Resilience Needed for Empaths

How can we stay resilient and hopeful when the negative emotions in this country are crushing to empaths? I have never lived in such a time in the United States when hate was so proudly on parade on a daily basis, and the leader of the country was also the leader of the hate parade. It has been making me physically sick lately.

My creed has always been “Don’t feed the monster.” By this I mean don’t give attention and energy to the negative  because it only grows in strength when you do. For years, I have not watched the news because the stories thrive on the horrible, the deadly, the awful, and the tragic. And empaths are very visual – any horrific images will be easily recalled and burned in your brain forever.

However, you cannot live with your head in the sand. You may avoid things you don’t want to see and feel, but you will also hide your own light – and you will hide your own gift to the world – which in this case is desperately needed compassion. We need to know what is going on in the world. So I have been reading and listening to the news on the radio. A lot. And it’s mostly bad. I don’t want to get sucked down the hole of doom, so my question is what’s an empath to do?

I am usually a resilient and optimistic person, but of late, not so much. When my husband tells me that he is worried about me, I know that it is time to self-reflect, and figure out a way back towards hope. Time to find the strength for resilience.

Resilience is fighting back in a healthy way. I found a concise article with practical ideas to build resilience at Here are “10 Ways to Become More Resilient” by Kendra Cherry:

Find a Sense of Purpose in Your Life. …
Build Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities. …
Develop a Strong Social Network. …
Embrace Change. …
Be Optimistic. …
Nurture Yourself. …
Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills. …
Establish Goals…                                                                                                                                       Take Steps to Solve Problems…                                                                                                               Keep Working on Your Skills…

It gave me a lot to think about and remind myself of. Biggest take away for empaths was in the closing lines: “Psychological resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviors or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Focus on practicing some of the common characteristics of resilient people, but also, remember to build upon your existing strengths.” And our strengths are to feel what people are feeling – we can hold up a mirror to injustice and offer compassion back to those in need.

Here is the link to Cherry’s full article: Go get your resilience on.

Emotion as Wave, not Tsunami

Empaths handle emotion by letting it move through them. You feel the emotion deeply and wholly. The emotions move through you like a big wave. You cannot speed it up or slow it down. It is a force all its own. If you try to push it down, it only gains strength. If you push it down hard, it will come back with a frightening force.

Allow yourself to feel your emotions deeply, and ignore those around you who tell you not to. You will not “get over it” until it gets over you. This is hard to explain to people who are not empaths because they don’t experience the emotion with the intensity that we do. They don’t understand that it is physically and emotionally impossible for an empath to shut off a feeling, and that trying to tamp it down is self-destructive.

This doesn’t mean that we walk around emotional messes most of the time. We don’t. Our emotions may swing more drastically than others and be more dramatic. They run deep. Deep sorrow. Deep joy. Deep empathy.

Let the wave run through you. Do what you need to do to let that happen. I listen to very loud music. I separate myself to cry in peace. I take long walks. I pray for strength. You may do these things too, or you may release your emotions in other ways. Do what works for you and helps the wave of emotion pass without turning into a tsunami.

We are susceptible to the overwhelming emotions of those around us, so we may need to be careful with where we physically go and limit time spent with certain people. This is self-protective. Like me, you may have had to learn this the hard way. I have had some very emotionally unstable friends who liked to hang out with me a lot. Because I took some of their pain away. Literally. This is debilitating. It took me years to learn to set boundaries, and I am still learning.

If I could, I wouldn’t change being an empath. I like being this way. You get to walk the world with a certain awakening to what is around you. There is a perfect joy to feeling so connected to those you are with and to your surroundings. Choose where and who you want to spend time with. Feed your empathic soul. Focus on that joy and your light.

How’s Your Solar Plexus Chakra (i.e. self-confidence)?

The web is full of information about chakras, and I encourage you to do some sleuthing. You will likely find that some of of these wheels of energy in your body are healthy and strong, and that some are not. Note that if the idea of chakras is unfamiliar to you, you will see that the information related to the chakras rings true, and that there is a lot of readily accessible information out there to help you heal and strengthen your chakras – which in turn heals and strengthens you.

Many empaths, including me, have challenges that manifest in the third solar plexus chakra. If you (like me) have a history of digestive problems and/or lower back problems, you are having issues with this chakra. The solar plexus chakra is our seat of self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. This energy helps us more forward, face challenges, and be confident in our decisions.

Why would empaths have trouble with this third chakra? It’s not so hard to figure out. Empathy. We empathize so strongly with others, that sometimes we don’t trust our own opinions and self-definitions. We often put the needs of others ahead of ourselves – which is sometimes the right thing to do – but NOT EVERY time the right thing to do. One can be compassionate toward others and still trust and care for oneself.

There are ways to strengthen the third solar plexus chakra. Be more conscious of your decisions and actions and less influenced by other’s thoughts. Strength comes from resolve. Be physically conscious of your solar plexus – do deep breathing and core strengthening. Be spiritually conscious through prayer and guidance. Pick a few affirmations and say them throughout the day and/or sing lines from a favorite power song. Here are some affirmations for the third chakra from Chakra Wisdom ezine to get you started:

Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations

I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.

And then there’s yellow. What? Yes, yellow! Yellow is the color of the third chakra. Wear some yellow or put something yellow near you….It’s okay to have fun with this bright color….After all, the goal is for you to shine your most brilliant you into the world. And that is the gift of the third solar plexus chakra.

Disadvantages Can Be Advantages

Perception is a funny thing. It is everything really. Our perceptions guide how we live our lives. And yet, perceptions are fluid; they can change. It is always amazing to me how one’s perceptions can be so wildly different from someone else’s….

I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath. The book is about how perceived disadvantages can actually be advantages. He gives case after case of examples of people (such as David) who are perceived to be at a disadvantage but actually succeed on a grand scale because they turn their perceived disadvantage into advantage. In David’s case, he is small and so is assumed to lose against the mighty Goliath. But in truth, David never planned to fight in hand to hand combat. He was accustomed to protecting his flock against dangerous predators, and he was a practiced “slinger” and defeated Goliath with a small rock hurled to the forehead.

The perceived underdog takes a different and unexpected path. Had the underdog not been an underdog, he or she would not have had to seek out a different way to be in the world.

Empaths take a different path too. I am not saying that all empaths are underdogs (but in some instances they are). I am saying that the perceived “disadvantage” of being “overly sensitive” is wrong. You are who you are. An empath is an empath. It is something to celebrate, not to mourn.

It might take awhile to figure out how to navigate successfully in a world with our hearts so open. We will take different from typical paths. We can accept our ability to feel so deeply and balance it with light, not darkness. (Open hearts, closed veins.) When I have followed my heart intuition, I have had extraordinary experiences.

Our natural ability for compassion may lead us to helping and healing vocations. We use our compassion as a natural strength to greatest advantage for ourselves and others. We share by being fully present and by helping others grow. We also use our compassion to speak out  in situations that lack it. We are truth tellers.

Empaths perceive the world in a different way, but like David, don’t underestimate us. Our hearts guide our actions and feel the actions of others. We contribute a light and and an honesty to the world – something that only a highly sensitive person can do.


We Change When We Have to

January 1st. People declare their New Year’s resolutions. But the truth is – we change when we have to. We change when the balance on the scale tips to one side overwhelmingly – when it is more painful or difficult or deadly not to change. We change when it becomes more difficult NOT to.

Change is not the easy way, and let’s face it, we lead busy lives. Change takes effort and a lot of it. Who has the energy? You do, that’s who….but you need to have the resolve to move forward. A skeleton plan and determination are necessary. And fans. Supporters. It is helpful to have a few (or one) key people in your corner to help in moments of self-doubt. Pray for the best possible outcome. Adopt a mantra (or mantras) to help you through.

Change is hard for everyone. However, for empaths, we don’t want to cause others pain – because we can feel it. Resistance from others is very tough for us. That’s why you need resolve and support. Because not everyone around you is going to be happy about your decision for change. You will also need to give yourself permission to express your pain. Outlets are necessary – you’ve got to find yours.

It’s true that hindsight is 20-20. Change implies struggle, and in the midst of struggle, we can’t see clearly what will come out of it. (We just need to get through the day!) But at some point, you will. It may be days, months, or years down the road before you gain a clear perspective, but you will. Change and struggle, though not wished for, bring growth that otherwise never would have happened.

My current mantra to keep me going down a path for change, that will be very visible to others, is a quote from Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, ” No mud, no lotus.” It helps center me and keep me on my path with my gaze ahead.

When making changes, give yourself the gift of time. Change is a process. Be gentle with yourself.