Take Off the Mask, I Can See You Anyway

It is very unnerving for an Empath or Highly Sensitive Person to be around a liar. To be lied to. To our face. Cuz we know it.

You see, your outside is not matching your inside when you lie to us. We can see beneath the mask. It is like a massive assault to our senses that is both hard to process and hard to recover from. Because the lying tells us to not believe what we feel, what we know to be true.

This is especially  confusing to empath children and HSPs. Because there is a lot of dishonesty in the world. That we are supposed to ignore. Even within our families. It is very stressful when adults tell you not to trust your gut – for example, when they tell you to be nice to cruel family members. (What’s up with that? Isn’t it better for children not to even be around untrustworthy adults? Rather, stop pretending and ignoring warning signs that may actually endanger sensitive children!)

Remember the old saying, “The eyes are a window to your soul?” They are also the window to your emotions. When someone’s face and words do not match their body language and internal energy, it is very unnerving to us. Empathic and sensitive children, young adults, and adults need to learn to trust what they feel, rather than the opposite. Instead of hearing, “you are too sensitive.” We need to hear “trust your true feelings.”

Lying and liars have become quite popular these days. And I don’t get it. Yes, social media can spread lies more quickly, but fact checking is available at our finger tips. Some in the public realm believe, “If I say it, it is true.” Which of course is not true. And truth does matter. It matters a lot. And not just to empaths and sensitives.

“Friedrich Nietzsche said, “I not upset you lied to me; I’m upset from now on I can’t trust you.”  

  • I would update that yes, I am upset that you lied to me, and now I can’t trust you.
  • I am only reminded to trust myself, to see through your mask.
  • Or better yet, to stay away from you ….



Kick Back

Kick back. Often. Why? Our posture can change our attitude and approach. Really. Not kidding.

Our bodies are our private homes. They house all of our thoughts and emotions. They wear our lifetime of personal history. And sometimes, we get stuck in our heads or our hearts. We may have a constant loop of troubling thoughts or hurtful feelings. Our bodies can become warehouses of tension and pain. One way to tackle this looping replay of what is troubling us is to literally kick back.

When you kick back, you may think this is doing nothing. Wrong. It is not doing nothing. It is doing something. You are actively changing your posture. You are making a statement. You are choosing to hold your body differently. Kicking back is a considered position and approach.

Posture can change attitude. When we kick back, we stretch out our legs to relax and cross our feet for grounding. It is a relaxed position of confidence. Tension melts away when we move into this body position. We unwind, we consider our options and opportunities, we are grateful, and we literally breathe easier. Sometimes we do our best thinking and calmest feeling when we kick back.

If kicking back seems new territory for you, I encourage you to try it. Remember the old adage of fake it til you make it?  Try kicking back (even if just for moments) in the midst of or at the end of a busy day. Tension will dissipate. It just happens when you shift your body into this position. And you can kick back almost anywhere!

Kicking back leads to a calmer attitude and a clearer mind. It provides opportunity to consider in a relaxed position, and it loosens tension in your body. So after your long day of __________________, kick back.        Inhale. Exhale.



Anchors Needed

It’s a storm filled world out there. Literal storms, emotional storms, medical deluges, familial hurricanes, political thunderstorms….Storms seem to be everywhere. We need our own personal anchors more than ever to not get blown away.

Anchors as symbols of strength, security, stability, and faith go back several thousand years. Although not seafaring people, early Christians used anchors as symbols of their unshakable faith when they were being hunted and persecuted by the Romans. The phrase “Hope anchors the soul” is derived from a longer verse in the Bible in Hebrews. Nowadays, others have adopted this belief too, and this anchor quote has become quite popular these days on tattoos!

Anchors hold down ships during the stormiest weather. When you drop your anchor, it is self-protective. You know that you are in for a storm, and you are prepared to weather it and get to the other side. The storm may come in the shape of a disease, an accident, a loss, a relationship, a confrontation….You may have time to prepare your ship, or it may come upon you without warning. Either way, your anchor will  provide emotional stability.

Did you know that ships can have more than one anchor? So can we! The anchor that most people count on is faith, belief, and hope in a higher power that will see you through. However, an anchor can also be a person who you can count on and who always has your back in a storm. An anchor can be a practice like yoga or walking meditation to steady you. A meaningful object or affirmation can also help to anchor us when we are scared or worried. Whatever helps fortify you – do that, believe in that. Stay grounded.

“The important thing about anchors is that they give us roots. They remind us of our values and who we are. They reaffirm what is important to us, and why weathering the storm, without giving into behaviors, is totally worth it.” ~ Claire Milliken


“No” is a Complete Sentence.

No. Nope. Uh-uh. No way. No thanks. I can’t…. There are so many ways to say “no,” so why is it so hard for some of us?

Sensitive people don’t like to disappoint others. We want to help. Empaths know what you are feeling, what you want. Also, we have trouble with boundaries. A lot of trouble. And people who don’t respect boundaries are often drawn to us. Saying “no” is a challenge for us.

Two thoughts to keep in mind:

You can still be a good person and say no.

“No” is a complete sentence. ~ Annie Lamott

Highly sensitive people often say “yes” because they want to be kind. But is it really kind to say “yes” when you mean “no?” It is dishonest at best and underhanded at worst. Because when you say “yes” to a commitment but don’t mean it, you have planted the seeds of resentment.

” A great way to tell when you feel ‘no’ is to watch for resentfulness. Resentment is the red flag that lets you know you are in a situation with an energy imbalance, where you are giving more to a situation than you are getting back.” ~ Lisa Campion

It is normal and healthy to say “no” when you don’t want to do something. You are being true to yourself, you are being honest, and maybe there is someone else who actually wants to do the thing that you don’t want to do. (It’s also not a bad thing for someone to have to figure out something by themselves.)

Some advice:

~ Be direct. Use the “no” word.

~ Don’t apologize for saying no.

~ Giving a reason is optional.

~ Trust your feelings/gut.

~ Provide an alternative, if you wish.

~ Avoid serial askers.

Be prepared – people do not like hearing “no.” (Do you?) So there will be some uncomfortable feelings. We just gotta ride that wave til it passes. Not passing, make an exit til the tide clears.

People say “no” all the time. You can too. When you say “no” to others, it is often saying “yes” to yourself – to your beliefs, to your time, to your own needs. Say “yes” to you.


Creating a Peaceful Home in a Turbulent World

May all grow strong in this place of healing, our sanctuary from the loudness of the world.                 Marianne Williamson

My dream home is a cottage on the beach. My real home is not a cottage on the beach. However, I can still create a dreamy peaceful haven in the home that I inhabit. So can you.

In these uncertain and turbulent times, it is more important than ever to have a home sanctuary, a safe harbor, a port in a storm. Google defines haven and sanctuary the same as “a place of safety and refuge.” Shelter is “a place giving protection from bad weather or danger.” Home is more than just a place to live. Or it can be.

Serene. Calm. Welcoming. Peaceful. Cozy. Do these words conjure up your home? If yes, great! Think about how you did it, and do more of it. If no, no worries. We can always modify our homes to get the good vibes that we want them to give. We can create homes that are restorative, relaxing, harmonious, and rejuvenating.

Think sensory and decorate with intention. Colors, pictures, objects, and photos create a mood. Only keep objects that give off good vibes and provide good memories.  Bring natural beauty like wood, plants, and shells into your home.  Be aware of the sounds and the smells of your home. We can adjust with music, candles, foods, etc.

All rooms matter, so get rid of clutter and bad mojo. Clutter is the opposite of calm, so put away or give away excess stuff. Bad mojo can come from an object or a person. Either way, you don’t want it/them in your home. Throw away or give away an object from anyone who upsets you. Open the windows for air or light some candles with prayers to get rid of lingering negative energy when certain people have been in your home.

We can carve a little private personal sanctuary space in our homes. Like me, you may not have the luxury of a room, so it may be a corner or a desk or something as small as a shelf. Fill it with objects just for you. Objects and pictures that make you feel better and make you feel whole. Spend time there every day.

Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. ~ Cecelia Ahern …. Let’s make it both.





If You’re Tired, Rest

“If you are tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” – Banksy.

Resting and quitting are not the same thing, though our society often sends us the message that they are. Rest is necessary. Rest is rejuvenating. Rest is a valuable part of life. Resting is actually the opposite of quitting – it is filling you up so that you can accomplish your goals. So do it. It is okay to take a break (long or short) from the demands of life. Your body will thank you for it. Your emotional well being will thank you for it. Your family, friends, and colleagues will notice your improved disposition and your better attention to tasks.

4 Lessons to keep in mind: Lesson #1 – no one will tell you to take a break, you just have to take one. Lesson #2 – people will usually help you IF YOU ASK. Lesson #3 – let go of guilt – you can’t do everything all the time. Lesson #4 – it will be okay – disaster will not strike because you took some time out.

So you need some rest, and you need a break, but how can you actually get one? You have a very busy life. No worries. Rest breaks can be short or long. They are meant to be refreshing, not something else added to your to do list. Here are some suggestions that will lesson stress and lead to rest:

1. Breathe. Remember three good things in your life.

2.  Pray – overwhelmed? Lift it up to a higher power.

3.  Stop and walk away. (It’s okay to hide out in the bathroom quietly or step out on the porch alone.)

4. Control your to do lists. (When I reach 10 things on a list, I throw the list away and make a shorter one.)

5. Laugh! Laughter relaxes your whole body.

6. Hang out with your pets; they make you laugh. Cuddle up for a nap together.

7. Say no. (There is actually someone else who WANTS to do the thing that you don’t want to do.)

8. Tell your partner and ask for help so you can rest.

9. Play music that expresses your feelings or how you want to feel.

10. Sleep. Nap. Go to bed earlier. Rested body = rested mind = ready for the day.

Rest is doing something. It is not doing nothing. So if you’re tired, rest.


You Fill Up My Senses*

Highly sensitive people have highly sensitive senses. Makes sense? Of course.

We know we have 5 senses. (I’m not including our psychic senses here – that is a topic for another day.) We know that sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell are the basic five senses. Empaths and HSPs feel the outside world amplified, so it makes sense that we have heightened sensory experiences.

Let me ask you —– Do you smell things that others can’t smell? Do sounds and music strongly affect you? Do you have zero tolerance for itchy fabrics? Are there certain foods that you can’t put in your mouth without fear of puking? Do visual images cause very real feelings for you? (And are you sensitive to temperatures, too?)

Though some senses may be more sensitive than others, if you are an empath or HSP, you probably answered yes to most of these questions. And guess what? There is scientific evidence to back up this difference in sensory sensitivity for us. And guess what else? Science points to we were born this way.

“Brain imaging studies suggest real differences in the brains of Highly Sensitive Persons versus everyone else. Cortical areas linked to attention and processing perceptual data show higher activation in reponse to all kinds of stimuli.” (Andrea Bartz, “Sense and Sensitivity” in Psychology Today 7/05/11)

Some bemoan this sensitivity, but I say celebrate it! What a wonderful gift to experience the world in its saturated form! The key is learning to flood your senses with positive sensory input and conversely, to limit unpleasant sensory input whenever you can. Seek intense and uplifting sensory input. Share it with another, and your sensory bliss doubles. Think about your own personal sensory choices. Be deliberate. Surround yourself with this input. Daily. It will be good for you and for those around you.

Will close here with lines from a sensory rich love song.

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest, like the mountains in spring time, like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean. you fill up my senses, come fill me again.” ~ John Denver*


Ever find yourself speechless? Are you an empath or highly sensitive person? You are not alone in your loss for words. It happens to empaths and HSPs more often than others. We may become temporarily unable to speak when we are experiencing very strong emotions. It especially happens when we are in the presence of inauthentic people.

A dishonest, inauthentic, and untrustworthy person is often angry and demanding and has a tidal wave of negative emotions that they lug around with them. These emotions spill into ours when we are near them. It is a crush of want. We can’t help but absorb the emotions of others near us, so their upset becomes our upset. Speaking no words stops our engagement and starts our self protection. (We shut down until we can get away.)

That’s not to say that empaths can’t handle the gamut of emotions that flow in and out of us throughout the day as we connect with others. We are strong. We can swim with the tides. It is to say that when someone has a bottomless pit of negativity, we need to swim away from them because they will drown us otherwise.

We are vulnerable to emotional contagion. So empaths need to be careful with who they spend time with. It is better to get out of the line of fire of negative vibes than to stay there speechless. Because if you stay, they will gain energy and you will lose energy; it will only go one way.

Think about proximity when dealing with inauthentic people. Use selective proximity. Don’t sit by them at meetings. (Avoiding meetings they attend is even better.) Don’t invite them into your home. (If you have to see them, meet in a public place.) Always have an exit strategy. (Limit your time by arranging to have a place to be shortly after you see them.) Don’t tell them personal things about yourself. (Inauthentic people can be very manipulative and may use your personal information to draw you closer.) Stay away from talking heads on social media and tv who rant. (Read your news rather than watch it – it won’t feel like an assault that way because we can’t hear or see the person’s emotions.)

Empaths and HSPs do not have to be open for emotional business 24/7. We do not have to draw close to every heart we encounter. Speechless is not hopeless. It is an avenue to a closed door to emotional contagion.

Game Over

“Game over, man! Game over!” I can still picture Private William Hudson (Bill Paxton) yelling this in the movie Aliens when he realizes that  the ship meant to rescue him and his crew was destroyed. They are armed, but it doesn’t matter. They are trapped. Hope is lost. They will die.

“Game over, man! Game over!” was not in the original script. Bill Paxton ad libbed it, and they kept it in. It’s arguably the most memorable line in the film – because it’s over for Private Hudson, but NOT for Ripley. She decides that game will NOT be over until she rescues herself and the little girl.

Aliens was filmed in 1986. Critics still list it as one of the best movie sequels of all time, and it was nominated for many Academy Awards. Yes, it had state of the art special effects and a good script and solid cast. But its worth is that its message still rings true. When do we accept defeat? When do we fight on? And who gets to decide Game Over?

You do. I do. We do. They do. It depends on the situation and the relationship. It often hinges on the question of how much can we take before we are done. How do we want to live? What will we accept? What will we fight for? Is there hope left? Is the situation fixable? There are always some choices involved.

“Game over” can be a good thing in life. It can be a rallying cry for I’m done with this part of my life and I’m moving on to something better, something safer, something more fulfilling, etc. For us “Game over” is usually not life and death – although sometimes it may feel like it – it means we will change, and our lives will change. Like Ripley, we may need to fight our way out of a bad situation, and leave our past/the game behind us. We may not know what the future holds, but we know it will be better than this.

Game over means that this chapter of my life is over and I protect myself and I take care of myself by exiting the game. By leaving, I am moving on, and I am hopeful, and I am not doomed.

A Peaceful Heart Stays Clean

Strong? Yes. Dumping grounds? No.

We all have broken parts, and compassion for others helps with the healing process. But there are persons who will deliberately and continually take advantage of empaths’ and sensitives’ compassion and empathy. Some people call them energy vampires, but I think of them as dump trucks. It took me a long time to figure out why. When a distraught person is near an empath, we will take on their emotions, help carry the burden so to speak. Emotionally chaotic people will feel some relief JUST BY BEING AROUND YOU. And the more negative emotions they dump on you, the better they feel. So they will want to be around you. A LOT.

Perfect description of this is “a crush of want.” (Nick Cave). When I heard this, I thought, yes, yes, yes. That is exactly what it feels like. Because the want is never ending for some people. It feels suffocating, and if we don’t get out of the way, the dumping will crush us.  If I take your pain on as my pain whenever I’m near you, guess what? I can’t be near you. I have my own wounds to heal.

Empaths are strong. We can handle a lot of emotion. All kinds. But we need to set boundaries to keep the dump trucks out of our environments. They are skilled at demanding our attention as they rattle into the room. I feel no match. So I step away. I refuse to be the garbage dump. We are at cross purposes, so I will cross you out of my life as much as possible. I will not invite you into my home, and if I meet you, it will be on neutral ground. And I will give myself time to recover after time spent with you. The less of a host a become for you, the less of a parasite you will be, and eventually, you will go looking for another dumping ground.

My children helped me clear my environment of dump trucks. That was my turning point. My energy shift. I wanted my energy to go to them. It was up to me to create a peaceful family environment. I made it clear that my children would always come first, and the dump trucks slowly but steadily paraded away.

Do I still take on other people’s emotions? Yes, of course. It is part of who I am and who I will always be. Born this way. But I recognize who I need to stand back from. No one wants to be a dumpster.