For most of my life I didn’t even know wtf a boundary was, let alone how to set it or enforce it with someone. As a codependent empath, I thought it was my duty to make sure everyone else was emotionally comfortable. Even when I did recognize someone was bad for me, I found myself judging my feelings instead of recognizing the discernment my soul was trying to make on my behalf. I constantly allowed people to control my world. I felt like I was at the whim of everyone else in my life. I found it difficult to be with other people, not realizing I had social anxiety for several years. I just felt so damn much, and I didn’t know why or what to do with it. In large groups of people, I would find myself feeling insecure and inadequate. I didn’t know how sensitive I was or what it meant. In hindsight, a lot of the time, I was just absorbing everyone else’s shit and then taking the energy on as my own. For many of us empaths, we haven’t been taught how to master our sensitivity. We find ourselves being pulled into everyone else’s shit show and not understanding why we can’t protect ourselves.
One of my early realizations was that my main coping mechanism in relationships was to focus on everyone else’s energy and feelings to control the environment and my own subsequent response. I really thought if I was able to manage other people’s experiences, I would feel better. Right, makes sense. Make everyone around me feel better and I’ll feel better. For example - If my boyfriend feels like shit, I don’t want him to feel like shit. And I REALLY don’t want to feel him feeling like shit, so I’ll pay attention to his energy. Then I will twist myself inside out trying to give him what I think he needs to alleviate his suffering. Welcome to codependent city. This played out in my day to day interactions and a ton in my love life. Since I was in this karmic pattern, I would only allow men into my life who also could offer the other half of this energetic equation. The problem with this dynamic is that I became so hyper focused on everyone else, I never paid attention to how I was feeling. I would come to know that people don’t want or need us to manage their shit for them. On some level, the people we are trying to manage become resentful of our well-intended assistance. It doesn’t do anyone any good to be in this cycle. But I thought trying to fix everyone else’s pain was my responsibility.
In the past, a lot of what has been taught to help empaths revolves around blocking energy or placing yourself in a protective energetic bubble. For a variety of reasons, this is not the greatest long-term strategy.
1) You can spend a lot of your energy trying to push things out that are MEANT to come to you and despite your best efforts, will still come into your sphere.
2) If you are successful at blocking energy, that means you’re keeping EVERYTHING out.
3) It’s not a lot of fun to focus on what you don’t want. And we all know that what we resist persists, so the more you try to keep them out, they are prolly still gonna come on in.
Let me offer you a new way to manage your energy.
1) Observe, don’t absorb. Start consciously observing others energy. You can see it and feel it without absorbing it. Do little training exercises where you go into public and sit on a bench and watch the mini soap operas of life unfolding around you. Just watch the energy dynamics. Begin to consciously make the choice that you will not absorb them anymore.
2) Clear your energy. Clear your energy. And when you’re not sure, clear your energy. Have a consistent easy way to clear your energy, anytime, anywhere. When I used to absorb so much energy, I couldn’t make the smallest decisions. I would get super anxious and feel so ungrounded, I literally couldn’t focus or remember what helped me in those moments. Having one or two easy methods in your back pocket takes the guess work out of it in the moment. Some of my favorites are:
a) Setting the intention to clear my energy. Yep, it really is that easy. Energy flows where attention goes.
b) Getting out into nature
c) Shaking or moving my body
d) Taking a shower
e) Stopping and breathing for 5 (seconds, breaths, minutes)
f) Going for a walk
g) Make your energy field bigger through consistent energy practices like yoga, qigong, or tai chi.
3) How big can I get? We all have an energy field. When we are in an imbalanced state, in an effort to feel less, we actually shrink our field. This is to our detriment; we end up feeling more of others energy instead of less. Imagine a field of light around yourself. If the field is only a foot around you, you’re going to allow more of other’s energy into your field. If your field is 4 feet, less low vibrational experiences will come into your world. At first, this sounds similar to the bubble effect, but the focus is much different. Instead of focusing on keeping people out, we are going to focus on clearing, increasing, and expanding our energy.
When we utilize this new approach, what will naturally happen is a beautiful thing. When people come into our energetic sphere, our vibe is so high that we’re more likely to set a boundary for someone who doesn’t feel good. Over time, the karmic cycle will be completed because the Universe will see we don’t need the lesson anymore. The reason we keep getting those assholes that push our buttons and boundaries, is because our soul wants us to heal that shadow of our personality. We receive that lesson until we take repetitive physical actions to change the energy pattern. Over time a new dynamic is created. We have all had this happen at some point in our lives. Look back on something you were able to change in the past. You had the opportunity come up over and over, and you choose a different action each time until the new skill (karmic pattern) became ingrained in your awareness.
I know sometimes it can feel overwhelming and scary and impossible, but I promise you, with consistent effort and awareness you can switch this pattern. Find other empaths and HSP to share your experiences and struggles with. But be careful of getting stuck in the victim mentality. Gripe about things in order to process your feelings, but then focus on moving forward and improving your coping skills. You are not a victim, and this is not a curse. Once you start to own your gifts (yes, I said gifts) of sensitivity, your life expands in the most amazing ways.