This is the second installment in a personal series I am writing about being an empath. (Here is a link to my first post: The Path of the Empath ~ Vol. 1.) The term “empath” keeps cropping up more and more, and I believe that’s because there are many of us recognizing this trait within ourselves.
It is my hope that these posts will help those who have come to know that they are empaths, realize that they are NOT broken or damaged, but rather a very important group of people. It is not unusual for empaths to feel alone or ostracized, so I also hope that these posts can help unite empaths, and inspire a sense of community and camaraderie.
To kick this second posting off properly, let’s define “empath”:
Via Wikipedia –
“An empath is a person who has an acute or highly developed sense of empathy. In the paranormal and in some works of science fiction and fantasy, highly developed empathy is a paranormal or psychic ability to sense the emotions of others. It is distinguished from telepathy, which allows one to perceive thoughts as well. Occasionally empaths are also able to project their own emotions, or to affect the emotions of others.”
If you are curious as to whether or not YOU are an empath, here is an awesome test. I have known for quite some time that I am an empath, but for fun, I took the test. I scored 76 out of 80, which resulted in a “You are definitely an empath” distinction.
Fun online quizzes aside, being an empath isn’t always easy. In fact, if you are not grounded spiritually, 100% of the time, it can be a slippery slope to walk. An empath MUST learn how to set healthy boundaries and “guard their sensitivity.”
I obviously know this, but even so, I started getting a little careless a few months back. As a Life Coach, it’s easy for me to “preach” to others about their spirituality, and setting boundaries, but it is sometimes hard to follow that advice myself. I fell victim to countless “energy vampires“, thinking that I was helping them by somehow being available to them whenever they determined they needed me. This wasn’t just happening to me, it was happening to my empathic husband, as well. We started getting run down. My husband,who has a chronic health condition, started becoming ill again. I was growing depressed, and allowing any and all negative situations – including sad or upsetting news stories – deeply disturb me. Our daughter, who is the epitome of a Crystal Child was being adversely effected, as well. In just a few short months, our small family unit had begun to completely fall apart.
Without going into too much detail, I will admit that I believe I experienced a complete nervous breakdown. This was mid-January of this year. In all truthfulness, it took until about mid-March for me to start feeling “normal” (whatever that is) again. Actually, I didn’t just start to feel normal…I started to feel HAPPY! 100% happy! A happy like I had not known in quite some time. A beautiful, foreign feeling, to say the least! And had it not been for that breakdown, I might have never been put in a situation where I was FORCED to receive help.
That’s right. Professional help. And I’m not ashamed to say that. Five weeks in an Intensive Outpatient Program and ongoing counseling, and no, I’m not “weak” for resigning myself to such. I’m more in touch with my spirituality than ever before, and am also a much more “protected” empath.
What do I mean by “protected”?
I mean I am learning – or re-learning, rather – how to set healthy boundaries. This is important to ALL people, yes, but particularly important to empaths. An empath literally feels and “gives” too much, and without boundaries, you are on the fast track to a breakdown, yourself.
You can still HELP people even when you set a boundary.
You can still FEEL. An empath would absolutely hate to lose their ability to feel, even though, it is that ability that can be their biggest downfall.
One thing that I had a terrible tendency to do was start manifesting sickness or pain within myself when I started lamenting sickness or pain in others. A VERY useful (and simple) tool I learned to employ when I would start feeling this way, was to remind myself that I cannot get sick enough to take away the sickness of the world. I cannot become poor enough to take away poverty from the world. I cannot feel pain enough to take pain away from the living creatures of this world.
I tell this to myself almost daily, when I feel those old tendencies coming on, again. And it works! But it’s taken a lot of effort to arrive at this point.
If you suspect that you are an empath, one of the best things you can do is learn, or remind yourself how to set healthy boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say “NO” to people – very often, empaths are “people pleasers.”
Lastly, one of the best things an empath can do for themselves, is to guard their sensitivity. You are NOT a “crybaby” or a “basket case.” You are a beautiful, healing soul that has an enlarged capacity to feel! Don’t let anyone try to make you think that this is a bad thing! Guard it, protect it, and appreciate it. You were given this amazing gift. It’s not enough to to celebrate that gift – you must protect that gift, as well.
Note: If you have made a habit out of reading my blogs, you may have observed that I openly discuss many of the trials I have gone through in my life. It is not uncommon for Indigo Children – another topic I regularly post about – to experience many of these issues. If you are curious about Indigo Children, here is a helpful link.
Thank you for reading!