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My entire life, I felt energies. I was unsure what was going on. I could often walk into a room and immediately pick up who was happy, who was sad, and where any tension was.
I grew up thinking I was just very intuitive and maybe had a gift for helping others. Among my friends, I was usually the person people felt most comfortable talking about problems with. I was the "advice giver." They found me very empathetic, understanding and people always seemed to be drawn to me.
I was the woman who got on the bus and had the oddest person on the bus come up and sit beside her to have a conversation and feel comfortable. Every. Single. Time. I didn't mind. I just remember leaving the Transit system wondering why I was always the one blessed with their presence.
A friend moved in with me years ago. He was a hippie and was into learning about everything spiritual. One day, while I was having a hard time dealing with some issues, he looked at me and said "You are an Empath. That is why you are having trouble with emotions. If you figure out how to control it, you will be okay."
I thought he was insane. I was a very different person back then. I figured I had anxiety and depression (still do) and that was why I had trouble dealing with emotions.
I never thought that maybe I had trouble dealing with emotions because the emotions I felt weren't even mine.
I went on with my life for a few more years before I dove into the world of "being an Empath." A couple more friends brought it up to me before I finally said, "Okay, fine, I am an Empath...now what does that mean?"
Being an Empath, one like myself (there are many different kinds), means that I am a healer and I pick up on other people's energies. If you are in a room with me and I ask you if something is wrong and you lie and say "no," I know you are being dishonest. I can feel your emotions within me as if they are my own.
I feel your aura. This means that if I meet you for the first time, the second you are near me, I already know what kind of person you are. I know if you have experienced trauma, pain, heartache, happiness, love, excitement. I know if you are in a bad mood that day...and I know all of this before you even introduce yourself.
It sounds like an amazing gift. It sounds like something that could help protect and guard you against the evil of the world and more importantly, any harm that can be brought to you by other people. However, this is not always the case.
We live in a world where, essentially, we are told to trust our intuition and our gut, but not to fully listen. We are told not to judge. We are told not to have any negative opinions about anything. This means that someone like myself may feel as though someone is going to cause them harm, their intuition screams at them "get away now!" however they tell it to hush. They say to themselves, "stop being so judgemental." So, it doesn't protect most of us...until we understand how to use our craft better.
Being able to pick up on other people's happiness is amazing. I often surround myself with happy, go-lucky people who are positive and spread joy because just being around them, or simply having them present in my life, can bring positive energy to my psyche. However, the downfall of this is that I also pick up on everyone's pain.
Have you ever watched someone stub their toe and thought "oow, that must have hurt!" and you can almost feel the pain yourself because you know what that feels like? Imagine watching someone stub their toe and actually feeling it as if you stubbed your own toe. You feel the pain in your foot, you feel their surprise and shock when it first happens then their embarrassment, anger and hurt right afterwards.
Imagine feeling like that constantly, with everyone's emotions in your life. Imagine a friend going through a breakup and even though you are happily married, you suddenly feel like your heart is broken. You are standing in your living room saying to yourself "Whoa, why did my heart just sink and shatter into a million pieces?"
When this happens, I often go to my computer. I live at least 2 hours away from all of my friends. They all live in Kingston, Ontario or further and I am in Ottawa. I have finally figured out how to go to social media, scroll through names and realise who is feeling heartbroken. I freak my friends out now when I suddenly message them saying "What is wrong?" and they say, "Beth, literally everything was fine until 2 minutes ago, how did you know?"
The best thing you could do for yourself as an Empath is learn to distinguish between the emotions that belong to you and the emotions that belong to others.
Once I distinguish who is upset, I can talk to them and better understand what is going on. Luckily, most of my friends do come clean and tell me everything. Some still hold back, and that's okay. However, they don't understand how confusing this is for me. It is very confusing to feel someone else's emotions and not have all the information as to why they feel that way. Makes it hard for you to work through them. So...don't.
I have had to guard myself a lot. I have had to distinguish between these emotions and find a special place in my soul to put the ones that don't belong to me.
Someone I once knew as a friend and a fellow Empath, named Jennifer Mutnick-Andes, taught me one of the best ways to get through this. It is with visualisation. She told me to picture myself in a house. My walls are up and my house has windows. Emotions come. She said to take the emotions that are mine and let them reside in my house. Those that belong to other people can stay outside or be let in through the windows as I am ready to deal with them. She told me to visualise other people's emotions being pushed outside, through the windows, if they are too strong to deal with. Then tell myself that they weren't my emotions and I needed to let them go. This technique is one I have used, with my own version of the house visualisation. Find one that works for you.
Letting go of emotions that don't belong to you can be hard, especially if you are a healer, like me. You often want to fix things for people. You want to help, not just sit there feeling the emotions and talking about them. It becomes very difficult to let go of this need to make everything better for everyone around you so you don't pick up their emotions constantly. Let it go. Remember, that is selfish. People do not always need you to fix everything for them. Sometimes, they only need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.
It can be excruciating. It can literally make your soul feel like it is bleeding. However, with some practice, you will get better at it.
I am at the point now that I can distinguish between my own emotions and those of other people. I can pinpoint who is feeling upset when a sudden emotion hits me. I can also visualise myself in that house and start to let go of the emotions that belong to other people, not carrying them with me everywhere I go, in everything I do.
Is it time for me to save the world?
Not yet. At least, not all at once.
I have learned that it is very dangerous for an Empath to try to save the entire world. We cannot take on that responsibility. If I pick up on my friends' emotions to the point where it can be crippling, imagine what would happen if I picked up on the entire world's emotions.
It happened, during the 2016 Presidential election. Many Empaths experienced this. The entire world was going insane and still is.
We cannot fix it. We cannot take it on. So, how do we deal with it?
Be aware. Some days, I wake up and am automatically upset and have no clue why. I have dropped the ball and thought I was just having a bad day...later, I found out a friend was having a rough time all day. Understand that every time you feel an emotion, you need to stop and ask yourself "Is this mine? Or someone else's?" Eventually, you will do this automatically.
Meditation. Meditation is key when learning how to control this gift. It will teach you how to look within yourself, how to sit with yourself and how to ground yourself. Grounding is extremely important. Many Empaths are even known for walking barefoot (myself included) because it makes us feel more grounded. Barefoot on the ground? Can't become more grounded than that.
Be in nature. For some reason, we all feel more grounded in nature. Something about nature seems to make us calmer. Peacefulness is always found in the woods, by the lake, or anywhere outside when you are an Empath.
Mindfulness. You must be aware of your body and yourself and everything around you to stop yourself from losing your mind. Understand every sensation you feel for every emotion that exists. Make it a mission.
Find an Empath support group. There are tons all over social media sites, especially Facebook. You can find me in a few! Nothing is better than hearing you are not alone, not completely insane and that other people know what you are going through...and they seriously do. After all, everyone in there is an Empath.
Research. The more you learn about what it means to be an Empath, the better. Always learn everything you can about yourself. Find out what type you are, find out ways to help deal with the emotions, continue to practice your craft until you are a pro at it.
Always remember this is a gift. It can be hard. It can even get annoying. However, it is ultimately a gift. Once you learn how to properly control it, you can learn how to use it.
Sure, you may not save the world. However, I have been known to help several people in hard times. This is what you have this gift for. Use it and only use it for good. Karma is always watching.