A recent article on elephant journal about How to Love an Empath intrigued me.
I love all the points that the author makes about living with an empath. At one point, Rebecca mentions that empathy is a blessing and a curse, and I couldn’t agree more. Speaking as an empath and operating more from my feeling center than thinking center, these are some observations about how to live as an empath.
1. Honor and appreciate the empathic, feeling state of consciousness.
Empaths often experience pressure for being different. Operating from the heart is a trait which the modern world looks down upon. Being different brings a great deal of challenges. It’s easy to be misunderstood by others, and then to take their disapproval within. Most sensitives that I have encountered try to deny this aspect of themselves at great cost.
Being empathic is a normal human trait. It’s a gift to be attuned within and without. Sensing moods of people and tones in environments is an essential ability for health. I’d even say that it’s a core survival trait: knowing who and what is a danger to oneself and one’s family.
2. Identify how empathic consciousness is different from thought consciousness.
Day and night have obvious differences because they are observable with the eye. Empathic awareness is much harder to identify because it cannot be seen. It is only felt and experienced within. By identifying the differences in how empathy works, its traits turn from a curse to a blessing. By knowing when the mind and its thoughts are dominant, self-knowledge is attained. Thoughts and feelings are different, and recognizing the differences and their internal results is liberating.
Rather than being pulled by energetic tides, observation gives a powerful defensive response to remain centered.
3. Believe your intuition—it is accurate.
Most empaths deny their gut-instinct. Never do this. Your intuition is accurate. This does not mean that the feeling can be fully understood or embraced. The knowledge may be incomplete. Yet, the feeling itself is real and there is a deeper communication occurring that needs to be embraced.
4. Just because it can be felt does not mean the observation is complete or fully understood.
Making assumptions based on a felt observation is a huge pitfall for sensitives. The connection between the feeling and thinking states has just as many complications as communication between men and women. The feeling and mental states are simply different. Reflecting on what the feelings may be trying to reveal is wise. Jumping to conclusions can bring disastrous results.
Because emotions are always in flux and have various depths, the messages may be mixed and hidden. They can change. Details and subtleties may become apparent with reflection and taking time to understand.
5. Notice the changing feelings within and identify key emotional states and what influences them.
One of the biggest gifts for an empath is relating to feelings and identifying different emotional states. This is similar to a musician who can identify different musical tones or an artist who recognizes various shades of colors.
The internal emotional landscape can change based on external influences; different people, environments, foods, sounds, scents and more can alter the empathic response. Being able to know who, what, how and why these feelings change enables empathy to become a gift. Rather than being driven by empathy, it allows responsiveness.
6. Nurture the states of feeling that you want to live with.
In being responsive and knowing which internal emotional states matter, empaths can do what it takes to feel right. A musician knows to play certain combinations to make particular sounds, and an artist knows which color combinations will create the desired form.
An empath can sculpt their emotional landscape by bringing into their life more of what works, and releasing what doesn’t.
7. Empaths are also “feeling” projectors.
Most empaths are unaware that the ability to sense emotions also grants the ability to project them. The influence happens regardless if one is aware of it or not.
An empath can influence the moods and feelings of other people and can alter the energetic climate of a room, eventor group of people. Most empaths do this unknowingly. Once you are able to see how this happens, it enables your mere presence to be a gift to others. It can also become a silent language, speaking disapproval or discontent without saying a word or even moving a muscle.
Awakening to this aspect of empathy empowers the sensitive to take responsibility for their sphere of influence and how their own moods, feelings and emotions can impact their family, friends and environments. This is why it is essential for empaths to wake up to their ability—honoring, appreciating, recognizing and taking responsibility for what happens within themselves.
8. Find ways to be an expressive empath through creative channels.
Empaths often don’t feel heard or understood. It is an internal domain that many people never understand. To rely on others for self-understanding can become a detriment and distraction.
More importantly, empaths often don’t know how to express their spirit. Other channels of communication are essential for getting those feelings out. Art, writing, music, dance, science—any form of active creativity that channels the creative source into tangible results clears the internal channels and is self-nurturing.
To close, I share the words of my most favored wisdom guides.
“May the force be with you.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Jesse Hebert/Pixoto