'Happier than Happy'. This was the name of the event I went to Tuesday night where we came up with taglines for who we are at the core. The activity involved us identifying two adjectives and two nouns that resonated with us the most through the process of elimination. We then had to come up with a sentence using these words along with any 'connector' words. After some trial and error and changing some of the conjugation, I came up with 'Joyfully celebrating the freedom of loving.' I gotta say, I was not planning on tearing up in front of strangers, but this hit a nerve. As I started to think about it more and my recent blog on happiness, I realized being happier had a lot to do with discovering my true nature over the past year too, which is that I am an empath through and through.
What is an empath you ask? The proper definition is 'a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.' Now to me, I wouldn't call it paranormal because I have been like this my whole life. I have always sensed other peoples' emotions and energy very easily, but I did not fully understand this for the longest time. Anything from thinking of someone and all of a sudden they call or text me, to walking in a room and feeling the woman's grief across from me. These things are even stronger with people I'm very close to and hangout with regularly. I also had and have a lot of déjà vu. I always chalked these things up to a weird coincidence, but low and behold I came across a similar story and it changed my life. After some interesting relationships in my past and feeling like I lost who I was, I realized it was much more than sensing things, it was that I was taking on the emotions of people around me and pleasing them. I naturally do not like anyone to feel uncomfortable or upset so I took this pretty deep. I also would feel selfish or as if something was wrong with me if my own emotions came into play at all, so my voice got smothered even more. If I felt tension between a friend and I, I would immediately apologize for nothing because the thick air between us was too much to handle, causing me anxiety. Reflecting back on this quality of life, I realized that I became so concerned about others around me and making them happy, I gave up my own happiness in the process. This then caused me to see so many things as a stress because deep down I was unhappy, having no solution, not to mention people get used to your giving ways and unknowingly take.
As a sensitive empath, you can easily end up internalizing peoples’ reactions and feeling victimized since you do not understand how you are different. The expectations you put on people to be just as loyal, loving and giving as you, cause you to end up resenting them because they do not respond in the same way. However, it’s really one big misunderstanding. We’re a special type of people, and the majority do not feel as deeply as we do which can cause a lot of frustration in relationships. The hurt and disappointment associated with the resentment ended up chipping away at my heart while creating a habit of pushing people away. It also presented itself in judgement because of how I perceived the situations. Feelings of shame also became apparent due to all the misunderstandings and therefore feeling like you’re not good enough. If you are familiar with Brene Brown’s work, she is a shame expert and claims it is what leads to perfectionism (check out this quick video). When you want to feel loved and accepted by others, yet have a hard time relating and never seem to measure up, now is it not only stressful, you feel isolated, alone, depressed and lost.
How might you know if you are an empath? There's a lot more to it than sensing energies. Here’s a list of my own research and experience in addition to above. Check out this article for even more!
- Feel really tired all the time, especially around big crowds
- People tell you all their problems
- Great listener
- Indecisive when it comes to making plans; Go with the flow because you are used to doing what other people want
- Asking people what’s wrong constantly because you know there’s something going on even if they’re not ready to talk about it
- Have a terrible poker face and you wear your heart on sleeve
- You absorb others expressions, habits, hobbies
- Refuse to accept help or to try to control everything due to lack of trust and isolation
- Music or movies feel as if they happened to you
- Strong creative streak
- Always helping others even when you are resistant to it
- Free spirit
- Need alone time frequently to process emotions and feel reenergized
- Unexplained physical pain especially when concealing emotions; sometimes even getting sick easily
So where do you go from here if you are an empath? How do you balance this in your life and embrace it versus continuing on with the same habits? First, have compassion for yourself. You can’t know something if you haven’t been introduced to it to begin with. Except your previous battles as part of your journey and think back as to what they taught you because there is good that comes out of all situations. Understand the lessons you have learned are going to propel you in the right direction. Being an empath is actually a beautiful, powerful thing! It’s the balance of learning to harness that power and change it for your future. Feeling emotions deeply can be tough, but at the same time there’s a richness which many people won’t get an opportunity to experience their entire lives. Empaths have also been linked to being more in tune with their physical bodies, and connecting on a spiritual level.
When you start to make these changes and detox these habits that no longer benefit your health, you can go through hard times due to losing relationships or a changing environment. This is not a bad thing. Stand your ground because this is an evolution of taking your life back and creating what you need to thrive. People that are used to you giving will be turned away due to not getting what they want anymore. You should not feel guilty for this and realize it’s not selfish to allow yourself what you want. It’s just different than what you are used to as a nurturing person-you are nurturing yourself instead which is essential in having successful relationships in the future. It’s okay to mourn lost relationships, but understand that true friends and loved ones will stand by your side regardless. Say ‘no’ to things you don’t want to do, speak your mind, do those creative activities and stop talking yourself out of the things you love. Trust your gut and your heart because you’re right more times than you give yourself credit for, and surround yourself with other empaths. Accountability partners are always helpful! Remember that sometimes the emotions you feel are not yours, so set boundaries accordingly to feel in control of your space.
By taking these actions you can get in touch with your soul and serve your life purpose. You’ll notice once you get past this phase of releasing any negativity or heavy emotions in your life, the world will open up to you and become your playground again. Check out my blogs on happiness and judgement too in order to add to your experience. I hope you can also ‘joyfully celebrate the freedom of loving’, because although not everyone may return it the way you want them to, accepting this and loving with no inhibitions will allow you to be your authentic, liberated self.