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I was born into a family of sensitive people: Caretakers, creatives, psychics, healers, people who love and honor the Earth.
Thankfully I grew up in an environment full of other people who understood my sensitive nature. Raised in a family that honored these emotional gifts with compassion, I was able to cultivate and nurture the psychic awareness I was born with. Which was a blessing! As it allowed me to honor myself, rather than pushing me deeper into a place of self-ridicule and numbing, which is common for so many empathetic people.
We live in a culture that, for a long time, has seemed to have very little space for sensitives. In older times there was much greater respect for the shamans, healers, spiritualist, and those that walked between worlds. But somewhere along the way, logic become king, emotional power was lost and anything that deviated from the rational definition of life became taboo.
What Is An Empath?
Empaths are highly attuned, very sensitive people. These are the people who are creative, artistic, intuitive, and emotional. Often times we are labeled as too sensitive, overly emotional, or out of balance. But empaths are vibrationally attuned to what is happening around them, they have the capacity to sense and absorb the energetic frequencies which surround them – they are open to the unseen world.
You can call this what you want… psychic, spiritual, artistic, and intuitive. It is all the same thing. All of these experiences are a manifestation of the same gift. As everything is energy and vibration, the empath is like a fine-tuned radio… picking up, processing and experiencing everything that is floating through the atmosphere. Which is what can make this gift turn quickly into a burden.
A Universal Shift Is Underway
Thankfully, a shift in the collective mindset (and heart-set!) is coming, and more and more empathetic people are being born into the world. With this cosmic shift people have begun to open up again, heralding in a new age of young, and older people who are learning to honor and use their sensitivity.
Empathy can manifest in a million different ways. From cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and affective empathy, to name just a few types, there are even empath tests now (the most famous created by psychiatrist Judith Orloff). These people are trailblazing a path. They are helping to reclaim this intrinsic connection to the subtle realms… rather than letting it be a burden, it is being venerated as a gift! We can see this in the rise of alternative medicine, the creative arts, and the increasing need to trust our intuition.
When I was a child, there were many words being thrown around: ADHAD, indigo child, etc. All of which were attempts to describe what I was, and what a million other children in the early 90s were going through. Though it didn’t begin then… we are the children of an older generation of empathic souls, who never had the chance to fully grow in all their spiritual light. But we are coming out of the dark.
But since then, empathy has grown into a mainstream topic. Much of the anxiety, depression, addiction and anguish we are experiencing as a society, is actually the product of emotionally unaware empaths. It is the result of being psychically open, without ever knowing, or having the chance to know the truth. But I think we have had enough… we are calling it as we see it!
Hello world, I am an empath. Say it loud and proud!
Mermaid Medicine and Unbelonging
The archetype of the empath is the mermaid.
The mermaid is a beautiful creature, unique to her element, and in that element, she grows, thrives, and is revered… but take her out of the sacred space of the waters and she will flounder, even die. Many empaths feel that same pain… ripped from the fluid nature of home, and placed into the harsh conditions of the “real world”. It’s hard to bare and leaves many empaths emotionally drained.
This is why most empaths are labeled as depressed. They battle with addiction, social anxiety, and weight gain. All of which are an attempt to numb the pain of empathy and emotion. But, it never really works because in the pursuit for relief you are only ever destroying yourself.
The Empath’s Secret Weapon
The number one most important thing you can do, as an empath, to ensure your survival in his crazy world, is to create a safe and sacred environment for yourself.
As an empath you are working on a different level from most other people, constantly being inundated by thoughts, feelings and both positive and negative energy. The violent nature of the world and all that is cycling through it will completely drain your lifeline if you don’t put protective measures into place.
In order to process this constant stream of energy and emotion, and prevent a descent into a pool of negative emotions and mood swings, we, as empaths, need to retreat.
So creating a safe and sacred space to retreat to, is essential. Retreating into the healing atmosphere of sacred space allows you to ground, center, and disentangle from everything that is being thrown at you. Here, you can regain composure, recharge your batteries, and find clarity in solitude. Cutting yourself off from reality and the other people in it, is not an option, but learning to build your world, within the chaos of the big world that lies out there, will allow you to find your center.
How to Create Your Sacred Space
Sacred space can come in any form that feels right to you. This can be a physical space, or a mental space…or both. The key is to remember that you are the center of your sacred space. Tap into your creative, and imaginative nature and your intuition: Here you will find unlimited possibilities for connecting with your center.
Start out by carving out a corner in your home where you can create a space for meditation, silent reflection, and prayer. Place an altar in this corner, some cushions, and a warm blanket. Read here, write here, talk to Spirit, and connect with the Universe. Let your inner turmoil unwind. In an ideal world, your whole home would become your sacred space.
I feel a sense of the sacred when I sit on my antique sofa, curled up with a good cup of sage tea, and my journal. Or when I play the piano, and sing for hours. Sometimes I will create a very intentional sacred space using an old rosewood table, adorned with a white candle, a picture of the goddess, and a sage smudge. For hours I will sit with myself, falling under the spell of the candlelight, going through the levels of feeling, purging and affirming. I will burn sage, letting the smoke lift all the pain, and impurities from my energy bodies.
Find what works for you!
More Tips for Empaths
Once you have the strength which is gained from being in your sacred space, be honest with yourself about what you can, and cannot handle. Empathic people have adverse effects to stimulants, coming in the form of alcohol, drugs, overly energetic crowds, a lot of noise and high energy. Don’t let any other person convince you that you need to toughen up… yes, try to function in the world, but honor yourself.
Set parameters for what works and doesn’t work
Maybe you have to attend a social occasion? Have an escape route – drive yourself or have someone on call to pick you up. Set a curfew for yourself. 2-3 hours of social interaction are enough, so leave when you are spent, go home and sleep it off.
Stay grounded in daily life
Most people have to work in a high-energy job, whether it’s retail, office work or anything else which means you are constantly interacting with other people, people who have different emotions, and perspectives (all of which, as an empath, you feel) You can function in this environment but take extra precautions:
- Take breaks when you can.
- Go for a walk outside, take in some fresh air.
- Retreat to the bathroom for a few minutes.
- Wear your headphones and listen to uplifting music.
- Eat lunch alone a few days a week.
All of this will allow you to reclaim your energy in a work environment.
Eat grounding foods throughout the day
Empaths have a tendency to overeat because they want to numb themselves, but on a deeper level, they are working to ground and protect their energy. Root vegetables, nuts, and bread are good grounding foods. I like to keep almonds with me as a snack. Drinking fresh juice is also very helpful.
Set an intention for the day
Affirm to yourself what type of experience you will have. In setting an intention you have a clear boundary, you know what you will, and will not do. Learning to say “no” is one of the most important ways to set an intention, and one of the hardest things for the empath to do, so practice!
Say no as a way of controlling your energy
If you are prone to saying yes based on guilt, and feeling like a person really needs you…then stop for a moment and evaluate how this will feed into your wellbeing.
Try suggesting instead that you need time to think about it. Often as empaths, we become overwhelmed by being put on the spot, so we blurt out anything that will get us out of the situation quickly. Which results in a negative commitment. Saying no is not a bad thing, and you are not being mean… or selfish!
We Are All Empathic
On some level, we all hold empathic traits. It is our truest nature to be spiritually attuned. Some of us tend to be more empathic than others, which is what we are addressing here. Often these are the people who are more right-brained and introverted but not always – you can be a wizard when it comes to knowing how to relate to others but still be very empathic.
Never fear this gift! Being a highly sensitive person is a blessing. It is incredibly rewarding to learn to use your empathic abilities to enhance your connection to the people and situations around you. You may find you are already in a field that allows you to use your empathic abilities: creatives, artists, caretakers, teachers, and spiritual workers. But this gift can be used in any circumstance.
I have only touched on what can be said about being empathic. I hope this gives you validation that you are not alone, and you do not have to be in pain. Try these techniques, follow your spirit, and reach out to those that can help you!