How Did You Know?

How did you know that you are an empath? Do you remember when you first figured it out? Was it an a-ha moment or did it blindside you? Was it a gradual understanding or a bolt of lightning to the forehead (or should I say heart)? Did it fall into place or are you still struggling with it? And most importantly, how did the knowing CHANGE you?

For me, it was a welcome surprise. Quick story of discovery. (Note: I had never heard the word “empath” before.) I was having back pain and trying different therapies. Water therapist recommended massage therapy. She recommended a specific massage therapist because she thought we would “connect.” During an early session, the word “empath” appeared to me in big bold letters. (I kid you not.) I asked Kris (massage therapist) about it. What does empath mean? She told me, “Hmph. You should look into that.” Same night, I went home and did. This was the best information I found. (Link added at end of the list if you want to read the full article.) 27/30 for me.

“Here are 30 of the most common traits:

1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.

24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath.” ~ Christel Broederlow ~  https://themindunleashed.com/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html

Knowing changed my life. Put my life in perspective. Made me like and understand me more. I wish the same for you, as we are kindred spirits. I dedicate today’s post 100 on Empath Lights’ website to us and to our journey of discovery.

 

Empath, Free Spirit

Empaths are free spirits. We are born with the emotional capacity to soar. When you feel things so deeply, you can transcend yourself and get carried away to another place. But since the carrying away is happening inside, others may have no idea where you are. We are quiet rebels. We can escape internally at any given moment. That’s one of our super powers. Our emotions are invisible to others as our frequencies may be vibrating to the skies.  But we may have to get away from you to soar. (Sorry, but you can really pull us down.)

Our free spirited nature is apparent from the beginning. Our parents may say that we weren’t the easiest children to raise. My mother told me many times, “I hope that you have a child who was just like you.” (This was not a compliment.) And of course I replied defiantly, “So do I!” You see, free spirits are kind by nature, but not compliant. We push those boundaries because those boundaries are not our concern. Experience and emotion is what motivates us, not tradition or rules.

Empath children are children in motion. Did you literally try to fly? I was always jumping off retaining walls and car roofs trying to get up, up, up. Dancing, jumping, twirling, kicking, add your own. I think that we try to match our outside bodies with our internal emotions.

And that just escalates in adolescence. It’s a raw time for empaths as we may be emotional experience junkies for a while. My outlet was loud concerts in altered states, and quiet moments with long novels. (Kind of a yin/yang adolescent approach to escaping the mundane or cruel world.) It is a reckless time for us and a time when we have to learn so others don’t suck us dry. Not all rebels are nice.

Freedom is important to empaths. This carries into adulthood. Yes, we are born nurturers and we make  good spouses and parents. We are team players at work too. But don’t be fooled, first and foremost we are free thinkers, free spirits, and happy wanderers. Freedom of thought and emotion is our way, the only ways, for an empath to live their lives.

Can “You Feel It Still”?

“Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now
I’ve been feeling it since 1966, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still
Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now
Let me kick it like it’s 1986, now
Might be over now, but I feel it still
Might’ve had your fill, but I feel it still”

~ Portugal

 

Empath ~ the Outlier in Your Midst

Empaths are outliers hiding in plain sight. You don’t know about us (usually), but you do know us. We are your friend who hears your secrets, your family member who sees all sides, your co-worker who’s a good listener. We are your intense lover. We are your truth teller. We are your hand holder. You invite us in and ask us to stay; you want us with you, but you may not know why.

Empaths are insiders who are outsiders. We are the observers in a group who feel what others are feeling. Because we can “read people,” we contribute much to group dynamics, discussions, and decisions. Our emotional instincts guide us and others well. I’ve read that empaths make up 2 to 3% of the population which makes us outliers. (I think this is a better term than outsiders.)  An outlier is a person who differs from the other members of a particular group. Outliers are on the extreme fringe of something. And empaths are on the extreme end of the emotional spectrum.

So what’s it like being an emotional outlier? For me, I struggled with it for a long time. I didn’t understand how to walk the line between who I was and what I experienced. How could I be part of a group and true to how I felt? I made a lot of mistakes, and I got hurt a lot. I was criticized for being too sensitive. (I have Jersey roots, and Jersey girls are supposed to be tough!) I was told to stop crying when I felt overwhelmed. I slammed doors and listened to very loud music for emotional release. Lost and broken people gravitated toward me and depleted much of my inner strength.

It’s true that with age comes wisdom. For empaths, it’s usually wisdom learned from hard experiences. You learn to step away from that which harms you, and especially that which harms your children. You learn to stop offering yourself as a perennial sponge for any passing tentacles, and the tentacled creatures go away looking for other hosts. You learn your limits, and that you actually have them! You learn to accept and not just to give. You learn to honor yourself and live as an empath ~ an emotional outlier.

As we are, so we see. ~ William Blake

 

As Long As It Takes

When are you going to get over it? How many times have you heard that? Plenty? Enough? Empaths and highly sensitive people have to hear this phrase throughout their lives. It’s offensive to us because it is pushing your disappointment into our feelings at a time when we are already hurting.

Don’t expect us to be on your timetable. We don’t get over “it” easily. We don’t get over the break up, the assault, the death, (add your own) easily. We can’t, and you implying that we can is just adding criticism to pain.

Empaths and HSPs own their own feelings. Instead of trying to rush us out of them, maybe we can show you how to move through them. Moving through our pain to the other side of our healing is a journey all its own. And we are fearless in our emotions. That is our strength.

So the answer to the question is a resounding As Long As It Takes. You can’t rush hurting. You can’t rush healing. We grieve and feel long and hard….but then we rise. We stand and let the huge wave of emotion engulf us completely and sometimes knock us over. We know that we will live through it. Furthermore, we know that the wave will change us because the upside to emotional waves is that they leave compassion and understanding in their wake. To others, it may seem like it overwhelms us, but we know that it is passing through. We can handle it. And trying to stop the wave is dangerous for us. We need to own it, so we don’t get stuck in it. So your asking us to deny it is actually prolonging the pain.

So, when are you going to get over it? Not sure. Will time heal all wounds? Not sure. But I do know that the sun will come out again. And it will rise every morning. I will rise every morning. And that the right time to move on is when you move on.

Emotions Imprinted on Objects

Did you know that emotions imprint on objects? Maybe you do, but you don’t know that you do. An object may bring up a feeling in you – which may lead you to keeping or getting rid of the object – keeping it close or moving it far away. You may think that is your emotion, but many empaths can feel the emotions of someone else imprinted on the object. There is even a term for this – “psychometry.” Many empaths have this ability but may not even be consciously aware of it.

Here are some examples to clarify. They are from ordinary life, but they illustrate this trait. First, presents. Presents are important to me. If you didn’t know this about me, it would surprise you. I am not materialistic, and my home is simple. But when I get a gift, I can literally feel the emotion of the giver when I hold it. Thoughtful gifts given with love are food for an empath, and I keep them close to me. Conversely, a gift given through obligation or by an angry person are quickly removed from my home. Because I can feel them, and I don’t want that in my house. In fact, many empaths shy away from antiques because of turbulent emotions they may carry.

Second example, my grandfather. I never met him; he died when my mom was 8. I never saw a photo of him, and she rarely spoke of him – it was painful. (And being empathic, I didn’t want to cause her pain.) When my mom died, I learned she kept many photos and personal effects of him including a pocket watch. When I first held the pocket watch, I could feel the emotions and the character of the man who owned it. A strong, confident, and forthright man which the obituary I later read confirmed.

Last example, wedding rings. I wear three of them. They are all simple bands inscribed with initials and dates. Mine, my mother’s, and my grandmother’s. Why wear them? Because I can feel the love with which they were purchased and with which they were worn. Who wouldn’t want to keep that hopeful love close?

Some empaths and psychics have developed their gift of “token-object reading” fully. I am attaching a link about psychometry from psychic library.com. Check it out to see where your abilities lie on the spectrum. And as always, appreciate your gift. http://psychiclibrary.com/beyondBooks/psychometry.

Ready as I’ll Ever Be

Sometimes, we may not feel ready for what’s coming our way. But it doesn’t matter. It keeps coming anyway. Life happens. Opportunities come. Heartaches come. Change comes – like it or not – ready or not. Life is an ever evolving story complete with ups and downs and everything in between.

Remember playing hide-n-seek as children? What does the seeker announce after all the kids hide? “Ready or not, here I come….” It is the rare child that is so deeply hidden that does not get found.

Life is like that too. You will get found. You will be called upon. Seekers will come your way. And they wear many different guises. Some will be welcome. (“Yay, a baby!”) Some will be unwelcome. (“Why is this happening to me?”) And some will be simply unexpected. (“Say…what??”)

So what can we do to prepare for the unexpected? The answer is a lot and nothing.

We can show up. We can participate in what is happening (even if we wish it weren’t). We can choose courage over fear (which is much easier said than done). We can remember to breathe, to garner support from our close posse of family and friends, and to get advice from reliable sources. And we can keep moving ahead one step at a time.

Like writer Glennon Doyle, we can say, “I’m not ready, but yes, anyway.” This quote encapsulates what I have felt, and you have likely felt, many times in life. For Doyle, the first “not ready, but yes, anyway” was an unexpected pregnancy. The next “not ready, but yes, anyway” was getting sober. This was followed by a “not ready, but yes, anyway” of writing and being “plunged into things I felt wholly unqualified to do.” But she kept doing them anyway. She kept showing up. Her work got published, and her talks got listened to. And she shares with us, “My mantra is faith and sweat.” (Glennon Doyle in Sept. 2017 issue of O Magazine)

My mantra is “Be Brave,” and I wear it on a bracelet every day. It reminds me to go ahead and put my feet in the water, try new things, and be open to new experiences and people. It also reminds me to have faith in times of despair when attitude and faith are all that I have left.

Because ready or not, here life comes.

Resiliency

Hello, Resiliency. I’m kinda tired. In fact, I’m really tired and worn out. But here you are again beckoning me to come out and play. To take your hand. You wink at me, and tell me that it will be alright. And somehow, I believe you. After all, we have been through a lot together, haven’t we? An awful lot. And I’m tired. I don’t want to walk down that long path again. But you know me. I may sigh or complain. But I will walk with you. Honestly, what choice do I have?

I am not the curl up and give up kind of person. Empaths aren’t. Though emotions, experiences, and memories, (and sometimes health), may knock us off our feet, we rise. We move through it. We move through it all, and we come out the other side. Changed, but not ruined. It’s just that it’s a long journey. It’s a painful journey. And I’m tired. You tell me that things will get better. That people are counting on me. That I will feel better. Little by little. Step by step. That moving forward is my only choice, so why not embrace it?

Okay, I take your hand and off we will go. You tell me that I am not alone. We find healers. We find friends. We tell family the truth about what is going on. We seek out nature. We seek out music. We read. We love our pets. We rally for our children or our spouses. We eat better. We don’t sleep so well (yet). We walk. And we walk. And we walk. And we pray. A lot. And you are right. Little by little, step by step, we realize that we are going to be okay. We won’t be the same, but we will be okay. We were knocked off our feet (again), but we will stand strong again. And I will stay with you, Resiliency, until I make it to the other side. Hand in hand, side by side. You are a force of nature, and I finally realize, that I am too.

Go Ahead: Self-define as an Empath

There is a personal power to be gained in self-identifying as an empath. In fact, it can be a huge shift in how you see yourself and how you see your place in the world. It was for me. Instead of trying to justify your sensitivity, you can begin to see it as your strength. And there is strength in taking a stand – in saying this is who I am, there are others like me, we are valued, and I like being this way.

Learning about empaths was a huge a-ha moment for me. I was well into adulthood before I even heard the word “empath” used to define a type of person. Then the door opened wide….and quickly. Much information was readily available on the internet. But I didn’t need to read a lot to know that I had found my home base. Because I could feel the truth of it.

My personal history, my life choices, and my way of living all made more sense. There was a blueprint of self-definition laid out before me. I felt relief that there were others who lived this way – who were born this way – like me. And I felt a new gratitude for those in my life who appreciated and accepted me and my intensity and my emotion.

I also put to rest the stacks of criticism that I heard over the years that I was too sensitive, too emotional, too intense – and the message that this was a negative way to be. (Even as a small child though, I knew that I could do nothing to change that and that was just me.) And I could now see how I found creative “acceptable” ways to express my emotions outwardly, and why at times I needed to be alone to feel my emotions away from judgment. I could also see the ways that I had learned to protect my heart.

I now embrace my empathic nature. If you are an empath, I hope you too can celebrate it! You are a light in this world. You can feel the truth and emotion of a situation. Yes, it can wear you out, but you can enjoy the intensity and emotion of life to the fullest, and you can share that fullness with others. Don’t hesitate. Self-accept. Self-identify. Turn it up. Shine on.

Oh, You Again

Ready or not, here comes change. Often, not. Change will grab hold of your life and demand your attention. You cannot avoid it. Not even a sidestep. It wants you, and though you may think that you don’t, you need it too.

People say to “embrace change.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t “embrace” it. It is not my dear friend. No kisses for you. Sorry. However, I have learned to recognize change when it comes to greet me. It’s not exactly “Hello Old Friend,” but more of “Oh, it’s You again.” I can shake hands with it as you would a wayward aunt or uncle who kinda knows you. When it draws me close, I can handle it, though reluctantly.

I will give change this – it breeds new experiences. New perspectives. New wisdom. Change makes you think of things that you never had to think about before. Change makes you walk in new shoes and wonder what it has been like for the many others in the many shoes in the same predicament that you are now facing. Change makes you stop in your tracks and examine your life. Sometimes, it literally takes your breath away.

Change can range from the catastrophic to glorious and everything in between. Death, divorce, abuse, accident, illness. Birth, marriage, romance, glory, renewed health. Jobs, moves. And of course, love. Those are some big ones that you may have met. There are more with each and every one personal to you. Personal to the core.

Change touches our hearts first. My heart reacts with “No, no, NO” or Yes, yes, YES.” I am not complacent when it comes to change. I feel it deeply, and it knocks me off my feet. For hours. Or days. Or weeks. What helps me at these times is to gather support from my trusted posse and to gather as much knowledge as I can from whatever sources are available. Often the greatest help is learning about others who have been through the same experiences. How did they survive? How will you?

And then you decide the next steps. Adjust your attitude. Adjust your thinking. Adjust your life. Reflect. Pray. Add or subtract to your daily routine. Stretch toward regaining wholeness. Recognize your own true light again, and know that it still burns.

Curiosity, Wonder, and Connection

Filled with curiosity. That has always been one of my defining characteristics. I can never remember not being curious. Especially about people. About the human condition and about our place in the world. Which makes sense. Empaths will sense emotion intuitively and try to come to an understanding of how that emotion gets played out in the world.

Music has been one of my ways to feel and feed my emotional curiosity. Through listening to music, we can connect with stories of those who we wouldn’t meet in our daily lives but with whom we may share a profound connection. Lyrics accompanied  by instrumental emotion tell the story of us. Sometimes on a small, personal stage.

“I’ve felt you coming girl, as you drew near
I knew you’d find me, cause I longed you here
Are you my desitiny? Is this how you’ll appear?”

Sometimes on a grander one.

“Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built
Out of longing great wonders have been willed”                                                                                                   

Song comes from my favorite well of emotion in music, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Song is “Are You the One That I’ve Been Waiting For?”

I find that the Arts – music, books, films, shows, art – open our hearts to others and explain what drives people emotionally under such a wide range of situations. That’s why these realms provide catharsis for us. Again and again.

The Arts make us wonder about people. Nature makes us wonder about how we are connected in the bigger picture. The beauty and awe that nature emotes from us is healing to our souls. Nature is where our senses and emotions collide. Nature photography combines art with nature. A photograph shows us things we may not otherwise have seen and may make us feel things that we would not otherwise have felt. Which leads us to wonder even more…

I will close with a quote about empaths from the Power of Positivity website from the post “6 Things An Empath Does Differently.”

“THEY LOOK AT THE WORLD WITH WONDER AND CURIOSITY.

Empathic people are learners by nature. They maintain their sense of wonder and curiosity from childhood that most of us grow out of when we become adults. They are naturally inquisitive and ask questions without judgment purely to learn and feel the experiences of others.”