Doc, am I gonna live?
There are days where being “diagnosed” as an empath has felt like a fatal illness. Ok, maybe not THAT bad, but it can def feel like that until we can gain some control over it. But this knowing also brought with it a huge relief. The first part of my life, I had no idea what an empath was. I just knew somehow, I was irrevocably fucked up. In hindsight, I felt deeper and more strongly than those around me and I didn’t know how to express those strong feelings in a healthy manner. In a society that has learned to numb its emotions, I was labeled as being too sensitive, bipolar, crazy, blah, blah, blah. As empaths, our super power and GIFT is feeling. This becomes a real issue when we disconnect ourselves because it is all becomes too overwhelming. I’ve always loved this joke…..”I’m only running if someone is chasing me”. As you might be able to deduce, I do not like running. Unless, however, it was running from my emotions, then I really excelled at that! Sign me up for a 10k! As empaths, running from our emotions can create real issues for us. For me, the overwhelming fatigue I encountered on a daily basis came from the sheer bombardment of EVERYTHING. As empaths, we feel it all: our shit, their shit, shitty shitty bang bang, good, bad, ugly, indifferent – we feel it like the volume knob has been turned up to 150.
As an empath when I said or did things, or sometimes just my mere presence would hit up against someone else’s triggers. I could feel the other person‘s reaction to me, my energy hitting their triggers. For many years I took this instant unknown reaction of theirs and tied it to there being something wrong with me. I felt like I had to control and change my behaviors and actions and who I was, so as not to feel the overwhelming pain of others. The other by-product of me being an unidentified, boundaryless empath is that I truly had no idea who I was. Ha! maybe we should make UBE a thing. I spent years absorbing everyone else and trying to attune myself to the environment that I truly didn’t know much about myself. Ironically, the only reason it was so easy to be overwhelmed by other’s pain and suffering is because I didn’t want to feel my own stuff. So, as many of us do, I distanced myself from my body and my feelings.
As empaths, we serve a few purposes with our gifts. We create a giant mirror for peoples suppressed emotions and feelings. If they don’t know what to do with them we can become this emotional dumping ground. When I am unbalanced, this can play out in my eighth and third chakras. I can actually know other people’s thoughts and think they’re my own and also feel their emotions and think they’re my own. With intimate partners I have actually felt physical symptoms they’ve been having because my boundaries were so shit. The other purpose empaths serve is to hold space and process things for other people who are unable to. We are not sacrificial lambs or free energy for all. But if we don’t maintain healthy boundaries, we could be without even realizing we’re doing so. Although we are here to help the collective consciousness we are also here to live out our own life in a way that benefits us as well.
Unbalanced, we almost become this electrical outlet for others in our lives. They feel like shit so they’re able to plug-in for a resolution (albeit temporary) to their issues. It’s why complete strangers will come up to me and tell me their entire life story in a matter of minutes. We’ve all been there and know that it feels like someone took an energetic dump on us. One minute feeling fine and the next feeling like you want to rip someone’s face off or bawl your eyes out. I really had no idea that my body, mind and spirit were hanging onto suppressed emotions of my own, and also those of others. I’m not saying that any of this is done consciously or maliciously, but the result is the same. It’s not completely their fault, because on some level, I allowed these unhealthy connections through my lack of boundaries to exist. And really, it’s not my fault that I learned unhealthy coping skills and zero boundaries. But people can’t dump their shit on me unless I allow them to. As empaths, we provide permission because we are not fully centered in our bodies and grounded as we are meant to be.
Even though we are all irrevocably connected and ONE we still have separation through our physical bodies for a reason. If not, we would all be this giant ass amoeba walking (or squirming) around the Earth. As empaths we begin to get really clear where our stuff ends and others begins when we recognize and honor the mind-body connection. Emotions are meant to be felt and to pass through us. The Latin derivative for the word emotion, 'emotere', literally means energy in motion. However, when we avoid feeling things because we have judged them as negative or unwanted, they get stuck. These unprocessed feelings and emotions remain in our emotional body and physical body until we are ready to process and release them. When I started to simply allow my feelings, it created space for me to be centered in own physical body. Gradually this allowed for the demarcation of territories between me and others. As I begin to really be with myself and energy in my physical body, I became more intentional in my interactions with others. I also continually developed an increased awareness of how I’m feeling, which allowed me to recognize my own boundaries.
A few things that have helped me:
1) As souls driving around in these loaner bodies of ours, the only method for feeling is through our body. This is why the mind body connection is so important, esp if you’re an empath. If we are not fully in our bodies, we miss the feelings and energy flowing through us. Anything that forces me to drop from my head and into my body and focus on my own energy helps me to ground. Meditation, being in nature, breathing exercises, dancing, and yoga are few that have really helped me. When you create time to be in your body in a safe space, it allows you to carry that boundary into more challenging times. Cultivating it is like working any other muscle, we have to practice consistently.