As defined by Merriam Webster, Empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner. Or in other words, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Please note, that this is the second blog post that is related to the subject of empathy, or what it means to be an Empath. If you are not familiar with the first article, you will want to read 'What is an Empath' in order to have a complete understanding of the term as I refer to it here. Since that first post I have developed better ways of managing my empathy and establishing energetic boundaries. I also recently came across my notes from my Reiki Level 1 course and wanted to share some tips to help you embrace your sensitive nature without harming your well-being!
Types of Empathy
Empathy can be experienced in a number of different ways. In social settings, different environments and can be felt physically, emotionally or intellectually. Some people even experience empathy with animals and pets.
-Some empaths have difficulties establishing boundaries and will often absorb the energy and emotions of their friends and loved ones. This can often be draining and lead to overwhelm.
Social Settings / Environmental:
-This can occur when you enter buildings or walk past certain places and take on the energetic frequencies within that place. For example feeling a sudden onset of emotion upon entering a historic site.
Physical / Emotional / Intellectual:
- Are you feeling the aches and pains of other people? Do you feel the sadness and heartache of others when they express emotional turmoil or upset? Do you find yourself coming up with solutions to problems that arent yours?
Managing your Empathy
-Centering is when you close those energetic ‘openings’ and bring your energy back to you. It requires focus and mindfulness to bring yourself into the present- A state where you are profoundly aware of yourself and your own feelings; where the inner state is louder and speaks to you more clearly than what is going on around you. In this state of being centered, it is more difficult to become distracted and get swept along energetically by the emotions of the people around you. Staying centered will also help you identify when you are experincing emotion or intuiton.
Raise your awareness
-Become aware of what is happening as it is happening, then observe the process; your triggers, your responses, everything. Try not to judge or label the experiencre as positive or negative, simply observe. Make note of who you were with, where you were and how you felt. You may want to start a journal or keep a record of your empathy. This can help you identify future triggers and plan for a different response or outcome. The more self aware you become, the easier it will be to identify what feelings are your own and when it is time to lay your boundaries.
-It is important that you are aware of your ability to choose. Sometimes when we want to help others we are unaware that we are taking on their feelings and challenges as our own. Even with the purest of intentions, we can only be of help to others if we are at our best. It is important to be conscious of the decisions we make. Each one of us is responsible for our own happiness and healing. Ask yourself, are you ok with putting someone elses needs before your own? Are you able to differentiate between your own feelings and those you've taken on?
My notes on empathy from Reiki level 1:
Everything is energy.
Your thoughts direct the flow.
You attract what you need to evolve.
Raise your vibration to change what you attract.
Being sensitive is being intuitive.
Feeling other energies is guidance for you.
Someone elses negativity is NEVER about you.
Use your free will - choose what you want to think and feel.
Stay in your power.
Energy medicine is grounding and protective.
Surround yourself with people who have a strong heart chakra.
Avoid crowds, clutter, excessive noise, etc.
Don't put yourself down.
Don't worry about what others think of you.
Don't share pain or negativity.
Always be yourself!
I am so grateful for these lessons and insights and I hope they help you too!