Empath has now become a popular buzz word that people use but when I ask people I work with what it means they give me varying definitions. Truth be told being an Empath has been glorified, glamorized, and idealized. That of course is my opinion, but none of the memes out there or flowery references gets to the heart of what it really is for a lot of people. Being an Empath means taking in other people’s stuff and feeling it like its yours. There are different ways this can manifest and with a lot of funky dynamics that can come out of it, but this feeling of other people's crap is the basic idea.
The consequences of taking in other people’s stuff all the time is getting drained, feeling moody, stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed and not wanting to go out into the world and interact with anyone or anything that might cause another shift. Knowing you are an Empath is all well and good but what do you do with that information? Some people love it and embrace it, there are others who have asked me how they can get rid of it, and then those who try to numb it out with substances. I get it! First, I didn’t know what an Empath was or to call myself one, and then when I did it didn’t make things easier. I could just go read a bunch of articles on the internet and take some quizzes that were cool but there was no concrete guidance on how this knowledge was going to magically transform my life, I was like "oh another way I am different". I have pretty much had the weird box checked my whole life, I didn't need something else to confirm it. Then the blocking things :check, I did that (well tried and sometimes it worked, I won't lie) but here entered Anorexia and OCD and it was all because I was overwhelmed by other’s emotions. I was a sponge sucking up other’s emotions and when it got too much I would express it for them. I was really good at that part too - emoting for others, and me, the real me, well I was lost in the mix of other's thoughts, feelings, emotions and needs. The thing I hadn’t tried is acceptance of the fact that I was this Empath thing and from there management tools.
Just go with me a moment. I really love cheese, love it! Yes, I moved to cheese for a moment. I love dairy products! I am not discussing the health concerns around it, just stating my taste. However, my stomach doesn’t love lactose. I know easy solution, right? Sure, but not when you’re in a hurry or it isn’t available and what about all the available cheese on the trays at parties, anyway, I would eat it and my stomach would hurt and I would be in a cycle. So okay, I knew I was lactose intolerant, great....I don’t know the statistic but so are a lot of people, it doesn’t help, still in pain and can’t have cheese! So I could choose that route and never taste one of my favorite foods again, hide from pretty much every party that I will ever get invited to which inevitably will have a tempting cheese tray there, or look for ways to still eat cheese and not have the stomach ache. The answer in this case seems pretty straightforward - go get the Lactaid and call it a day! Well essentially it is the same principle but it is a little bit more involved with being an Empath.
My sister once told me "We are more the same then we are different". I wonder if that's why those feelings can be so easily confused as our own? It’s possible. Yes, it's lovely you want to help people and I understand for a lot of people it almost feels like you are being kind, holding on to the emotion -you aren’t. If it isn’t yours to feel, you can’t heal it, no matter how much and how intensely you want to, and I know it's intense.
Let me give you an example of why let’s say you know I have to get to work in ten minutes so you get in your car and you drive to my job-did that help me? Did I get there? The answer is obviously no, but as an Empath they will hold on to that urgency themselves because they are the ones who need to get to work. So that's why when you feel a sudden emotion ask yourself -does this feeling match the facts? If it doesn’t just send it back. Someone else needs it.
This first blog, a first entry, a way to say hi and breakdown the mystery, bring it down to Earth, and most of all to give you some hope. There are tools for everyone out there, boundaries are tough for a lot of Empaths because there is that blur of not knowing what is mine and what is yours and no tool is one-size fits all. Scientists and CEOs can be Empaths, and people in the energy world and healing arts can be narcissists and sociopaths. Let me be very clear this blog and the ones following, along with the upcoming Empath Page (look for it in the following weeks) are going to give tools and ways to ground, and a community for people sharing this commonality.
Ok, one tool at a time to start. Practice it and comment below, this is a safe place to be an Empath, its a part of who you are, and developing these tools is part of keeping you safe.