I love the explanation of an empath as being able to feel reality from another person’s perspective. Being an empath involves feeling another’s feelings as if they were their own. There is deep connection experienced with empaths which makes them the go-to person people reach out to talk with, or trust.

They can also feel sickness or physical symptoms from other people, such as having a sudden headache occur while riding in their car totally unaware they are picking it up from the driver next to them.

The downfall for empaths is when they do not know their boundaries of what is theirs and what is being picked up. Very few empaths discover how to clear their own energy, or discern what it truly theirs in the first place.

We have the freewill to not take on any energy that is not our own at all times, but since intuition and energy work have been poo-pooed as too ‘woo woo’ or impractical, few people who identify as empaths have been able to learn how to be in the world without being inundated with way too much energy from others.

Something else I come across, are science-based practical people who are empaths but do not jive with the way most “new-age” information is shared, so they remain stuck and without resources for their experience of being an empath. This usually includes needing to avoid crowds or choosing isolation over interaction as a baseline. Many empaths simply learn to tolerate these challenges as they do not know any other way.

The good news is science is catching up with woo woo stuff. There are studies being done and legitimate doctors and researchers contributing to information about being an empath, or introvert or HSP- highly sensitive person, which are all growing fields of visibility and interest.

You’re an Empath? Now What

You either identify with being an empath, or know someone who does. This information is most helpful for empaths, because the first step to being free from feeling burdened or drained by this super power, is to know you even have it and that there are skills you can learn to master your sensitivity.

Personally, I am an empath all the way!

I could feel other people’s thoughts and judgments, feelings and illnesses since I was young. Based on talking to other empaths, my abilities go beyond the typical feeling people’s feelings, but that being said this “gift” feels like a curse at first.

My first memory of being an empath, and realizing I was different, was when I was about 7 years old at my great-grandmother’s house. I can even remember the smell and the hazy sunlight coming through the sheer curtains making the room dim, but lit.

She hurt her ankle and began rubbing it during the casual conversation my mom was having with her. Unconsciously, or unaware, I began rubbing my own ankle. My mother mistakenly thought I was making fun of her somehow or acting up and gave me a stern look to stop doing that.

I remember this moment, more-so how it felt to get in trouble for just being me and having this ability.

I’m going to skip how difficult being a teenager was, and all the awkwardness of not understanding how to deal with these abilities, but I will say it was very confusing and mostly made me feel different, and therefore separate, from “the crowd.”

Empaths feel like they are from a different planet. It seems so alien that science fiction often portrays this quality as a superpower or supernatural ability, such as the Netflix show “Sense8” or in the phenomenal of X-men and Marvel superheroes. I personally think its a very nature-based ability.

Animals are incredibly empathic, YouTube it, it is adorable to see.

We are emotional beings and some people can pick up on other’s emotional state just as others have a more natural athletic ability. The key is to train yourself to make your sensitivity a superpower for your life, rather than a curse.

Boundaries and Backbones: What every Empath needs to Develop

Many empaths are taken advantage of (also myself included) because we simply cannot conceive of certain behaviour that would harm another or be outright selfish due to our nature of connection and empathy.

A boundary is defined as:

1. A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

2. Personal boundaries are mentioned to be 3-fold:

  • Physical – Personal space and touch considerations
  • Mental – Thoughts and opinions
  • Emotional – Feelings

Basically boundaries are how you manage where you stop and others begin. It’s more than how close someone stands to you in the grocery line. It’s basically how you teach the world to treat you. Your internal energy creates a sense about how other’s should treat you. It’s up to you to agree to certain conditions, and also in your power to change a situation where you are feeling powerless or taken advantage of. If you are always the person giving or listening to others, begin asking for more. Begin to take up more space so to speak. If you are interrupted, politely (or not, up to you) ask to not be and you want to finish what you were saying.

Use the emotion of Anger as a tool. If you are irritated or resentful, those are markers that your “boundaries” are being messed with. Calmly come up with a solution from your centred inner place, not from angry reactions.

You will begin to hold more energy, and leak less energy to others when you practice this.

Basic Empath Tool Kit

– BE. In. YOUR. Body first. Most people don’t fully know what this means, but for those who do this is the first step – learn more at You Are The Manual.

Think of your body as being home, there’s less likelihood of intruders walking in and running amuck when you are home. Same thing goes for our energy.

  • Deep Self-Care:

Meditation to clear and re-set the mind to a state of presence and integration with your body, and heart, and energy.

Journalling to maintain composure and clear the noise and gunk that thoughts left unattended can begin to create a mess and take up

Physical Movement of any kind helps the body and mind align and also clear your energy and get present.

  • Saying NO without guilt.
  • Using your Intuition to make decisions, aka using your empathic superpower to guide your life as an advantage.
  • Is this mine? When you are around people, and feel that your emotional state or mood has been altered ask yourself: “Is this even mine?” Then usually it is not, or in some cases there is something for you to be aware of that a person or circumstance is triggering for your own awareness to clear or heal.
  • Setting intentions and boundaries from your intuition and body sensations.
  • Trusting yourself rather than trying to be liked or accepted.
  • Beginning to understand energy more and increasing your own energy to avoid being porous  and therefore open to everyone else’s energy.
  • Increase your self worth.
  • You do not need to hold other’s pain or sadness- ever. Simply update your inner emotional system to let emotion move through you like water, not dump on you like heavy wet sand.

For Further Insight:

You are the Manual, Jenna Smith- www.jennasmithcoaching.com/you-are-the-manual
Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person
The Empath Survival Guide www.drjudithorloff.com