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On Being An Empath (part one)

May 28, 2012

Part One – The Difficulties

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this. – Merriam-Webster dictionary

Most people have the ability to be empathic to some degree. As an empath, however, your capacity for empathy is significantly greater than the average person – in fact, you are probably highly sensitive to the point of appearing to others to have psychic gifts.

The reality is that you have high emotional resonance, rendering you very sensitive to emotional energy. Everything has an energetic vibration which the empath picks up, just like an antenna picks up frequencies. This means you are able to detect and amplify the subtlest of changes which would bypass most people – essentially, you are the person who walks into a room and immediately picks up ‘the vibes’ (vibrations), be they positive or negative.

You will also be able to ‘feel’ the emotions of people around you – and the danger here, if you’re still unaware of your increased empathy, is that you can end up believing that these emotions are your own. Before I recognised this phenomenon, I would actively seek out – or even create – issues, to pin these rogue feelings onto something concrete – “Hmmm, I seem to be feeling a bit low today, I wonder why that is? Maybe I’m unhappy about my relationship/career/friends/family/ cat?”  After all, if you’re feeling so bad, surely there must be a reason? There is, of course, but often the only reason is your high level of empathy.

IT’S NOT EASY BEING EMPATHIC

Your high emotional resonance can also make it difficult for you to spend time in an urban, or indeed any over-populated environment. If you ever find yourself caught up in a crowd, you are likely to be surrounded by emotions such as excitement, confusion, anxiety and anger, resulting in you suddenly expressing these same feelings for no obvious reason. You may also find that the energy which builds up when you’ve spent some time amongst a huge throng of people is so overwhelming that you end up feeling physically ill – headaches, giddiness, nausea and high blood pressure are not unusual symptoms for the empath swamped with excessive emotional energy. This is why many of us prefer to live in a rural environment – the energy in a built-up, heavily populated area is just too much for us.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD…

Because we react so strongly to high-intensity environments, we may find others disparagingly labelling us as ‘oversensitive’. In fact, until you learn how to protect yourself from such bombardment, that’s exactly what you are. However, this is of little comfort when you don’t feel accepted or understood by those you love and who love you, or when people dismiss you as being ‘just too sensitive’. (I heard this everywhere – even one of my school reports remarked that ‘Sharon is sensitive – occasionally overly so’.)

 Those empaths who are lucky enough to have people around them who are aware of their trait will be more likely to have positive self-esteem and accept and express their natural talents and abilities. Their sensitivity will be embraced and as a consequence, these empaths will grow up to use their empathic gifts confidently and wisely. Unfortunately, in our current society the most likely scenario is that the child will be chastised, mocked and exploited for their sensitivity, and bullied and pushed in directions which please others rather than themselves. The inevitable result of this, of course, is chronic low self-esteem. These empaths will then either rebel and become one of society’s drop-outs or misfits – not always a bad thing if this means they stay in touch with their creativity – or over conform and become yet another of society’s depressed drones. I recently had a dream that I was one of the few ‘real’ humans left in a world populated by zombies. As I spent many unhappy years actually being one of the ‘zombies’ myself, doing what was expected of me rather than what was best for me, the dream was much more uplifting than it perhaps sounds.

BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE?

As an empath, adolescence can be a particularly difficult time in your life. Already dealing with your own rollercoaster of emotions, if you attended (or still attend) one of the average high schools within the Western world’s education system, you are also surrounded by anything up to 1500 other young people, all wrestling with over-energised hormones and a maelstrom of unfamiliar feelings. You’re also in for a rude awakening, as you realise through bitter experience that not all people are as thoughtful and well-mannered as you are.

I personally found the first few years at secondary school so traumatic, that to this day I refer to it as ‘doing my time’. I struggled to grasp the social rituals and game playing which occurs in friendships between little girls, and instead naively believed that others valued friendship in the same way I did. I therefore failed to understand that you were meant to switch best friends at least once a week, and was genuinely devastated when the friend of my choice fell out with me in my first year. (The unaware empath is always heartbroken when their friendship is abused or betrayed.)

 My lack of guile seriously affected my friendships for the next three years, and I ended up spending most of that time hiding away in a corner with a book, wistfully escaping into the fantasy worlds of my novels.  Unfortunately, being alone and obviously sensitive also made me an obvious target for bullies as my high sensitivity usually provoked a physical and emotional expression of my pain. I was also less likely to fight back due to a genuine aversion to conflict, particularly of a violent nature, and my natural inclination towards peaceful and harmonious relations.

My daughter is also highly empathic and as soon as she began to have regular social interaction with her peer group, she demonstrated a reluctance to defend herself when other children were mean to her – “I don’t want to hurt their feelings”. Thanks to my own experiences, I’ve had the foresight to teach her basic assertiveness skills from the age of three, the gist of my advice being: “Don’t worry about people liking you – just make sure they respect you.  If people respect you, chances are they’ll also like you, but if for some reason they don’t like you – most probably due to a projection of their own insecurities – if you have their (albeit grudging) respect, then they’ll simply stay out of your way.”

HANDLING SOCIAL INTERACTION

Because of my experiences at school, in my late teens and early twenties I mostly avoided female friendships, preferring to have simpler male friendships minus the bitchiness and games. I was much happier being around people who appreciated me and did not diminish me in any way for who I was. As the years go by, I’ve become even more selective about my friendships – I have a handful of close friends (men and women), and am not afraid to ditch any relationships which are detrimental to my well-being.

The aware empath also learns how to avoid negative people and sniff out those bad apples by following their intuition. Experience has taught me to always go with my first impression – never ignore that gut feeling! If I’ve ever made the mistake of giving the benefit of the doubt to characters who initially strike me as dubious, I’ve always been badly burned as a result.

Another distressing social problem empaths can have is people taking an instant dislike to you, apropos of nothing. This is often because as empaths we have very light energy, which naturally repels those people with darker energy. Until you learn not to take this personally and understand that the problem lies with the other person and not you, it can be very hurtful to be on the receiving end of undeserved contempt. Some people are also intimidated by the intensity involved in a relationship with you as not everyone want to explore their inner self – a natural tendency for you – so this can sometimes frighten people away for what seems like no obvious reason. Ever had a friendship which seemed to be going just fine then suddenly the other person stops returning your calls? Chances are that person just couldn’t handle the manifestations of your gift.

 SEXUAL BOUNDARIES

Dealing with other people’s sexual energy can lead to some serious difficulties for the unaware empath. This can be particularly tough during adolescence as not only are you surrounded by people whose hormones are going crazy, resulting in you being energetically overwhelmed by a multitude of unrestrained libidos, you are likely to still be somewhat unworldly. Your vulnerability and naivety coupled with your compassion and sensitivity can make you an unwitting target for all manner of sexual predators – female empaths in particular can suffer real trauma due to abuse of their sexual boundaries. As unaware empaths are also more likely to use drink or drugs for Dutch courage and to lessen the impact of excessive stimuli in social situations, you can see how the combination of all these factors can be a recipe for disaster.

ENERGY VAMPIRES AND THE ‘LAME DUCK’ SYNDROME

Until you become aware that you are an empath and learn how to protect yourself, you will find yourself being leeched on by energy vampires due to your natural compassion. Even strangers will be drawn to you, as people intuitively feel that you will empathise and offer support without judging them, so seek you out for advice or simply to vent. Equally, you seem to naturally gravitate towards people in pain. Unfortunately this can result in you being a constant victim of the ‘lame duck syndrome’, collecting all manner of troubled folk who you’ve shown some compassion for.

 THE SHY LONER

In an attempt to resolve their social difficulties, some empaths become withdrawn and quiet, in some cases to the point of completely isolating themselves and becoming a loner or a recluse. Others become depressed or anxious, maybe even developing social phobias to (subconsciously) give them a valid excuse for avoiding social activities. I’ve been very shy at certain stages in my life, though only people who genuinely resonate with me recognise this trait in me, as I have learned to disguise it very well – and not always in the healthiest of ways. As I mentioned previously, a number of empaths sadly deal with their shyness by hiding behind drugs or alcohol, which can ultimately create more problems than it actually solves.

POTENTIAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

When you are unaware of your trait, you can become swamped by emotions, mostly those of other people. Society soon makes it clear that expressing emotions is bad, so consequently you have no suitable channel or outlet for the excessive emotional energy you’re carrying. The potential outcome of this blocked energy is that you could become emotionally unstable (acting out past pains over and over with just a change of the central cast now and again, to try and shift the blockage) – or at worst, you could end up having a mental breakdown.  It’s easy to see why an unaware empath, battling their way through life, may be tempted to take an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) such as Prozac, to reduce their arousal levels for a while and give themselves a break. (See Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Survive and Thrive When the World Overwhelms You for more on this – there’s a whole chapter about the pros and cons towards the end).

Medicating yourself works to a point but the downside is that as well as losing the negative aspects of your sensitivity, you also lose some of  the positive ones (which are worth it, believe me). For this reason, I believe it’s best used either as a short-term solution until you come to terms with your trait and learn how to handle it, or as an emergency treatment, for no longer than six months, if life conspires against you and it all becomes too much.

 PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Some empaths put on weight to use as a ‘buffer’ between themselves and the world. I found that when I felt depressed and trapped (for example, when in a dull relationship or job)  I put too much weight on, but if under extreme stress – if suddenly thrust into a high-intensity environment or situation, be it personally or professionally – it dropped off me extremely rapidly. This ‘yo-yoing’ of my weight was not good for my health, but ultimately gave me another impetus for learning more about how to handle being an empath. You may also find yourself suffering from other physical manifestations – diseases and disorders – as blocked emotional energy tries to find an outlet through your body. (You can read more about this, and get links to relevant books, in the mind/body connection articles featured in the Empathic Guidance blog).

You are probably more physically sensitive than others too, and may find yourself having allergic reactions to anything and everything – cosmetic products, chemicals in food, detergents, pollen, dust, fur etc – resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, asthma, hives and stomach problems. This physical sensitivity means you may also feel other people’s physical pain, as well as the emotional stuff, particularly if you have a close connection. On more than one occasion, I’ve gone to collect my daughter from somewhere and the minute she is in my presence, I will suddenly get a strange ache in my stomach or my head – only for her to tell me that she’s not been feeling so well and has a stomach/headache.

 THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

Our empathy is not just limited to those around us – it’s also global. The empath can hardly bear to watch violence and will weep for the pain and suffering in the world. Your high level of compassion means that you probably find it impossible to comprehend the cruelty, ignorance and narrow minded attitudes of others. I remember my dad telling me as a child that Pete Duel, who I loved to watch in the 70s TV show   ‘Alias Smith and Jones’, had killed himself because ‘he took the weight of the world on his shoulders’, and as I grew up I began to realise why I had been strangely drawn to this man, as I too experienced some of the pain Pete must have felt.  (Pete’s story is a tragic testament to the life of an unaware empath – it’s worth checking out if you want to know more about this subject.)

My advice to those of you who also know this feeling only too well is do your best to avoid news programmes until you can handle it – I did this for a while whilst developing my inner strength and now limit myself to a quick scan of the headlines which automatically pop up on my homepage and occasionally reading The Guardian. Even then, I tend to stick to the stories which relate to my work or my life in some way. Empaths also prefer not to watch violent or gory films – though on occasion you may enjoy a psychological thriller. I liked Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ even though it scared me half to death, because (aged 15) I thought the plot twist was clever and weird. Empaths enjoy anything that involves creative or lateral thinking.

 BECOMING AWARE

Fortunately, more and more people are gaining self-awareness about their gift and are learning how to heal their wounds and nurture themselves. The empath often becomes aware after a number of strange experiences, which can suddenly launch them into an awakening period and provide the impetus for a journey of self-discovery. Often this experience can be dramatic, life-altering and very memorable for you throughout your life.

 For me, the turning-point was unexpectedly losing my full-time job (albeit one I was thoroughly miserable in) on 10 April 1995. After the initial ego panic about how I would survive, I decided to take some time out to find out what I really wanted. Following a series of weird but wonderful synchronicities, I realised I had to stop working in meaningless jobs for the sake of earning a living and fulfilling someone else’s work ethic, and find out what really fulfilled me. I began to listen to my inner guidance’s urge to seek awareness, balance and authenticity and thus started my journey on the holistic path. And as I’ve discovered, when you feel centred and whole, you gain the inner freedom to utilise and explore the positive aspects of being an empath.

 In part two, I’ll offer some tips on how to nurture yourself and make the most of your trait for those of you who identify with being an empath, and discuss the delights of being a highly empathic person.

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44 comments

  1. So much of what you have said resonates with me, it’s validating and exciting. Thanks for taking the time to share these thoughts!


    • Thank you, it’s always really exciting to hear that my words have resonated with someone too! Part two will be up shortly so I do hope you enjoy that too.

      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  2. This makes so much sense to me and my mother used to tell me off for “collecting lame ducks” from a very young age. Can’t wait to read part two. Thanks 🙂


    • Thank you, Cate – sorry, have just realised that I never responded to this! Really glad you enjoyed this post 🙂 Warmest wishes to you – Sharon


  3. Fantastic, informative and very well written. So much of what you’ve said resonates with me also. I wish we had this kind of insight while growing up. I will be passing this onto my children to help them understand their highly sensitive selves. Thank you for sharing…now onto Part 2! Many blessings!


    • Thank you so much, Vikki and sorry it’s taken me so long to approve this comment – it’s holiday season so I’m not getting on here as often as I’d like 🙂 I hope you enjoyed part two just as much, and it’s great that you’re going to share this information with your children. Teaching our young people about emotional intelligence is key to breaking the cycle set in place by those who were (through no fault of their own) less aware of how much our emotional selves affect our lives and consequently our whole world. Sounds like you’re doing a great job!
      Warmest wishes to you
      Sharon


  4. Awsome! I am 61years old. For years mostly as a child I suffered every single day with others energy my emotions would change from moment to moment I’d get so excused and feel very weird. After I got older and lived through most of what you have described in your article and( believe me I was very sensitive) it almost killed me. But I was lucky to have found another like me and she convinced me I wasn’t crazy she gave me some books to read which was and still is to this day the life boat that I’ve hung onto that’s helped me to get educated to who I am and has put me on my journey. So thank you for your work and for people like you I know that it will become someone elses lifeboat to understanding and the door to see their way for help. Good Article.


    • Thank you for your kind words, Sandy, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article. I write in the hope that it will reach out to others and help them understand themselves and their lives a little more, so it’s always great to hear that my work makes a difference.
      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  5. I came across this post while looking for ways to stop the surpression
    of my “symptoms”. I felt like you were writing about me. Two years ago (without knowing that I was an empath) the emotions became unbearable. The solution was to put me on SSRI. Now that I know what the cause of these unexplained emotions were, I started seek I a way to remove the dependency. I have also realized that my daily drinking should not be a normal part of life. The thing is I am scared to death of all the emotions. I have tried and failed to make meditation a part of my life. I have Reiki sessions when I can afford them. I need help, my logic tells me that I should just stop drinking and mediate more. Well that is just easier said than done. I emotionally and physically feel others emotions. Trying to protect myself does not seem to help. Any suggestions?


    • Hi Heather

      The voice telling you to stop drinking and meditate more is the voice of your ‘higher self’, your soul, your intuition or whatever your preferred term is. It’s the part of you which knows what the best way forward is for you. However, you have your damaged ego to contend with which is the part of you which wants to keep drinking as an escape from all your pain and as a way of hiding from the unwanted emotions. My best advice really is to continue with your personal and spiritual growth and see a counsellor if you can to help you deal with the feelings which are preventing you from moving forward in a positive way. The better you know yourself, the better you will be able to distinguish between your feelings and other people’s and when you feel stronger at your core, you will be able to protect yourself better too.
      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


      • Thank you Sharon. I know deep down I knew that but to read it is a different story. I have tried so many avenues to help myself and feel disappointed when each attempt fails. i will continue seeking a solid path to help me deal with the daily issues. I appreciate your response, I just wish it was easier but I also understand the best things in life are never given freely.


      • Hi Heather
        Please don’t stop trying to help yourself. It took me years of personal and spiritual development work to reach a point where I was able to stop relying on props to survive in the world, and like you, I knew what I needed to do long before I was actually able to achieve it. It is hard to deal with the fact that there is no instant fix – as a counsellor I sometimes really wish there was a magic wand I could use to make my clients feel better straightaway – but I think once we accept that and face up to the hard work it will take to heal ourselves, then we’ve already taken a huge leap in the right direction.
        There are loads of articles on my blog which offer guidance on personal and spiritual growth, much of which is based on personal experience, so do have a look around and see if there’s anything else which will help you here.
        Wishing you all the very best on your healing journey
        Sharon


  6. OMG.. i cant believe this, I have finally found something that expalins me completely. I have always been told by my mother not to be so sensitive, there must be something wrong with me because I didn’t have any friends. Everything that you said in both Part One and Part 2 – I have experienced it all. You have no idea how this has helped…. Much love and light, and Thank you Thank you Thank you.


    • Hi Lisa
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m so glad these posts helped you – I’ve always found it a great help to know that there are other people out there who feel like I do! I too was told that there must be something wrong with me because I didn’t seem able to socialise with other kids – truth was, I was so sensitive, it just made me an easy target for anyone who fancied a pot shot, and when you’re at school, that’s pretty much everyone. I wish someone had taught me how to be assertive when I was a child, it would have made a huge difference to my life – it’s certainly improved my adulthood immeasurably.
      Thanks again, Lisa 🙂
      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  7. I just read part one and I wanna thank you. I am a musician a singer/songwriter and pianist and everytime I was on stage I felt free, cause in music light comes right through me to others. It was like a save place for me. Not any rehearsal could do it. I was thinking of me could be an empath for long time, cause of many things you have descriped and that I feel all the needs even of people on the other side of the planet, but I was scared of so many different things.
    Thanks to you I see light to use my gift (and my other gifts, like foresee, feeling and hearing angels etc.) to fill my music even more with feelings I didn’t know but others know, so that the music shows, I can understand them, even they are freaked out if you say so , but not if your write a song about it. YOu helped me a lot!!
    My problem is that I am like a seeker of wisdom , sometimes called mistress of wisdom, many typical behaviors of a typical snake (chinese zodiac (earth snake))
    That on the top made it much more difficult to see me as being an empath, because snakes are kinda different and magnetic, but silent and deep. I write this, because maybe there are some more who are like this and need to see that there is a chance they are empaths as well.

    At all before I read this, I started YOga , real yoga , not only body but also for the mind, it really helped to calm down after a day where I needed to be with many many people!

    Agan thank you very very much!!
    lots of love to you and your loved ones!!! ❤
    Christiana


    • Hi Christiana

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing some of your own experiences with us. Really interesting that you mentioned yoga as I’m contemplating taking that up myself – I will take that as another sign that it’s the right thing to do!

      And perhaps the snake is your power animal – worth checking out maybe 🙂

      Warmest wishes to you
      Sharon


  8. I realy appreciate this post. I’m at a point to where I just want to stay inside because I can’t take these emotions anymore. This has really taken a toll on my relationship and I had to remove myself so that I can find a way to deal with my empathy. I will continue researching being an empath so I can soley work on myself without bein afraid to be around others. Please let me know what you suggest.

    -Mallory


    • Hi Mallory
      Sounds to me like you’re already doing the right thing – taking time out to work on yourself and understand yourself more. It does get difficult to be around others as an empath – I have to limit the amount of time I’m ‘out there’ quite considerably, as it becomes far too overwhelming. Perhaps it would be worth looking into career options that would involve working from home – that’s something that’s worked for me as being in a building around people I don’t choose to be around and commuting on a daily basis just makes me ill.
      Thanks for your comment
      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  9. Thank you for this. All of it. It’s like you’ve been reading my internal diaries for the last 37 years. I’ve been battling a horrible depression, again, but I’m not sad. Does that make sense? It doesn’t feel “chemical”. It doesn’t feel “caused”. It is simply there. Always around the holidays. Every year, I feel non-stop.
    Every section of both parts explain what I’ve felt and continue to feel as an adult. It describes what my poor parents had to deal with while I was going through puberty and in high school. Through the years, I’ve medicated, self and administered, to numb the feelings I have that stream from places and people other than myself. I’ve always felt different in ways that I couldn’t really describe. I always feel. Be it a stranger on the street, or a homeless person in need, or a child, or a friend, or a coworker… I always feel them. I read them. I’ve always expressed “I’m a “feely” person”… My mother went to get a reading done when I was young. The woman, when she got to me, said I was a bringer of light. She went off on how my life would be a challenge and difficult, but beautiful. And that has been true. That said, as you mentioned, everyone has this gift. I choose to open it up now and embrace it. I have a lot of work ahead of me, and knowing that I’m understood by one person is a wonderful gift indeed.
    I’m writing this after the horrible events that took place in Connecticut. I’ve been extremely emotional all day. My heart aches for everyone involved. I wonder how you are doing during this time and what you do to help yourself function during such atrocities? These moments go on all of the time, across the globe. I’m always saddened when innocent lives are lost, which is all of the time… it’s overwhelming to me. How do you handle and function during these moments? Again, thank you.


    • Thanks to your comment follow-ups with others (I get handy email notifications), I’ve been directed to this article again. 🙂 Happy Spring!


      • Thanks Miss Willis! Hope you enjoyed it second time around too 🙂 Warmest wishes x


    • Hi Miss Willis – I don’t know how I missed this comment first time round in my replies, I’m so sorry. I can really relate to what you said about feeling really depressed and emotional around holiday time too – I used to find Xmas almost unbearable and every Xmas song I heard would cause me to well up. The only thing that stopped me from feeling that way was the arrival of my daughter, as I started to see that season through a child’s eyes and revel in the joy of her anticipation.
      To function through atrocities, hard though it is, you HAVE to switch off all media sources or at least do what you can to avoid any coverage. I think the excessive coverage of these events by the media is wrong anyway – it’s treating a real life tragedy as though it’s a story in a movie – I imagine news editors rubbing their hands with glee when such ‘big stories’ appear. (And I say that as someone who had the misfortune to work as a journalist for a very short time early in my career.) The only people who need to know about what’s happened really are the people directly involved. The rest of us are just voyeurs. News coverage is inevitably only ever the collected bad news stories from around anyway so it might be worth trying to avoid it all for a short while and see how you feel.
      This was a great comment and question so thank you and once again, so sorry I missed it first time round. So glad you commented again 🙂
      Warmest wishes to you
      Sharon


  10. I cannot express how thankful I am for finding this article. When I finished reading it, I started crying. My eyes are tearing up as I type this.
    This is an affirmation to me that I’m not alone. To finally put a name to what I’ve experienced my whole life is… incredible. I see myself in everything that you’ve written here.
    I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmingly lost qand in need of some sort of direction. This gives me a starting point.

    I’m off to read part 2.


    • Wow, thank you for this amazing comment! I’m so touched to hear that this article had such a profound effect on you and so thrilled to hear that it’s put you on a positive path for the future. Do please come back and let me know how things are panning out for you, I’d love to hear more about your journey.

      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  11. Thank you sooooo much for this! I was thinking about throwing in the towel again and going back to antidepressants until i found your blog. This is life saving stuff and it is wonderful to know that i am actually sane!
    God bless you!


    • You’re very welcome – that is wonderful to hear! Warmest wishes to you 🙂 Sharon


  12. Reading every detail from school to health etc was like reading the story of my life. I am amazed at how I found this. I feel so good knowing there are heaps of people like me and it can be channelled into something good. i going through a hard time trying to figure out how to harness and my lifes purpose and this blog has helped immensely. Thank you so much for your wise words and insight.xxkeep it up!!


    • Thank you, Candace! I am working on a book at the moment which you will probably enjoy so watch this space 🙂 Warmest wishes, Sharon


  13. The part about people taking an instant dislike to you and receiving undeserved contempt I can really relate to. I’m always getting humiliating looks from people. I’ve even gotten it from people who are much more empath than me, energy healers, judges, even from a priest I was getting communion from. To me if a person gives me that kind of look it means they are spiritually sick. I asked a psychic about it and he said it was jealousy, but that doesn’t always make sense.


    • Wow, those people don’t sound very empathic to me, if they could look at you in such a contemptuous way. I usually find it’s people who have very negative energy who respond badly to me, because they can’t cope with the positive light energy I exude. In that sense, it could be jealousy, just not in the way we would usually understand it as their negative feelings are prompted by something which isn’t immediately tangible.


    • I know exactly what you are talking about re: energy healers! It was explained to me that even relatively empathic people can be intimidated or unconsciously provoked by someone who is a much higher level empath than them and therefore condescending. So it may be that you are actually more a “advanced” soul than these people, even thought you embody less awareness of it and are seeking help from them, because they are living more in alignment with themselves. So it would be a kind of jealousy. I found that if something an energy healer said to me provoked an angry, rebellious, or skeptical feeling in me, that my intuition was usually trying to tell me to trust myself and not them…That I really was “smarter” than them, though they may have been right or helpful in other ways.


  14. Hi Sharon,

    Great words in this article.

    I recently had a huge event happen, and wondered if you could provide any insight? I’d wanted to work in advertising for a particular company for years but couldn’t get in.
    This time last year I got offered a job as I got on really well with the Managing director. But in the meantime, I had been seeing a counsellor for problems stemming from my childhood – long story short, the counsellor was horrid – really negative and belittling /abusive – and I took on all their energy and became a complete emotional wreck .
    I was working in the advertising company in a stressful fast paced environment and really struggling not to gauge the mood of the room all the time and focus on the task in hand, but it was really exciting. Part of me loved it so much, the other was full of negative energy from this counsellor and needed time to recoup.

    I had a mental breakdown just before Christmas and they had to let me go. I was devastated, and not sure whether it is because of the abusive counsellor, or the job, or a combination of both.

    I don’t know what to do with my life now and am completely lost ! Working in admin which is very tedious….
    Would the above be a life event that might be trying to tell me something – ie – to follow empathic career?

    Any advice would be welcome
    Thank you x


    • Hi Kirstie, sorry it’s taken me a while to get round to replying, I’m currently working on a different project so don’t visit this blog very often.
      It does sound very much like the Universe is pointing you in a different direction in terms of your career. And it sounds to me like you know which direction it’s pointing you in but are just looking for confirmation – in which case I will say, yes, it sounds like your intuition/higher self/the universe/soul (whichever term you prefer) is suggesting that a more empathic career would be more appropriate for you. I had a series of career disasters until I recognised that working in areas such as the media did not resonate with who I really was.
      Good luck!
      Warmest wishes
      Sharon


  15. It made me tear up thinking about how deeply you care for us as empaths. You replied back to each comment that your readers left with such emotional generosity. I thank you on their behalf for taking the time to be so openly kind in your replies. I can tell that you are a lover.


    • Meredith, thank you so much! What a lovely comment – I feel really moved by it and so touched to know that what I do is appreciated. Thank you x 1 million, it made my day! Warmest wishes, Sharon 🙂


  16. Thank you so much…people have told me I was an empath, and so i have recentlu been doing some research.. just another piece to my wonderful crazy life. Thank you!


    • You’re very welcome, Michelle – glad to be of help 🙂


  17. Hello sharon
    My name is Tim.
    Simply
    stuck in a loop..
    Exigency
    Lacking
    Auxilary
    Feedback ..
    “ca-thar-tic -in-corp-a-rated ” — Misery – Soul Asylum
    ….rinse lather repeat…

    “Hey You”
    Waters rising high
    Part 3 is the nile
    I’m not drinking
    Within these words you feel for smiles
    as truthfulness
    reclaim disguise
    bend whats left
    ……..(innate cruelty)……
    malevolence rationalized
    confabulation improvised
    to disgust me…
    .
    MINORITY REPORT IN ATTENTIVE FORMATION

    For a full cathartic experience
    …follow the yellow brick road..
    (hook line an sync)
    Exit Through The Gift Shop

    – my amusement,
    – my boredom,
    – “my strings Ha ha ha ha! Oh! Oh! … (pulsing) (gnome cackles) (cackling) Come with me, my pretties. … so, come, my beauties, come and dance and wait to seal the Power Rangers fate”
    – Me, me, me, me, me, ……

    ….rinse lather repeat…

    I’ve got a acer laptop not macbook with my poems in…

    of the language
    that i cannot speak
    echoes a mounting
    unclimbable peak
    quest to the fountain
    from which we cant drink
    rocking back and forth
    until extinct
    $200 an hour to see a shrink
    pre ordained scripture
    ……..”what is to think”
    out of the box

    Is in no way a metaphor..

    Internally damaged or broken
    Smile, feel like its choking
    Reassure, well aware of not joking
    Tell us, time, two stop moping

    Unable to see worth anything
    Obviously frame round everyones screen
    Thoughts focused on sparkling clean
    Nothing but empty words of uncertainty
    ..
    At full tilt the day’s stretch
    The sun rise’s then set’s again
    Forever is not longer than this week has been
    Calender’s reference only time
    Lunar cycle’s mock me
    First rising then crashing, always breaking
    As the seasons change
    Now i am the one disappearing
    sincerity
    [{(a, sigh)}]
    static is my channel
    drawn on your station,
    eerie
    N-presen-tense
    underwater love
    mens rea shore
    plaintiff needs defense
    my spoon is full
    black bile treat or trick
    a type of objectivity put into words that one can “almost” taste with contempt
    reflux,
    in flux
    advice
    direction
    grounding
    ….


  18. Reblogged this on Terra Flora and commented:
    i haven’t posted anything for awhile, been so busy caring for this and that and realizing how drained and stressed i have become. i am an empath and for anyone else out there who may or may not realize your gifts of empathy i am sharing this. awareness is incredibly important for empathic indivicuals to lead a healthy happy lives.
    Namaste’


  19. I need some serious help! I am just now accepting the fact that I may empathic and I can’t stand it. For years now I have felt the emotions of everyone around me and I just cannot take it anymore. My boss’s wife just recently found out about him having an affair and she’s a WRECK to say the least. I have to work around both of them on a daily basis and I can feel both of their energies and resentments towards one another. It’s radiating off of them and I feel downright helpless. I go from having an extreme urge to cry to an extreme urge of yelling all in a matter of seconds. It is BEYOND frustrating. I absolutely love the work I do but their marital issues are making work Hell for me. Not only are they crazy with emotions but my co-workers can feel the tension so they’re left extremely concerned and confused which is wearing off on me as well. It’s painfully exhausting

    I’m at my wits end. I feel as if I will go insane at any moment and all I can do to stop any of this is sleep. I’m NOT happy with my life during work it’s emotionally draining, yet my life outside of work is just fine.

    PLEASE IF THERE IS ANYTHING AT ALL THAT I CAN DO TO HELP BALANCE OUT THESE EMOTIONS I’M FEELING I’M OPEN EARS FOR ANY ADVICE.

    I’M DESPERATE!!!!!!!!!


  20. Hi, and thank you for sharing this beautiful piece. I am 37 and also an empath. Looking back, I think I got a first feel of it at the age of about 14 and as I grew everything got more and more vivid, but I had never understood the intensity of it. I was always a “sponge” when it came to other people’s energy and was always called “over-sensitive” or that I would exaggerate a whole deal about “energy” levels. No one would understand, and yet I would draw energy vampires but also people in need, towards me without knowing why. No I have learnt to accept this “gift” and trying to learn how to channel my good energy where I want to, as opposed to having it sucked out of me without my will. It is not easy at all to avoid receiving emotions… but what I try to do is release them as soon as I can so they do not get to the point of making me too ill. It is more of a gift, but it takes time to learn. Also what you mentioned about the job… I am at that phase where I feel I need to make a life-altering change… I am just unsure at this stage how to go about it. Luckily I have some holidays coming up and I will try to take off somewhere on my own and figure things out. THANK YOU AGAIN 🙂


    • Thanks Alex 🙂 great to hear that this article has helped you achieve some clarity and I hope your holiday gave you the opportunity to achieve even more. warmest wishes to you – Sharon


  21. I am so thankful for part one! I am 33 and just figuring out why my entire life has been one emotional rollercoaster after the next. I am going to read part two right now!! Thank you!!


  22. I love reading articles on Empaths. It is nice to feel understood. Thank you. Being an empath does cause issues in life, but it offers distinct advantages as well! “Knowing” about people is very helpful and my intuition is almost never wrong, almost. 😉 I find social situations extremely difficult at times. My social confidence energy seems to be cyclic, coming and going depending on the day or week. I have noticed recently that if I focus on speaking from my heart in social situations (with a simple visualization of energy coming from my heart area while speaking) I feel much more protected from other’s energy in general. No matter what garbage they’re throwing my way, the heart energy seems to provide a protective effect. It also helps me speak my truth with a gentle confidence. This has a wonderful grounding effect. Thanks again for the article.



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