On Being an Empath

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Have you ever wondered why people who are strangers or people you hardly know open up to you and share their most trusted thoughts? Do you have an instant connection with animals? Are you unable to watch violence, cruelty, or tragedy on television or in the movies because your soul just can’t bear it? Do you have an instant knowing about the character of the people you meet upon first meeting them? Are you highly spiritual and find the physical world and everything in it heavy? Are you often tired and have physical ailments that cannot be medically explained? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions you may be an “empath.  (Read the rest of the article here)

The Mind Unleashed published this very thorough description of being an empath.  Growing up as one, I found it difficult to deal with all the connections to things which often resulted in sensory overload.  I had to learn how to manage those connections and the impact they had on me.  Later I learned that other people did not experience the world as I did and that sharing with others was not always welcomed, or if it was, it was often with amused interest where I became the side show freak and there was an ulterior motive for wanting to know what I knew.  I had to learn to keep it to myself.Living in that “duality” the author describes is such a reality.  Feeling the darkness of people and places while my heart is set on light and healing can feel insane.  Sometimes I simply cannot understand how a person can do what they do or say what they say.  It is probably why I have made the effort to understand people.  By not focusing on what they do as much as the “why” I can lessen that struggle.  Our basic motivations for our actions are pretty simple.  It is the way in which we carry out the actions those motivations produce that is complex and varied.

As an adult I tend to spend a great deal of time alone.  If I don’t properly prepare myself, social situations are painful.  I sit in a restaurant and I am “aware” of everything going on at the other tables with the other patrons, all at the same time.  I know who is fighting, who has just lost someone, who is in love, etc etc.  If someone I care about is having a bad day, I immediately absorb their energy and that energy can cling to me long after they have turned the corner and are happy once again.  Because of that I have to make sure I take the time to clear myself, in ways that only I understand.  I have to regularly take breaks and re-centre myself.  I have to recognize when I am wearing down and know when to step back.

My way of dealing involves letting the feelings flow through me and move on.  I have tried to “deny” the feelings but it does not work.  That means I cry, I rage, I have to let it out.  And then I can move on.

I laughed that someone at one of my classes, who is a well known psychic, commented on a “tree that absolutely loves me” when she had tapped into where I lived.  We bought this land because when we first saw it I fell in love with it because there was a very large, old tree on it that I immediately connected with.  I talk to that tree often when I am in the yard and there are more birds that come to that tree than any other tree in the area.  Even as a child I sought out trees and would sit in them for hours and talk to them about life.  When one of the new neighbours had an equally old tree on their property cut down I sobbed like a baby.  For almost a month I worried about the birds that had called it home and even now I cannot stand to look at the pieces of that tree still stacked in a near by field.  It is like looking at a body, torn in bits and scattered on the ground.

I have children who are also Empaths, who have variations with different focuses.  They have children who are also impacted.

It was incredibly important to me to help my children understand and manage empathic abilities so that they were not as isolated as I felt growing up.  It has been important to me to try and bridge the distance between me and others, recognizing that I seem sometimes strange and distant from people.  I just see the world differently.  I can ask people to be tolerant of those differences, but I found explaining how I see things, more helpful, especially when I had a very left brained boss who really did not get me.  Problems to him were something that signified a negative and required more work, where as for me they were motivating, exciting opportunities to learn.  I could come up with all kinds of possible solutions, and it really did not matter if none of them were right because my ego was not engaged in being right, I was wholly engaged in the process.  Me slipping into full gear and being excited made him think I had lost it completely.  Once I could see the difference between how we viewed so many things, and then how we approached those things, made all the difference between us and we became a great team that functioned well instead of one that was always at odds.

As an empath I know I lack some strengths.  Being completely logical when that is required, is not easy.   I am an avowed non-comformist and that has landed me in plenty of trouble.  It takes on a life of its own.  Sometimes it is better to deal with people as they present on the surface but that is hard for me because I am the worst liar ever.  Everything shows on my face.  There are many other things I have to work at and it is one of the reasons that I have been so grateful for the examples of people in my life who are very left brained and very logical.  We all need balance and I have gained some valuable coping skills, particularly from my husband.

As I have aged, I am more inclined to be comfortable in my own skin and to just let the empathic vibes flow.  I don’t have to place myself in situations I don’t want to be in.  As you age, your relevance in any social setting is reduced.  You are tolerated more on some levels (not direct competition) and ignored more on others (I can’t do anything for you).  So, you are free to just be.  What I hope for, is that empaths will recognize the gift they have, however painful it is at times, and they will use it to heal the world and those around them.  I hope they will take their places in the world, and connect more with others, and remember that while this is their “gift” others have different ones that can benefit us.

What I hope, is to build bridges, that will see all of us using our gifts to bless the lives of one another.

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