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empath

Empath

Can you really retire as an empath?

Ever since Maryam Hasnaa introduced the idea of ‘retiring as an empath’, I found myself mulling over the concept. Is that really possible? Her work has informed some of my practices, and I have found a lot of her writings useful and accessible.

Well, my answer is yes, if you follow her reasoning. I think she takes issue with how many people conflate suffering with what being an empath is all about. Of course you want to fix people when you ‘can’t help’ but feel what they’re feeling. Who wants that, all the time? We all know how exhausting it is. We all know how crazy you can feel when all you do all day is take on the moods and drama of others.

So yes, retiring from taking on others’ feelings reflexively and not from a place of your own volition makes complete and total sense.

I think it’s also a kind of reaction to how the concept of ’empath’ that has been romanticized. I started this blog a few years ago and for better or worse, the ‘spirituality’ scene has blown up. And I remember how stumbling upon explanations of first being a HSP and then an empath was so mind-blowing to me. It was like, wow, I’ve finally found an explanation of how I have been feeling all these years.

But since then, these terms are all over the internet – e.g. easy-to-digest and weirdly compelling lists ’10 Signs You’re an Empath’, Instagram posts and memes… Distortion and over-simplification are inevitable. It’s the nature of the Internet – people’s attention spans have become shorter, and we demand increasingly for bite-sized information that’s easily snack-able. McSpirituality. If it’s not easy, convenient, in a 10-point list or shorter, forget about people reading it. (I sometimes worry about the consequence of this, and am consciously trying to guard myself against this short attention span epidemic…)

(Also, it’s actually pretty tough to find good quality information and guidance out there now on this trait. I still turn to my trusted sources (books I’ve listed on the sidebar), and my own experience to guide me.)

But ultimately, I still find utility in the term. For me, the label ’empath’ is something neutral. It is just a word that describes a person who is able to absorb the feelings of others. The key word here is ‘able’ and not ‘must do so at all costs’. It is an ability. And for convenience, it serves as a useful label to help organize the information around this trait. Especially to differentiate between the more technical/scientifically researched trait of ‘highly sensitive’ versus ’empath’. And so, it’s not necessarily something I can retire from. I can’t change the way I was wired, but I can change some of the ways this wiring manifests in terms of thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Why the term ‘Empath’ has been romanticized and distorted

One of the reasons is probably because people get caught up in wanting to feel special and unique about this trait – I know I did, and sometimes still do – and so perhaps have trouble committing to learning the proper ways to master this ability. Taking on other people’s emotions and participating in drama can also become a habit, and like any other habit, needs conscious, dedicated effort to unlearn. Many people are also perfectly content being caught in a drama triangle, because despite the emotional turmoil, it’s still a kind of homeostasis – there’s something predictable and thus comfortable about the devil you know.

Learning the proper ways to master this ability does take a lot of work – but it’s really more about having a willingness for self-inquiry. Some level of insight and patience is needed. There’s no way around it: it takes mindfulness and awareness to learn how to stay within the bounds of your own consciousness; it takes a lot of work to be aware of any potential drama that one is stepping into; it takes  work to unlearn and unravel patterns of victim/rescuer/bully behavior. When for whatever reason I haven’t been scrupulously watching over my own emotional state, I can still find myself sliding into drama patterns I’ve not yet healed or cleared. And then it takes work to figure out the emotional truth underlying whatever just happened, and to confront and clear it.

All empaths have felt at some point singled out, alienated, or victimized because of their feelings. I think it is a perfectly normal and natural thing to say ‘But I feel so much in this world that feels so very little’ – and wanting to be somehow applauded and seen as special for it. But the truth is, wanting to feel special for it can still come from woundedness – we’re still seeking external validation to make being who we are all okay.

The goal is to gain our main source of validation from ourselves. To know, believe and embody that we are intrinsically okay and that we have a right to be who we are – simply because we exist.

How about you? Do you still find the term ’empath’ useful or accurate for you in terms of understanding your traits and abilities?

Side note about this blog

On an unrelated note, I think the blogging landscape has changed SO MUCH and as a human being with multiple things going on and being easily overstimulated, I have honestly been too overwhelmed to keep up. I think I let it discourage me from writing for quite a long while. I thought: how could I ever compete for attention? How am I going to keep producing shiny new content when some things just need to be…lived out, and that takes time? But I have recently come to the conclusion that I LOVE writing, I love sharing. I do it primarily for me, because of this need I have to express and share, and if you get something from it, then great. So many of my favorite writers or poets have disappeared from the Internet or are planning to… And I have nostalgia for those days, when it was all more.. organic?

Yes. I am old-fashioned.

And above all, I have a relationship with words. I love how they sound, how they vibrate, the nuances of different languages. I have a love-hate relationship with the way we are oversaturated with words on the Internet and I will always crave for authenticity and connection. Which of course, I am cultivating offline – but it was nice when that wasn’t an entirely naive hope when it came to the online space!

So all that to say, I will still be blogging. I am not abandoning this blog. It may take on different forms, especially as I grow professionally. But I will still be writing. And if you’re still reading this, then maybe you’re totally an old-fashioned person like me, and that means I like you already 😉

Sensitive Warriors Sensitivity

Empath 101: Energy Basics

Perhaps you’re new to the whole concept of energy and being able to sense something we have not been taught to identify or to name. It’s natural to feel scared, skeptical, doubtful, or even ‘crazy’. So often I have heard people (and myself) hesitate to mention this and other ‘special abilities’ for fear of other people thinking that we’ve completely lost it.

And we all know what we do to people who we think are ‘crazy’, and it has not been pretty – until fairly recently. We marginalize them, medicate them and all but toss them out of society. (Which is also why I was led to the field of mental health counseling. The work of de-stigmatizing actual mental illnesses and seeking help for mental health services is only in its infancy – especially among Asian people and other racial groups!)

So back to the topic – sensing energy. Experiencing ‘supernatural’ powers. This all exists. It is real. You’re not crazy – especially if you are here, reading this blog, and have been fervently trying to seek out more information about it. *However, this is a problem if any visions you encounter have been telling you to hurt yourself or others. It’s important to know the difference and to seek medical help.*

Your sensitivity and intuition is simply another skill that you haven’t been taught about. These are natural propensities for certain things, just like how some people gravitate towards math, or play instruments easily, or have a natural sense of rhythm. It’s mostly innate, and it’s not something to fear.

If you’re here because all of a sudden you’re dreaming about things, having visions, having prophetic dreams, picking up on others’ emotions, feeling chronically tired, sensing what other people think and what their motivations may be, knowing about their karmic past etc. – then you really aren’t crazy. In fact…

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Sensitivity

10 Awesome Things About Being an Empath

We don’t hear enough about the truly magical and wonderful aspects of being an empath. While being one doesn’t make us any more special or unique than other people, just different, there are some things about it that are definitely worth celebrating. It’s a gift that comes with its own challenges – but ones that do make life more interesting!

Here are some of the brilliant things I’ve learnt from the wonderful empaths around me, who have shown me just how awe-inspiring it can be to be an empath.

10 Awesome Things About Being an Empath

  1. It’s the closest thing you can get to being an X-Man. Or a witch in Harry Potter. Or any other magical thing you’ve dreamed of being. I know, it sounds childish – but as a child, all I wanted was to have special, magical powers! Now I do. You have to admit, all your extrasensory perceptions – they’re pretty cool, right? The kid in me is VERY THRILLED.
  2. But on a serious note, this ability of ours to feel pain acutely? It just means you can’t ignore it and let it fester for decades. This is a blessing because we’re being invited to hold our pain, talk to it, heal it, transmute it – and thus evolve more quickly instead of getting stuck in a loop, endlessly experiencing the same thing before we finally learn our soul lessons. Many non-sensitives may be aware of their pain, but choose to drown it out or ignore it – thus keeping a part of their emotional bodies in a kind of stasis and never fully living. You have the chance to truly live. You have the chance to live from a place of wholeness, instead of fear, pain and woundedness.
  3. In other words, you’ve actually been given the chance of a lifetime; you’ve been given THIS lifetime as an invitation to evolve and go further along the path – in soul growth evolution, in spiritual understanding, being in touch with the divine. Not that it’s some kind of competition – everything happens in its own time – but it’s a fact that you’ve come equipped to evolve beyond ego-driven hubris and chaos.
  4. You’re a leader. Look around you – the reason why you feel SO different isn’t a cause for lament – it’s meant to be celebrated! You’re different because you’re meant to be a leader in your own way, just by being who you are, who you came here to be. So dig deeper. Really get to know what you care about and want to change in the world. You’re a way-show-er – you’re bringing a new way of living to the world – a heart-centered, compassionate, gentle way to tread upon this Earth. If you know anything about the state of our planet at all, you’ll be aware that our Earth has a deep need for YOU.
  5. Your strength and courage in confronting your emotional depths would win you a medal, if there was such a thing as the Olympic Games of Empathy & Emotional Intelligence. Confronting pain and conflicting emotions within oneself is a very, very difficult thing for many humans. But you have been blessed with this strength to go deep, so very deep – these depths would often bring a non-empath to their knees, or even break them. I’ve seen people hold deep pain within themselves for decades, frozen, unable to fully live. But haven’t you noticed, the moment you decide to go deep and unravel whatever painful issue that has been holding you back, you’re able to shed it and move on, so easily? That is a super power in itself. While you’re in the depths of it, it’s probably hard to appreciate, but trust me. This is an incredible form of strength.
  6. This is also the very ability that can make you a powerful healer, to help people confront their pain gently, and to hold space for them while they process things that can be very difficult to bear. Having experienced totally non-empathetic doctors, I’ve come to the realization that Healing is very, very different from Medicating someone or Treating them or just simply having the title of ‘Doctor’. Healing is holistic; healing treats the person as a whole, human being, and not just a body with biological functions. Healing deals with the heart as much as the mind and body. Your ability to perceive the soul puts you in a perfect position to be of service to others, to be a true healer.
  7. You experience Love with a capital L. Love for all things. Love for humanity. Love for our Earth. Divine Love. You love so profoundly – it’s something that others touch only rarely, perhaps in moments of grace or epiphany. But when you, an Empath, open your heart – you can touch this Love any time you want, and live in it ALL the time, if you want.
  8. You can spot the People Who Lie to Themselves from a mile away. There are also Those Who Lie to Others. And Those Whose Egos Are Way Too Big. Not judging these souls… but there’s just no need to get entangled in any more drama than is necessary. As a balanced empath, you know instinctively who you can trust and who you should stay away from, even when it all seems okay on the surface. This trait is pretty valuable in life, to say the least!
  9. Your empathy and capacity for deep feeling can inform your work in meaningful ways. One Empath I know is a very successful fashion stylist – that’s her day job. In the summer, she leads retreats in Peru as a shaman. Her work in fashion is inspired by her shamanic work. They’re beautiful! She sees bringing beauty to the world as part of her calling. Similarly, you can bring an other-worldly dynamic to whatever you do in your daily life – from being a mother to an artist or an accountant… It’s all up to you. You can choose to infuse everything you do with personal meaning and significance, with the gifts you’ve been given.
  10. Being an empath may just be the tip of the iceberg – other than clairsentience, you may have other clair-senses too… (See point 1.) Isn’t that exciting? All these other abilities you can explore. You get to live in the magic… You get to directly perceive the divinity of the world. What a blessing!

What other amazing things can you think of? I’d love to hear!

Sensitivity

Empaths in Romantic Relationships

In a  weekly feature, Dana of  Empath Rising will be sharing her views as well as practical tips on understanding and managing your sensitivity as an Empath.

It’s amazing to consider that even the most emotionally intelligent human being (that’s us!) could also have the most difficulty in forming and maintaining healthy relationships. This Empath Truth can be one that is very hard for us to digest and can often inadvertently validate our low self esteem and the “I’m not normal” complex.

I do believe this struggle is the hardest to overcome when attempting to understand ourselves as Sensitives.  After all, how can such loving and selfless creatures (at our best) be so unlovable, so incapable of bonding with another when we feel so connected to all creatures of Earth?  If we hone in on the truth, it is often hard to digest, but as with every other struggle, this one is also about Self Awareness through Self Discovery.

Unhealed Empaths tend to fall into the Rescuer or Fixer Roles

As Empaths, whether we are aware or not, we focus on “helping” others and before this comes into awareness, we actually focus on “fixing” others. We have this tendency to gravitate towards emotionally unavailable humans – and we expend ourselves trying to make them happy. As empaths in romantic relationships, we seek to satisfy our own self worth by believing that if we act “appropriately” enough (by doing whatever the partner wants), that they will eventually love us as some kind of reward for having loved them through their own self hatred.  I could go into all the details why but the short of it is – THIS. NEVER. WORKS.  And all we wind up doing is creating an inner sense of worthlessness.

In almost every article you read on Empaths, “Codependency” is in there somewhere.  Why is this?  Well, it’s because as Empaths, we feel what those around us feel.  Until we are older and wiser, we don’t realize most of what we feel is not our own.  Codependency occurs in any relationship where one person is devoid of ‘Inner Love.”  The Empath senses this lack and seeks to fill this inner void within their partner and while doing so, spends so much time absorbing and mirroring back their emotional state of being that they too, begin to become devoid of “Inner Love” and believe it is their fault for the demise of the relationship; they believe it is their own inability to BE loved that is why all their relationships fail.

See here is the difference between Empaths and others.  Empaths ALWAYS self-reflect.  They always look to their selves as the blame – the one who could have tried harder, acted differently, should have known better, etc.  It’s a sad, sad and harsh reality but – this is why most people that are in abusive relationships always return to their abusive partners.  Most of them are Empaths that believe they should be working HARDER to fix their partner, even when the partner is never taking any responsibility for the emotional unavailability they bring into the relationship.  In fact, the other partner is usually projecting their emotional unavailability onto the Empath and validating the Empath’s feelings of “blame” and “unlovable-ness.”  (Yup, I made up my own word just there!)

Know thyself, Love thyself – Then Share the Love

So – how is any of what I am writing helpful? Well, it’s really not.  Truth is that, until one is READY to understand that life as an Empath is not about Loving OTHERS – but about falling in love with their SELF and then sharing that love with others who can appreciate it, evolve from it, become the best version of their self by being accepting of it… it doesn’t really matter what I write.  Empaths have this stubbornness (backed by profound resilience) about them where they are insistent on proving their self worth by proving their love is the most powerful of all – so they take on this low viber in an attempt to prove the power of their Love to their Self through validation from another outside of their self.  And that’s ok because that is part of our path – coming to our own realization that we have to Love and Honor and Respect ourselves FIRST – and only then can we be of any value to our selves, our purpose, to humanity, to another human being.

All I am simply trying to do in this article is to perhaps give you a few things to consider before giving up on love or before settling for someone that is just going to bring you down to their level of vibration (we vibe very very high for those who aren’t aware).  As I said, Self Awareness within Self Discovery is critical for Empaths and being aware of they types of relationships you have had in the past, the patterns of behaviors in others you seem to be drawn to, the pattern of behaviors that you fall into in relationships, and the way relationships end will GREATLY provide you insight as to the areas of focus that needs to shift and also have boundaries around them so you do not keep repeating your past!

I am going to write a continuation of this article for next week, where I will outline some of types of behaviors others exhibit that should be red flags for us, the challenges of being in relationships and some of the healthy boundaries to set when starting a new relationship (as we have a tendency to rush into things!!!)  I will also share with you the difficulties and benefits of being in a relationship with another Empath (which, although it has its EXTREME difficulties, has been the most rewarding and self revolutionizing relationship for both myself and my life partner who are both Empaths.)

Sensitivity

There is Freedom in Boundaries

In a new weekly feature, Dana of  Empathic Translation will be sharing her views as well as practical tips on understanding and managing your sensitivity as an Empath.

Ok, so you have discovered you are a “Sensitive” – likely identifying yourself as an HSP or an Empath.  What are you going to do now?

You are going to set some (very detailed) boundaries!  I’m not talking about limiting yourself as a human being, I am talking about BOUNDARIES.  This means drawing very clear lines which others ARE. NOT. TO. CROSS.  And if they do – you have very clear cut, proactive strategies in place to keep yourself balanced.

Here’s the thing about those who are “Normal” (aka not the beautifully complex human beings that we are); they are NEEDY mother f-ers.  And listen, I LOVE human beings, they are my favorite creature on this planet – but the truth hurts.  And the truth about most human beings are that, they just don’t get it.  Now, my hope is that at some point in your own self-discovery, you will understand the depths of what “it” is.  Once you do, it gets easier to maintain balance within yourself as you remain completely detached from emotions and vibrational chaos that is not yours to feel responsible for.

Speaking of responsibility – YOU are your own responsibility.  Once you understand this, boundaries are fairly easy to develop and to live by.  Others laugh at me when I send them my “Boundaries Bible” because it is so detailed that it almost makes it seems like interacting with other humans is dangerous.  Well, as an HSP/Empath, IT IS!  This is why most of us are hot wired to run or to defend ourselves all the time – because we understand the inner fury of others and perceive even the slightest of angst within others as assaultive to our state of being.  That is a fair reason to feel hyper-sensitive and fearful of your environment.

Basic psychology states that we only FEAR what we do not understand – and admittedly as an HSP or an Empath, we do not always understand the rationale behind what we are feeling, we just know it’s there.  This would make anyone “insane.”  Einstein says that “Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result.” – so put those together and BOOM, boundaries will keep you SANE!  (Did we all just have an Epiphany? An “a-hah” moment? No? Not yet? Ok, I’ll elaborate).

Boundaries are:

1)      A definite place where YOUR responsibility for another person ends and their responsibility for themselves begins.  A line clearly established where you stop doing things for others that they should be doing for themselves.

2)      An agreement with yourself that stops you from feeling obligated to rescue someone from the consequences of their own destructive behaviors (which they need to experience to evolve themselves) and stops you from feeling guilty for the consequences someone experiences for the actions they’re taking.

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Sensitivity

How to Ground and Centre Yourself

Grounding and centering yourself is super important in times of change and intensity. It helps you to deal with stuff with more grace and clarity, essential to holding yourself steady through wobbly times.

If you’re standing strong and rooted, it’ll be much harder to topple you, in all senses of the word!

I definitely learned this the hard way (i.e. a lot of humble pie eating, unnecessary conflicts etc. – it’s the fiery dragon in me, I have to own it!). High five if you’re also in the learn-the-hard-way camp by the way, you’re so not alone. As an empath and HSP, it’s already innate for us to feel deeply. But when I’m off centre, I get really carried away by my emotions. All obligations and concerns take a backseat as I feel almost incapable of directing my day or focusing on essential tasks. So what happens when you feel like you’re spiraling, struggling to pull yourself back?

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Living

How to Believe in Yourself (Part 2)

In between writing this post and the previous one, life has been tossing me curveballs left and right. It was a great reminder that practicing self-care amidst even the most chaotic of moments is of utmost importance. Don’t wait till life deals you a reminder before you take a little time out for yourself! 

Now that you’ve found out a little more about yourself… 

You See Your Light

There’s the good stuff: your interests, what sets your heart on fire, what you find yourself doing with just pure unadulterated joy. How you make others happy, the roles you play in others’ lives. Also, the things you truly enjoy; it’s stuff that doesn’t get intellectualized – you’re just in the flow, enjoying the moment. (P.S. Whether you believe it or not, your pure existence IS already a light.)

You Encounter Your Shadow

And there’s also the not so shiny, happy bits of yourself. Stuff that you’d much rather not see or look at. This is the part where it gets tricky – difficult things come up. But you know what? There’s no need to fear it, or to avoid it. Instead, take some time out to really look at it.

So that instead of them having an unconscious hold on you, you are able to look at your shadows and say: You are there. I see you. What will I do about them? Can I accept them? How can I allow it to sit at the table of my life without taking over my thoughts and actions? Or projecting them onto others?

*I know that it’s not so easy to really look at what we dislike about ourselves. Because even just being open and willing to delve in requires a ton of courage. But truly, every one of us is capable of it. 

To arrive at true self-acceptance involves embracing both your light and your shadow. 

I’m a Virgo, and this year, Jupiter – the planet of luck and expansion – is in my house of closure, healing and surrender till August 2015 – since last July! (Wherever Jupiter is, it expands.) And man, has it been a rough ride. But it has also been a great opportunity to drop things – attitudes, baggage – that no longer serve me.

When we’re growing up, we pick up habits and beliefs from our family of origin that we take to be Truth. Sometimes that truth just isn’t… true anymore. Or maybe it was never true to begin with. And the painful bits are sometimes the very things we need to delve into to unlock our true selves from self-limiting beliefs. Beyond those beliefs, there lies our true self. Shame might come up…Or guilt. Sticky, squirmy, uncomfortable feelings. It helps to spend time sitting with them for a little while. And in this process, it’ll be helpful to…

3. Develop a guiding principle when it comes to how you treat yourself. 

Because if you’re sitting with these sticky, squirmy feelings, while simultaneously being mean and unkind to yourself about even having them, then you’d probably be less likely to want to inspect them again – it would be an all-round unpleasant experience. Only the most masochistic would be willing to go through all of that.

“Honesty without kindness, humor and goodheartedness can be just mean.” – Pema Chodron 

I realized how important this was, because meditation and introspection were starting to become really grim affairs. Being naturally self-critical and setting really high standards for myself, just meant that I was getting myself down over all these perceived flaws…

There’s also nothing wrong with being self-critical, by the way. Intelligent people tend to be. That’s how we look for ways to improve situations, to amass more information and resources. But when we turn this critical nature onto ourselves, that’s when it becomes self-defeating.

Those flaws, or habits, or anything you might dislike about yourself? Perhaps shift your perspective a little: these were just ways we were taught to relate and make sense of the world. It might have worked or served us well in certain situations, and we clung on to them. But when it starts hurting you or the people around you, then perhaps it’s time to examine them and let them go. Because we ARE capable of change as evolving human beings – condemnation is never helpful, because it pins a person or situation down to a static state, which is just not being fair to ourselves.

So when you encounter something you dislike about yourself, or you make a mistake. Start observing. How do you talk to yourself (and others) when this happens? Does it sound like this?

“What’s wrong with me?” “How could I have…?” “You’re so dumb/forgetful/clumsy/other insult”

Instead of this, could you be more gentle? Be less harsh with your tone and the words you use to think about yourself?

The voices in your head are shaped by your parents, or any other major parental figure in your life growing up. I realized this even more acutely just recently. My parents are currently visiting me in NYC now, and as we were crossing the road, my dad said in his reflexive way,  ‘Watch out.’ I smiled to myself, because it was as though I was hearing the voices in my head out loud. As a kid, they must have dealt you admonishments, advice, feedback. Good stuff. They stuck in your head, they help you to navigate the world as an adult. But how about when it doesn’t help? As well-meaning and loving as your parents are, they are human too. Not every method of dealing with life might have been the best, or relevant to your own, unique life – so be willing to start talking to yourself in how your most loving self would. What would you say to your own child?

Because being an adult also means parenting yourself, taking your own hand while you go out there in the world.

Next post in How to Believe in Yourself series: Taking Action

Living

How to Believe in Yourself (Part 1)

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetStanding in the light helps.

“Just believe in yourself.”

It’s one of those throwaway pieces of advice that people tend to dole out.

Like “Take it easy.” or “Let it go.” In the darkest, fuzziest moments of my seemingly endless quarter life crisis/spiritual awakening/complete breakdown, it was particularly frustrating to hear it. Because even though as a little kid I just knew there was something I was here to do, like a beacon shining out to me, blinking from afar, it felt like I’d lost the map, the instruction manual. How do I even get there, to navigate across those dark waters, to wherever there is?

So “Just believe in yourself” was pretty galling to me, as you can imagine. As my need and urgency to find my place in the world grew, there were times I felt disparaged just hearing this phrase.

How? How do you actually believe in yourself? I wanted to shout… while melodramatically running across rainy streets and sun-scorched deserts.

Looking back, I’ve since realized why it was tough for me to even start believing in myself. At that point, I didn’t even have a firm grip on who my fundamental Self is. To be sure, I knew things about myself. I like to write. That’s been true since I was little. I knew myself in terms of taste and preferences – what I liked and what I disliked; but it basically boiled down to knowing stuff about myself. At my core, I didn’t really know who I was. Up till then, it felt like I had been fumbling around, taking clumsy steps towards what I wanted, like following a trail of breadcrumbs on the path Home, while one part of me secretly believed I had to compromise to fit into the ‘real world’, to be ‘practical’, to mould myself into the world I saw around me to make a living like everyone else. So I compromised. In other words, ugh. U.G.H.

Sounds like a recipe for happiness doesn’t it? And yes, I was pretty miserable. Because deep down inside, I knew I wasn’t living an authentic life. I was safe, yes, secure, yup – but I was also unhappy. Being a Virgo, this unhappiness often manifested as over-critical, judgmental behavior.

Part of not having a handle on my empath abilities at that point also meant that those traits only served to confuse me about who I am and what I believe in. As the sensitive-person-in-denial that I was, it was also easier to be drowned out in this noisy, wonderful world of ours than to add my voice into the cacophony. It was often easier to reflect others around me instead of standing out and risking that stimulation – all for an unknown reward. So how could I have even begun to believe in something – my Self – that I didn’t even truly know?

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Sensitivity

Book Recommendation for Empaths

A sudden silence here, as I’m making my way through a very enlightening book right now: The Empath Archetype by Elaine La Joie. It’s the culmination of the insights she’s culled during her work as a shaman that took seven years to complete: and I’m so glad she did it, because I find myself nodding to it at every other sentence. It puts into words and validates a million things that I’ve always felt and experienced as an empath and I’m so glad there are people out there who have dedicated themselves to demystifying this thing!

It’s not quite a how-to book though, and after doing so much reading on this subject, I don’t believe that there can be ONE definitive how-to book for empaths. And there’s also only SO much that reading can do – and I say this as a book lover, who depends on books like it’s my lifeline and guide to everything in life. But I also believe in the magic of hitting on just the right book at the right time, and I believe this is the right one for me at this point in my journey.

This, especially, shifted my perspective considerably:

“What the empath can fail to understand is that because she is so introspective she has built up an inner strength that lets her view the pain of her life whereas others would bend or break under that pain. What she can fail to understand is that what makes her strong – the ability to look life squarely in the eye – can overwhelm another soul. While the empath has much life experience turning pain into insight and growth, most people try to avoid such growth if it is too painful.”

I’d never thought of it that way!

There are plenty of case studies and stories that do well to illustrate typical relationship issues, defining what healthy boundaries are, and knowing whether to seek more help. It’s more like a springboard to doing the self-exploration that’s necessary to becoming a skilled and healthy empath. Best $20 I have spent so far on this subject! Her blog is a good place to start to see if what she’s saying speaks to you.

Sensitivity

X-Men and…Empaths

So, after succumbing to jet-lag and taking a 4-hour nap at 4pm on Sunday, we went to watch the X-Men movie.

(Side note: the theaters here are awesome. For the price of a normal ticket, you get these ginormous armchairs where you can lounge and rest your legs… we heart AMC.)

Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed X-Men. It’s enjoyable, stuff that’s perfectly suited for the big screen, and has just the right amount of fantasy and escapism…

But one scene from this latest installment did catch me by surprise.

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