“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I love this quote by Anaïs Nin because it so poignantly reminds me that my journey as an empath and highly sensitive person (HSP) must be one of courage and fearless authenticity.
This has become so important to me that I am willing to face the storm that is the world by not abandoning, but employing, my sensitivity.
Dear Empath, I see you. I hear you. I am one too.
Highly sensitive people are born to this planet with the ability of being able to sense what is unseen, what is unexpressed verbally, what is the silence between words; and what is intended—but disguised.
I’d like to make a distinction here between the emotion of empathy and empaths as incarnated beings. We all possess empathy to one degree or another, and it is a sliding scale to be sure, but not all human beings are telepathically tuned into the energetic fields of other sentient beings, including animals and plants, to the degree that those fields merge with that of the person and cause either a copacetic or disruptive union with sometimes unusual consequences.
Empathy, the emotion, does not necessarily correlate with being an empath or HSP, but it may, and so there is confusion.
Am I saying that empaths and highly sensitive people come into the world with an unusually activated merkaba, or that they fulfill a specific purpose on the planet? I am.
Empaths incarnate to serve an ailing planet specifically by intensely feeling their way through life. That is their soul call, their intention, and their super power.
It can be an uncomfortable incarnation, because there is no way of anticipating exactly how the planet will feel, and from a spirit’s perspective, there is no fear when viewing one’s soul trajectory—and so this can mean a surprising integration into society.
Once here, the transition can be quite jarring. Empaths are often born to difficult family situations. They can feel that they don’t belong to either their family or their environment. These sensitive souls suffer the humiliation of being told that their sensitivity is unwelcome and unpleasant to others. A common refrain heard by HSPs is to “toughen up,” to stop acting like a p*ssy, grow a tougher skin, to ignore their instincts and instead, to operate from a perspective quite alien to them. Empaths long for “home,” not always able to identify that mysterious hunger gnawing at their bones.
What I always say to the empaths I speak with is that to abandon one’s true self is much more debilitating than living a life of mindful acceptance. If you are an empath or HSP, please know that your intuition and your sensitivity are exactly why you’re here and what the world needs now.
I’ve also been asked, “Why are empaths to narcissists like paper clips to magnets?” They are drawn to each other simply, because each are the other’s best teacher. If you are experiencing this now, the following tool kit is essential.
The best practice you can adopt is to ignore any and all suggestions that you should stop being so dramatic and get on with things because your sensitivity will only be your downfall. Or to listen to the even more insensitive suggestion that you are damaged in some way through your life experiences and that is how you formed your “empath imprint.”
All people suffer, all sentient beings absorb the impact of their experiences, and there are many resources to help us with our inner work. However, it is never helpful to an HSP to be labeled as damaged. That only confuses their purpose, and creates a sometimes lifelong quest for healing from their sensitivity which is a particularly painful and non-productive path.
If you take away anything from this post, let it be that you are perfectly designed and equipped to transmute negativity into positive outcomes. To shut down your brilliance would hurt more than enduring the misunderstanding of your being-ness.
Over the years, I have developed my own empath survival skill set. It is born of a life that could have made me bitter and angry. However, to live mindfully, which is my goal, I have had to adhere to some practices that refute victimhood. I choose empowerment and the magic of sensitivity. To be sensitive to one’s environment is to walk in its shoes and that is how we create a compassionate, loving world.
It is entirely up to the HSP to become their own safety, their own support system. I call it mindful co-creation of an environment we can thrive in. Empaths are not meant to suffer, we are meant to thrive and instead of absorbing the negativity around us, we can transmute it into something much more usable within society.
Here are the crucial tools all HSPs can use; don’t let their simplicity fool you:
Determine clear and healthy boundaries, and employ them to your best ability.
This is something we must do for ourselves, by ourselves. Understand your limits and protect them fiercely. Empaths and HSPs tend to ignore this advice thinking it somehow makes them less compassionate or unavailable to others. Boundaries are key.
Engage in frequent and supportive self-care.
Another area that empaths tend to ignore, making service and a mindful life a priority, is self-care. But time and time again, we come back to a dry well, finding it difficult to remain healthy emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Seek all manner of support from nature and other mediums:silence, solitude, meditation, yoga, reading, massage, music, water, wind, soil, and rampant creativity.
In fact, creativity is the empath’s best friend. What is your favorite form of creativity? For me, it is time in the garden, sex, writing, cooking, and making malas. What brings you back to center and fills you with joy?
Value your unique incarnation and don’t apologize for it. Ever.
Apologizing for who you are is a form of self-aggression. Instead, meditate on all the ways that being sensitive is a joy, how it allows intimate connections in a disconnected world. You are the change, and all that.
Envision your path as an incarnated spiritual being with appreciation. When I appreciate my empath imprint, I walk with strength and purpose. I do not allow another’s opinion or interpretation of my purpose to sway me.
You do not need permission to be authentic, to be exactly as you are. Own that.
Know that your intuitive abilities to feel the energy around you are your super power and engage with this phenomenon in a balanced way.
Balance, balance, balance!
I just can’t say this enough, most often to myself. It’s okay to not feel all the time. Nothing bad will happen. It’s like a tap—you can slow or eliminate the flow of information. It’s all about intention. You decide when you’ve had enough, and either remove yourself from the situation providing stimuli, or guard your energetic field in whichever way works for you.
Some people swear by grounding exercises, others use talismans, essential oils, or crystals; others still “zip up” an imaginary protective layer around themselves. The secret here is the decision to find balance. The decision is up to you and must be upheld by you.
Empower yourself by not engaging in negative situations, conversations, and debilitating advice from those who do not understand your imprint.
I know, sounds like a given, right? But it’s not. We forget all the time. Just walk away from the drama.
Part of a mindful life is being in the flow of things, seeing what is and being fine with it, not needing to make ourselves into something we’re not, and most importantly, being our own best friend. Be kind to yourself through conscious decisions about life choices.
You are not a victim of your sensitivity. Find the ways that work for you to live vibrantly as an empath and highly sensitive person.
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” ~ Pema Chödrön
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron