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April 12, 2019

How to Love an Empath When You’re a Highly Sensitive Person.

The first 28 years of my life were spent trying to conceal just how much I cared about, well, everything. If I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t conceal it, I’d go straight to apologizing—mostly, apologizing for crying.

I got so self-conscious about just how often my emotions would bubble to the surface, eventually I began to disclaim myself when I’d meet new people.

“If you’re around me for longer than 15 minutes or so, you’ll probably see me cry. Just ignore it,” I’d tell them. “I’ll let you know if something is really wrong. I just have a lot of feelings.”

When I found the language of Human Design and learned that I’m an Emotional Authority, it was like being told I was okay for the first time. It was like a hug from God.

My feelings weren’t just okay—they were my intuitive gift, my signal for when it’s time to make decisions, when it’s time to rest, and when it’s time to “burst” through existing ideas and projects.

Without going too far down the tangent of Human Design and what it really is, I’ll share a common comparison I give to clients: If your birth chart tells us about the Story of your life, your Human Design tells us all about the Character. Using this information, we can follow the roadmap for the easiest path to our purpose, choosing to embody our Best Self along the way.

Just like with Astrology, we can also look at Human Design charts to see how “compatible” two people’s energies are together. We can look at the different Centers and see where energy is more likely to flow between the two people, unconsciously.

So naturally after finding so much peace and emotional growth in these tools myself, I began looking at the charts of the important people in my life, like my boyfriend, my daughter and her father, my mother—and I was shocked to see that every single one of those people had an Open Emotional Center, meaning they are all emotional empaths.

Statistically speaking, this is a highly unlikely occurrence. The population is about evenly split between Emotional Authorities (people like myself, who have a Defined Emotional Center in their Human Design) and people who have an Open Emotional Center.

To find that almost every single one of the most important people in my life are empaths was all at once eye-opening as well as freeing. Because the recognition of this pattern also shed a light on the fact that it was only when I was in the presence of those people that I felt like I had to be a toned-down version of myself.

And I have to emphasize that most of the time, the discomfort I felt was totally unspoken—it wasn’t like all of those people were bullying me into suppressing my feelings. It was actually kind of the opposite; I felt like I didn’t want to inflict my “big” feelings onto them.

So I shrank down, I hid, I diminished myself in those relationships—not because I didn’t love them, but because I was terrified they’d tell me I loved too much, that it was too hard, and they couldn’t handle it. Or worse, simply that they didn’t want it.

Of course, those were my assumptions and fears, totally baseless in reality.

It was only when I had the self-awareness and acceptance of being an Emotional Authority that I let myself explore the possibility that I can just love people, to my fullest capacity, with or without their presence in my life—that I can actually just love and appreciate people for who they are, not who they are to me or how I think people should show each other love.

Now, there are a few cool advantages to knowing our Human Designs when it comes to relationships, in general—but I’ll use some of the lessons I’ve learned in my relationship with my boyfriend to make the distinction really clear.

  1. We can see correlations between Human Design and Love Languages.This isn’t a set-in-stone law or anything, but it’s pretty easy to see the patterns between Love Language preferences and whether or not someone is an Emotional Authority or an empath.In general, you’ll find that the Emotional Authority will have the Love Languages of Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and/or Gift Giving and Receiving. On the other end of the spectrum, people with an Open Emotional Center are more likely to desire Quality Time and Physical Touch.

    Just thinking critically about this for two seconds will connect the dots for you—an empath can literally feel how much the Emotional Authority counterpart loves, and loves them. It’s intoxicating to be so close to someone who loves you that much. All they need to know they’re loved is to be in your presence.

    Meanwhile, the Emotional Authority lives in the experience of constant feeling. The subtle disadvantage to this is that there is the potential for them to need constant verbal and physical validations and reminders that they’re loved. It’s not that the empath isn’t loving them enough; it’s just that the Emotional Authority feels safer when there’s evidence to show them they’re cared for.

  2. To that end, consistent conscious communication from both sides is key.There are a lot of different ways we see the Emotional Authority experience what we call “the Wave,” of their emotions—but in general, someone with an Emotional Authority is living life in an invisible life raft in the middle of the ocean. They’re not sure when, they’re not sure why, but inevitably, they will find themselves caught in the eye of a storm that no one else can see.For the Open Emotional population walking around in life and interacting with Emotional Authorities, this is like deciding to take a nice swim and all of a sudden getting swept up in an undertow.

    The easiest, fastest way to begin to improve the relationship between an Emotional Authority and an empath is to practice being a conscious observer of your emotional temperature gauge and to keep the line of communication around emotions clear at all times.

    For Emotional Authorities finding themselves in a Low, it’s important to let the people around know what’s up, so the empaths can be relieved of the pressure they’re taking on—consciously or unconsciously.

    For empaths coming into the room and sensing an immediate shift in their emotional state, be gentle with the Emotional Authority person. How we speak to each other makes all the difference.

    “How can I support you?” sounds a lot nicer than “what’s wrong with you?”

  3. Drop all judgment and expectations at the door.For me, shrinking down my emotional expression was all done out of fear of rejection. I didn’t want to be seen as “too emotional” because I was conditioned to believe that “emotional” was equivalent to “childish and irrational.”As a result of that conditioning, for many many years, I wouldn’t allow myself to express my emotions honestly with my partners. I wouldn’t express my needs. I wouldn’t let them know when I needed support.

    I didn’t want to make it their job to “fix” me, and I didn’t want to be seen as something to fix in the first place.

    What I didn’t realize was that my energy field was tangible, that empaths could actually feel my Lows, and that it was very likely that by me saying, “I’m fine,” when I clearly wasn’t, they’re over there internalizing what’s happening and feeling like they’re the one to blame for my Low.

    Of course, I can’t control how they interpret my emotional state or my inability to ask for support—the internal work needs to be done on both sides of the emotional fence.

    But we can also choose to believe that we’re allowed to be honest about our emotional state, and that asking for support from people who love us doesn’t have to be a chore—for either of us.

One of the things I’ve learned, above all else, is that humans just want to be loved and accepted for who they really are—big feelings and all.

When we are comfortable in our capacity to feel and to love, as the Emotional Authority, we can be the most satisfying, most dearly cherished people in the lives of empaths.

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Tiffani Purdy

Tiffani Purdy is the author of the Amazon best-selling self-help book about the psychology of identifying and breaking limiting beliefs, The Ego Death Experience: How to Boldly Face Death & Achieve the Ultimate Rebirth. In her life coaching practice, Tiffani focuses on emotional intelligence and family harmony using the Human Design System, a combination of the ancient and modern sciences of Astrology, I-Ching, Kabbalah, the Hindu-Brahmin chakra system, and quantum physics. She has helped hundreds of clients and students online through long-term private support and group programs to understand themselves and the people in their lives on an energetic level; to see the bigger picture in why things have happened the way they have; and to learn how to experience more fun, more confidence, and more fulfillment in their everyday life. Tiffani also holds client sessions and teaches workshops in downtown Tampa at the Sanctuary Center, a community resource center aimed at serving the emotional and mental health needs of marginalized populations in the Tampa Bay Area. Through her weekly podcast, “Emotional Authority,” Tiffani shares her thoughts on emotional and mental health through the lens of Human Design. She has guest posted for TEDxLincoln Center and Elephant Journal and has been featured in podcasts like Spirit Girls Radio Show + Podcast, Abundant Babes with Viola Hug, and Brunch with the Universe. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her daughter, Mana Kaia.Find out more at her website and podcast.