Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions and situations that other people around you are experiencing. It’s a skill that can be practiced, as the more deeply you can understand the emotions, thoughts, and motivations of others, the better all of your relationships will be.
An empath is a person who innately has this skill to a very high level, and they often have difficulty telling the difference between their own feelings and those of other people. Empaths are also called “highly sensitive” because they have a deep sense of others’ feelings. This means they can be phenomenal in a caretaker role, and tend to anticipate the needs of their friends and family without being asked. Unfortunately, many empaths don’t know how to “turn off” these senses, and that can be overwhelming. In the worst cases, an empath can be taken advantage of by those who lack empathy, such as narcissists, and can suffer with mental illnesses.
Being an empath is a super power, because it lets you connect with others on a profound level. But this open connection must be protected for your own sanity and well-being. You’re about to learn five ways that you can protect yourself as an empath so you can separate your feelings from others and avoid getting stressed out by absorbing too much of others’ emotions. To protect yourself on a deeper level, join the Adept Initiative course, where you will find the tools you need to keep yourself safe and centered, as well as a community of like-minded students to share the journey.
Why empathy is important
Sometimes empaths wish that they could completely turn off this skill because they feel “too much.” Empathy lets us relate to and understand the experiences of other people. Without empathy it would be impossible to form genuine connections with others, and the human race would have been stuck in the stone age.
Empathy forms the foundation of community groups where we can collaborate, grow, and improve. In today’s society, empathy is the core feature of many professional roles, from medical professionals to customer service jobs. Empaths are drawn to these types of roles because they are such great natural caregivers.
As an empath, you need care too. Create a circle of friends around yourself who are supportive and understand the unique needs of empaths. It may be helpful to have other empath friends who can guide you through the hard days, and you can share your gifts with them as well. Having a strong community connection will help you stay grounded and healthy.
Empath without boundaries
When an empath takes on too much of other’s painful emotions, which may happen more often than they would like, they can develop unwanted physical symptoms because the feelings have nowhere else to go. Humans are pretty good at processing their own emotions, but aren’t so great at doing it for other people. When someone takes on too much external emotion, they can get fatigued, irritable, and develop headaches and body aches. Many empaths suffer from anxiety, depression, and panic attacks for this reason: they simply are taking on too much external emotion.
The biggest step an empath can take is to create and enforce personal boundaries. Strong boundaries between themselves and anything that demands their energy or attention will keep an empath from getting overwhelmed with the feelings they pick up from other people. Because they are sensing so much emotion from others, empaths need extra time to process. They are also prone to saying yes to too many things, because they know they can help out, or make someone else feel better. Find the line where you say no. Saying no with kindness but firmness will help you form strong boundaries and maintain your own stability. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, do you really want that kind of person in your life anyway?
Boundaries can also include deciding how much energy or attention you spend on things like the news or social media, or feeling like you must answer everyone’s texts or emails right away. Be mindful of how your body feels when you engage in these activities, and shift your behavior accordingly.
Do empaths like to be alone?
Yes! Empaths need time alone to recharge and to separate themselves from other people’s emotions. Time alone gives an empath peace and stability because they can more clearly feel their own emotions and reactions. Time alone allows the empath to have their own needs met, which often takes the shape of quiet evenings alone or around one or two other people who don’t feel draining to them.
Empaths often have pets, which are a soothing presence to them. A cat might sit on your face at 3 am, and a dog might need to go for a walk in the snow, but animal companionship brings joy and love to the empath in what otherwise can feel like a harsh and demanding world. These are the luckiest pets on the planet: since empaths excel at caretaking, the pets of empaths get lots of love and attention.
Can empaths feel others’ physical pain?
If you’re easily fatigued, get headaches for no known reason, or have pain in your body with no discernable cause, it’s likely you’re picking up on other people’s pain. This unfortunate side effect comes from being so open to others’ physical and emotional states that you share in their suffering in your body. Even if the other person isn’t in physical pain, they might have so much emotional pain that it bleeds over into your body where it might find a way to be processed and cleared out.
For an empath, using the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is a great habit to get into. While the LBRP is a well-known practice for ritual work, using it more frequently can help you clear the emotions and sensations coming from outside of yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t have the time or space to do a physical ritual, performing the LBRP astrally, or entirely in your imagination, works just as well. It will help you create an impervious aura.
Being an empath and anxiety
Be aware of your physical sensations, because some of these sensations may be a reaction to how someone is treating you. If an inconsiderate person throws negativity at you, for example speaking or yelling in anger, you might feel your body tighten up, get a knot in your chest and feel your cheeks flush, and you may go into fight or flight mode. It’s a physiological response where your body is attempting to process the reaction to this event. Don’t try to stop this feeling, as much as you might want to.
When you allow this feeling to process, your body works through it and it gets processed out of you. Sit with the feeling and let yourself have whatever reaction you’re having. Repressing these feelings means you’re keeping these reactions and sensations buried inside yourself. Your body knows how to process trauma if you just let it. Feel the unpleasant experience when it happens so you don’t continue to carry it with you, reliving the trauma and living in constant anxiety because of it.
Vipassana meditation is an ideal practice for this reason. In vipassana meditation, one sits still for a long period of time simply noticing sensations, whether they are physical or emotional, without reaction. This meditation style reminds us that the nature of the universe is change. There is a feeling, and later that feeling will not be there. Vipassana clears emotional issues amazingly quickly.
Navigating this loud and harsh world as an empath is a challenge, but with these tips you’re better prepared to protect your sanity and health. When you’re ready to take control of your world so you never have to feel blown about by the chaotic winds of our constantly shifting and stressful society, it’s time for you to join the Adept Initiative, the all-encompassing course that will keep you protected and prepared for whatever the future may bring...!