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“I’m a what? An Empath? What’s that?” That’s the response I often receive when I tell my clients they are empathic. My standard response is that you feel other people’s emotions; you just ‘know’ a person/animal’s emotional state.
According to a definition search on Google, an Empath is, “(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” (Insert a derisive snort, eye roll and for good measure, let’s throw in a chuffaw) ‘Chiefly in science fiction’ my lily white bum.
The word “Empath” comes from the word “Empathy,” which Google tells me is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” This form of the word “empathic” must be more acceptable as there isn’t a ‘chiefly in science fiction’ disclaimer attached to it.
How do you know if you’re Empathic? Well, according to The Healers Journal, there are 30 signs to look for. Here are five of them:
2. Overwhelmed in public places
3. Taking on the emotions or physical ailments of others
4. Intolerance to watching (or reading about) violence or cruelty
5. Excellent listener
As long as I can remember, I have had issues dealing with large crowds. I’m talking weddings, funerals, graduations, award ceremonies, even watching little squirts play hockey. Anywhere there is strong emotion, I’m bound to tear up even if I don’t have a vested interested in what’s going on.
Years ago, YEARS ago, I was one of several students giving Reiki to my (now) bestie and (then) mentor, Susie, during a Reiki Gathering. Susie is an imposing figure (she’s over 6 feet tall) and she is, in my opinion, responsible for forging the path of Reiki/intuitive work in Fargo. I tell you this because, for me, all of that – her stature, her intuitive gifts and her knowledge – was very intimidating to a newly practicing intuitive such as myself.
I was working over her heart area when I was overcome with sadness. Before I could even register what was happening, I opened my maw and said (sighed, really), “Oh Susieeeeeeeeeeee.” She, who had been trying to hide her feelings and the drama that was going on in her personal life, looked up at me, clutched one of my hands and burst out crying. She felt ‘seen’ and that, she later said, was reassuring and comforting. Because of my empathic skills and the cojones to not let intimidation stop me, a deep and trusting friendship began.
One of the biggest issues of being an Empath is dealing with the ‘energy vampires.’ You know what I’m talking about; the leeches who suck the (energetic) life right out of you. The constant and eternal Debbie Downers who thrive on drama and negativity. These people are infinitely unhappy in their own lives and like a moth to a flame (the flame being you, my empathic friends), flutter about you until they either burn or you manage to shoo them away.
Back when I didn’t know how to protect myself from these psychic attacks, I constantly felt drained and I found myself trying to avoid certain people. As I spiritually learned and grew, I embraced a couple simple protection techniques that saved my proverbial bacon. They are as follows:
1. The Bubble of Protection: Imagine yourself inside a “Glenda the Good Witch” bubble and nothing but the energy for your highest good can penetrate it.
2. Purifying White Light: Imagine yourself bathed in a beam of pure white light. It cleanses you and keeps out all that is not for your highest good.
3. Mirrors: Imagine yourself behind a large, unblemished mirror. All that is not for your highest good will be repelled.
Those are three of my favorites. I’ve even created a meditation about them. I used these techniques a lot before I built up energetic ‘calluses’ which naturally protect me (somewhat) from those that seek to syphon my energy.
As I find myself on our way to my father-in-laws funeral, my mind turns toward this subject. He is a man whom I’ve never met and yet several times this week I have been moved to tears. I must be picking up on the energy of those he has left behind; the wife who stood by his side for over 25 years, the hired hand who worked tirelessly for him for over 30 years and, I suppose, for the granddaughter who will never know her grandpa. I think his death is also triggering emotions from my own dad’s death.
I know I’ll be bawling at the funeral and it has nothing to do with my personal feelings. I’ll be picking up on the emotions of loss, sadness and grief. But I’m good with crying. Totally. I also know I’ll be seeking some quiet time (another empathic need) to help me unwind from all of these emotions.
Being an Empath is a gift and it helps me see what my clients try to hide. It allows me to be a far more effective Healer and a more compassionate person. Clearly, this empathic stuff isn’t just for Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation (yes! I’m a TREKY!).