I've always been a sensitive person. As a child, I was called a crybaby, too sensitive, too fragile for this world, by teachers and some of my friend's parents. Other kids' energy would make me cry, without them even saying a word. Seeing a bird get picked on by another, bigger bird would ruin my whole day. Even Kaleo, back before we were married would say to me, "Babe you have to try and be stronger. Don't let the world get to you so deeply.". I always knew I was a little different, that I felt just a little
What I didn't know, was that this is completely normal. I am an Empath.
Huh, okay. So there is a word for it. There are others like me, and I don't have to feel like such a weirdo... But what does it even mean? A few traits that Empaths share are:
- Being overwhelmed in public places: I used to struggle deeply just being in crowds. I would hold on to Kaleo's hand, put my head down with my heart pounding, and pretend that I was having fun. It wasn't until years later that I was able to explain to him how much I was affected by all the energy around me. I was literally, taking it all in as my own.
- Knowing: Empaths just know things. I don't know how else to explain it, but the more attuned the person, the more they just know.
- They take on other people feelings and energy as their own: It's different than being sympathetic, where you feel sorry for someone. Empaths will actually feel the emotion like it was their very own. This is a big one. It can be very heavy at times. I have even felt nauseous and physically sick when I wasn't aware of how to protect myself from someone who was experiencing a lot of grief.
- Fatigue: It is extremely draining feeling all of the feelings for everyone, all the time.
- Digestive issues and weight gain around the abdomen: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s often known as the seat of emotions. This is where Empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the digestive system and actually cause weight gain. It has been said that the empath, on a deeper level, may gain a bit of weight there as a layer of protection from negative energies. Great, thanks.
- Needs solitude: an Empath craves alone time, away from other's energy. Time for them to recharge and not feel anything else from the outside world.
Of course, there are some good qualities too! Empaths are very good listeners, free spirits who love adventure and travel, love animals and nature, and are usually very creative beings.
When I found out that I wasn't alone, I was relieved. I wasn't just this strange creature who couldn't explain anything any more. I felt like, okay, there are things I can do to be able to live like this. It's really no big deal. I found out that I had friends who were also Empaths. No WONDER all we do when we get together is cry! lol
Once I did my research and realized what it was, it took all the power away from it. I found out how to protect myself from energy, and how to decipher and process feelings that weren't my own. That was a big one. Oh, you mean I don't have to be sad right now because it's not my own emotion?? Awesome!
When I became a Reiki Master, I came to understand energy even more. I learned how to visualize a shield of protective energy around me so that I wouldn't be susceptible to taking anything on. I now use this shield when I go into crowds, and it has changed my world. Kaleo even sometimes has to remind me before we head into a crowded concert or event to do my protection barrier because I don't get the old anxiety I used to get, and I forget. It has lost its power. Not to say that I'm not as sensitive, but I just don't worry about it anymore.
Besides sheilding, as an Empath it's important to trust yourself. Trust that your emotions are valid and important. But also know which emotions are YOURS and which are from others. Once you can make that determination, it's easier to let go of what isn't yours.
Kaleo and I are finishing up the last season of Vikings, and when I first saw Lagertha, the shield maiden yell "Sheild Wall!" in battle, we laughed our asses off. "Babe, that's it! That's what I'm going to visualize the next time you take me to the Carlsbad Fair!"
I've become One with who I am, and with that,
I feel empowered instead of burdened.