The Challenges of Being an Empath

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Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In spiritual and psychic terms it is the profound and strong ability to experience the feelings of another as if you are feeling them as your own feelings. As you might guess, being empathic, in this sense, can raise numerous challenges.

Managing one’s own feelings is enough work for most of us, but managing another person’s feelings, or multiple people, if you are in a crowd, can easily be overwhelming. This article will discuss the challenges of being an Empath, and how to manage them.

There is No “Off” Switch

We can learn to be more sympathetic, but we either have empathic abilities or we do not. If we do have them, they vary in degree from mild sensitivity to extreme sensitivity. There is no off switch, but you can learn to manage your empathy, refine it, understand the nature of it, and protect yourself.

Dr. Elaine Aron is a pioneer and the leader in sensitivity research. She has written the following books about sensitivity, which are well worth reading:

  • The Highly Sensitive Person
  • The Highly Sensitive Parent
  • The Highly Sensitive Person Workbook
  • The Highly Sensitive Person in Love
  • The Highly Sensitive Child
  • Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person: Improving Outcomes for That Minority of People Who Are the Majority of Clients
  • The Undervalued Self

She also offers a self-test on her website, which you can take here: https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/. My score was 13, putting me just on the edge of being highly sensitive. I know that I am more sensitive than most people and have what I would describe as mild empathic ability. I can work in public spaces, which I often do reading tarot cards, but have zero interest in being in crowded spaces like sporting events, concerts, or airports.

Learning Skills to Manage Sensitivity

While I can avoid sporting events and concerts by choice, I do have to travel from time-to-time, which requires going through the airport and being on a plane in a small space with lots of other people in various states of stress or duress, usually, at best, neutral about traveling, but often anxious or fearful.

Breathing Techniques

Breath is one of the best ways to learn to manage oneself when feeling overwhelmed by your environment. Numerous techniques exist involving breath-work as a tool to calm yourself and manage anxiety in stressful situations. Medical research backs many different forms of breath-work, which you can read about on the site Healthline at: https://www.healthline.com/health/breathwork. WebMD also has a section of its site devoted to breath-work, at: https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-breathwork.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is also know as the “tapping” technique. This solution is also supported by the medical community as a valid approach to dealing with stress. On the WebMD site the page explains, “EFT tapping has roots in the 1970s when several doctors began stimulating acupressure points to help their patients deal with stress, fear, and phobias.

One of them, patented by Dr. Roger Callahan, is called Thought Field Therapy. Later Gary Craig simplified the process and made it available to the public under the EFT name.” (https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-eft-tapping) Tapping on the acupressure points in certain ways can help you manage in situations where you are picking up too much empathic noise and starting to feel overwhelmed.

Energy Medicine (Donna Eden)

“Donna Eden was born with the ability to see subtle energy. It is a gift that enabled her to heal herself from Multiple Sclerosis in her late twenties – an experience so profound, she decided to share what she learned with other people in need of healing, and hence Eden Energy Medicine was born.”

Her technique involves specific movements to help shift, store, expunge, and heal energy in your energy field. You can see examples of her practice on her YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn_yr5l2SQJdW6llBOI1I9Q

Talismans

Almost a year ago (May 2020), I wrote an article explaining talismans and how to use them for energetic protection. Here is an excerpt, “A talisman can be made from a piece of jewelry you wear, like a ring, necklace, or bracelet. It can be a stone you carry on your person in your pocket, usually inscribed with a symbol.

It can even be a piece of art that you display somewhere in your house, or in various locations of your house. A talisman is an object empowered.” You can read the full article here: https://askastrology.com/talismans/. Specifically, for this article, you want to empower the talisman to protect your energy field from other people’s emotions, and plan to wear it when you are in situations where you might be around people whose emotions you want to resist or avoid, which certainly happens in public spaces.

The Benefits of Empathy

Your empathic ability can be trained to be something useful, both to yourself and others. Trusting your empathic connection with others can help you know when to offer help and when to get away from a situation that might be harmful. If you are highly sensitive and empathic, you can consider training yourself to use your skill to help others for pay.

Asking for payment for empathic work is also an excellent way to establish boundaries, which can keep you from being overwhelmed. Hence, knowing and acknowledging that you are empathic can greatly reduce being taken off guard by others emotions.

On the strong side, empathy can deepen your spiritual connection to the world around you and the human experience. Just remember, someone with strong emotions, may not be empathic, but could connect with an empathic practitioner to help them face, explore, and process strong emotions that they do not easily understand.

Being an Empath is not an easy life, especially if you are in the highly sensitive category, but the ability can allow you to help many, many people if you understand the challenges and how to turn them into benefits.

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Durham, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com. Philip Young, PhD Website
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