? 

One key idea that we must learn and accept is that we cannot control other people or situations. We only have control over how we respond. Notice I didn’t say react, I said respond. Reacting implies that we do not place any thought into how we interact in a negative situation. Responding with a clear understanding of our limitations in changing the situation or mindset of the other person indicates that you have done the work on yourself and have a firm understanding that what you do next will determine the outcome.  Sometimes a peaceful discussion, understanding and compromise will work. Sometimes agreeing to disagree or even simply walking away is the best response. It doesn’t matter how you choose in that moment to respond, what matters is keeping your emotions in check and moving forward in a positive direction. 

Understanding how we judge others and limiting that behavior will go a long way in improving your relationships. Do not approach anyone or anything from a place of judgement, because that really says more about you than it does the other person. Our judgements are born within ourselves. Understanding that we all come from different backgrounds, no matter how similar we appear to be, will go a long way in acceptance and understanding, and peaceful co-existence. 

Finally, it is in the actions we take that we will find our happiness. The above 2 principles are part of that action. We focus our thoughts, we keep our emotions in check, but we must also take action on a regular basis to make a difference in the world.  If you see someone struggling, give them a hand. If you come across someone who is feeling sad or depressed, be a shoulder, and an ear if they need it. Don’t try to fix it, just be in the moment with them and follow their lead.

Speak up about the positive changes you want to see in the world, rather than fighting against what you don’t want. Support the causes you feel passionate about in a positive way so that the light you shine on them will draw more positive attention and support to it. Walk your walk! 

Always remember to live authentically. Be honest in your interactions with other people, in your conversations, in your work, in your life.  Be mindful of sharing thoughts and ideas. Are they kind, helpful, honest, true? The more authentic you become, the more you walk away from negativity, the more the people in your life will change. Those who tend to be negative and bring you down will start slipping away and slowly be replaced with those who support, uplift, and encourage you. And that’s ok! Let the changes occur. As certain people start to drift away say a silent thank you for what you have learned from them and wish them the best. 

In learning and practicing these simple steps, you will begin to see the positive transformation you are seeking.  It’s a journey and there will be other lessons, but the work must first start with you.