When I was first realizing that I was an empath, I sometimes felt victimized by this so called “gift.” While on the one hand I was relieved to learn there was an explanation for what I had been experiencing my whole life, on the other I was frustrated that this was not a medically or scientifically recognized attribute. There was very little written about being an empath and even now I challenge you to find a commonly held definition in a dictionary. There are resources out there, and I will list some of my favorites for you, but I have felt what was missing was a fuller understanding of three aspects of learning required for a full and vibrant life as an empath.
From birth, I engaged with each person I met by merging my energy field with their energy field. This was how I understood how to interact with other people. By merging with someone, I understood them on a level I couldn’t from just talking. I could relate to the world as they saw it. By merging energy I could learn many things about them. Do they believe what they are saying? Are they a violent person? A helpful person? What do they feel like? Am I safe here? All of this is done with energy. There wasn’t a cognitive conversation going on in my head, it was all done in the language of empaths–energy. I am just now learning how to put my empath-ness into words; to create a verbal vocabulary for my strongest way of communicating and relating to people. If I could put my empathic impressions into words, I could write a 100-page dissertation on every person I have been close with. My understanding of people from an empathic perspective runs deep. I didn’t intend to have this ability and many people are taken aback by me because even if I never relay to them what I understand about them, they often sense I know more than they may want to share. So again, I didn’t feel like this was a gift for a very long time. To me, this was a curse. I merged to feel safe in my environment, to find allies, and to find protectors when I was a kid.
Prior to a lot of education on energy and even more energy healing, I would see people only on a soul level, not seeing their personality. This blindness to a person’s incarnate-self was quite problematic. I understood them at a level that most people didn’t even look at themselves, let alone choose to live from. I was often confused by their behavior when it didn’t align with their true self, with the only person I saw or understood them to be. This repeated pattern created in me some behaviors and coping strategies that were not at all healthy. I had become a people pleaser and a shape-shifter. I saw what people needed and wanted and I became that for them. So I would be needed and hopefully loved. Unfortunately, the pattern of seeing the soul, not the person and using people pleasing skills to relate, was destructive in my life.
When I sought help for the troubling patterns I had created, I was blessed to find a counselor who was also trained in more energy healing techniques than I could count. She was a godsend (probably literally). As she taught me how to run my energy and what an empath was, I latched onto what my soul knew was the help I needed. Real help for me to begin to fully express myself and embrace being an empath. I worked with her to heal myself and discover how I related to the world differently than some other folks.
Here, in short, is what I have learned about thriving as an empath: it is ALL about energy management. There are no protection tools strong enough to avoid picking up the energy of others. However, there are ways to manage your energy so you can truly become you, alone in your body, concerning yourself with only your own thoughts and feelings. Then allowing yourself to merge when you choose as opposed to merging unconsciously.
There are many kinds of empaths and I am certain your experience has been unique. Don’t take on someone else’s experience as your own, take time to understand your unique gift. Contrast what you read with yourself, keep what resonates as truth and don’t worry about the rest.
We have senses beyond the 5 common ones. These senses are more subtle and they pick up energy vibrations that are undetectable by the others. As an empath, this is what you are doing, you are feeling energy broadcast by people, places, animals and/or inanimate objects.
Begin a mindfulness practice. Find an energy healer and possibly a counselor. Make a decision to understand who you are, how you operate in the world and why. Discover your true spirit and what you want out of life.
Thriving as an empath comes from integrating your learning – knowledge of self, energy, and energetic tools, with your signature imprint as an empath. Weave your personal tapestry, display it proudly and discover the gift hidden in the curse.
In the 10 plus years I have been studying being an empath, what is clear to me is there is no universal experience of being an empath, there are no quick fixes or protections to keep you unaffected by the energy of others, and your wellbeing is completely in your hands. This blog series will explore these areas of focus in greater detail to teach other empaths how to create a grounded and thriving life.
Read the next installment Thriving as an Empath: The Empath Defined
Find more resources on empaths and energy.
Thriving as an Empath will be a five-part blog series. Join The Vital Spirit mailing list.
Laura Rowe is an intuitive energy healer. Living in Portland, Oregon, Laura founded The Vital Spirit, an entity that seeks to be an instrument in the ongoing shift in human consciousness. Laura works with adults who identify as highly sensitive persons or empaths and were the children of abusive/neglectful/narcissistic parents. I help these individuals clear energetic blocks, release limiting beliefs, thrive in their business/careers and navigate interpersonal relationships so they can live life to the fullest.