Are You An Empath?

First of all, let’s look at what an Empath is. 

Google defines Empath as, “one who has the ability to sense emotions; someone who is empathic or practices empathy.” Google defines empathy as, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” 

Technically speaking, everyone is an Empath, because we all have the ability to practice empathy.

For the purpose of this article we will be defining Empath as a person who senses, and is sensitive to, the emotions of others all the time. 

If you are this kind of Empath there are a few common struggles you might be quite familiar with. 

For example, wanting to take care of everyone all the time can be exhausting. So can the continual sense that your energy is going out to the people around you. 

Another example of a common issue with excessive empathy is a lack of boundaries. Many of us who identify as Empaths may find it difficult to establish and maintain the boundaries that might allow us to preserve our energy. 

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Empaths often face such challenges as:

  • Feeling the energy and emotions of other people

  • Feeling burnt out

  • Need for solitude

  • Feeling drained by large groups

  • Extra sensitivity to scary or violent films

  • A deep desire to care for and nurture everyone

Empathy is, and is meant to be, an incredible gift. 

Being empathetic allows us to connect to, care for, and relate to others on a deep soul level. 

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This kind of connection can be profound and allows us to have a wisdom otherwise unknown in this world.

With the gift of empathy you can meet people where they are at and have a profound impact on where they go.

Empathy is an important skill for leadership. Without empathy it becomes very difficult for anyone to know, like, and trust what you have to say. 

When used with discretion, empathy becomes a tool to lead and inspire. 

Empathy may be looking pretty good right about now, but if you are an Empath you might be thinking, “yes, but how do I use it with discretion?” 

As an Empath it may sometimes feel like a part of you that is out of your control. 

Many of us who are Empaths seek out ways to, “shut it off” and, “make it go away”. 

The internet is full of strategies for just that. Many explain how to put up walls and shields against the energies and emotions of others. Learning to, “block things out”, appears the most popular approach to what we might call the dilemma of being an Empath. 

I am here to tell you that it is possible. 

It is possible to: 

  • Stop the energy drains and take back your power

  • Set effective boundaries so that burn out does not happen

  • Embrace the gift of empathy as a tool to lead and inspire

  • Learn to give without selling yourself short

  • Take the weight of the world off your shoulders

  • Learn how you can care for and nurture others while also honoring yourself

I’ve created a powerful workshop entitled Embodied Empath so that you can learn to do just that.

Let’s look at the #1 shift that is the foundation of the Embodied Empath workshop so that you can start today.

The strategy of putting up a shield isn’t really too far off. If you are experiencing an acute bout of unhelpful empathy it can be valuable and effective to shield yourself in that moment. 

Below is a simple strategy you can use for this. 

However, shielding is much much less effective if what you are experiencing is a continuous level of emotional sensitivity. In this case, shielding can contribute to the exhaustion you may be experiencing.

How do you create a shield?

Let’s imagine you are at work, minding your own business, and a co-worker approaches you with a disgruntled attitude. 

Absorbing this frantic or upset energy, you know, will leave you drained and ready to disappear for awhile… 

In this instant, it may initially be a lifesaver to be able to block it out and let them have their feelings all to themselves. 

  1. Imagine your own energy anchoring down and grounding you.

  2. Feel for your center. Find your center of gravity and direct your attention there for a few moments, until you feel stable and balanced. 

  3. Take a deep breath and imagine an impenetrable ball of energy all around you. 

  4. Hold this imagine in your mind as you interact with your co-worker until they leave.

While many people find this and similar strategies incredibly valuable (and they are), you can only keep it up for so long before you are draining your own energy worse than they would. 

So what do you do when the emotions of others seem to be a constant presence? 

Rather than resisting and avoiding the energy of others, embodied empathy is about learning to allow the energy of others to be as it is without creating a reaction in you. 

Whatever emotion you are experiencing is being felt within your own space, even if the emotion was brought up by another person.

Becoming intimately aware of your own inner space enables you to keep that space clear while still connecting with the other person.

The trick is to let it pass right through you. 

Imagine a car accident. It has been shown that if you tense up at the moment of impact you are more likely to be injured. In contrast, remaining totally relaxed allows the energy to pass through your body unhindered leaving you intact. 

How do you let it pass right through you?

  1. Imagine your own energy anchoring down and grounding you.

  2. Feel for your center. Find your center of gravity and direct your attention there for a few moments, until you feel stable and balanced. 

  3. Feel the emotion of the other person. 

  4. Notice any response or reaction that arises in your own space. 

  5. Let your reaction go. Become a clear space for the energy to be unhindered. 

  6. Respond from a clear space of neutrality and acceptance. 

Whatever emotion you can sense in another is also in you.

The emotions you are holding in your body (unaddressed feelings, usually from the past) are what create tension in you when you become aware of another person's emotion. 

Moving more deeply into yourself allows you to release and relinquish these subtle internal reactions that are creating the burnout and exhaustion you have experienced. 

To learn more about becoming an Embodied Empath sign up for the workshop HERE