Dr. Judith Orloff describes Empaths as "highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners."
I love my fellow empaths, I also know how challenging it is to stay centred. When you know more than most, you feel out of place, misunderstood and can easily sink into an Empath crisis. So I am sharing some hard-earned lessons of my own, in hopes that fellow empaths embrace themselves.
You are of intrinsic worth, born into, not earned. You sense the best and worse of people. From the liars and cheaters to the authentic and true. You have more information than most, you might be unsure what to make of it. It's difficult knowing others are in pain. Some will criticise what they do not understand, attempt to box it up into mental illness.
As an empath, you will be torn between trying to save the world and saving yourself. You would naturally take on the pain of others and feel emptied out. You also realise that by being around authentic people, you are energised and centred.
The phrase, "everything starts from self" would feel too self-centred at a stage in your life when you haven't achieved the insight required to practice guiltless self-care. If you have been a victim of abuse, the concept of self-care will feel even more foreign to you. Not just is it necessary, it is only by doing so that you grow into your full potential as an empath and as a person. This can be achieved via exercise, meditation, reading, art, praying and much more. One of the biggest challenges of self-care is learning how to draw boundaries.
Everyone will want a piece of you. It's a boon which can quickly become a bane. I use to give out all my energy and attempt to self-care privately. This only worked to an extent, it didn't allow me to grow into my full potential. You would have to protect your heart fiercely and only be around like-minded people. Emotional vampires will suck the energy out of you and think nothing of it. Being around toxic people is attempting to build a house and getting the bricks thrown at you. You will find that simply by doing you, you will attract self-centred people and narcissists by the boatload. It makes sense because they want unbalanced relationships and disempowered empaths provide it. They mistake kindness for weakness when it isn't so for an empowered empath, it is a well-considered deliberate choice in this instance. In the past, when I didn't trust my intuition and had low self-worth, I was less capable of fending them off. Now, by staying centred and practicing self-care, I am able to spot them quickly and save myself the pain of unbalanced relationships.
My intuition was and is 100% accurate, if you are currently doubting yourself, ask yourself when your intuition has saved you. It's by not trusting our instincts that hurt us. You will see what I mean. Sincere people would never ask you to compromise your values for their sake, nor will you feel constantly exhausted around them. There is a balance of give and take. A quick way to figure out if someone is compatible is to authentically disagree with them and gauge what is their reaction. You can't receive what you do not ask for.
When in doubt, tune in and ask questions to clarify, if the reply is constantly how you would never phrase it, sayonara, goodbye. Be fearless in drawing boundaries, like-minded people will respect it. As for the rest, the faster you drop them, the better. You deserve better.
Finding Your Purpose
Part of the journey of being an empath is wondering why are we blessed with these gifts? It makes us especially good listeners with the want to heal others. The beauty of a purpose is that it naturally taps into our authentic selves, although that doesn't mean we are released from the usual work challenges, it does mean that it brings out the best in us.
It has as much to do with the what as it is with the how. For empaths, the feeling is present, the calling to heal is quite another thing. Healing via showing empathy is a skill. As for the how, it will be in a way that doesn't compromise your well-being but provides contentment instead. In my search for purpose, I was a volunteer and worked in the social service sector for the last 12 years. What I learned is that the people who don't go over to the dark side (become jaded and distrustful) as I call it, are the ones who are realistic about the brokenness of the world, the ones who don't let their idealism get the better of them. The ones who are most well-placed are those who recognise their own talents, which might not by itself seem in direct service to others (for example writing for me) but combined with the want to serve can contribute to the world.
An Empowered Empath
Being able to sense the needs of others truly is a gift. It takes a while to grow into your intuition and owing it fully, when you do, you are unstoppable. When you need to recharge, take it. You are not required simply by the nature of being an empath to live up to people's expectations that you rise above the occasion all the time. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for the moments of follies, that only makes you more human. You are a person on a journey of discovery with the same societal pressures. You are perfectly imperfect, striving for the best version of you is all you can ask for.
Related - Love Letter To An Empath
All the goodness you put out into the world, will come back to you. Sometimes not from the same person, sometimes not in the same situation, you will be sent light bearers when you least expect it and when you need it. As you shine a light for others, others shine the light for many more. You are valued, you are loved, you are you and that is the best thing ever.
Find Dr. Judith Orloff here.
Find Hotokebuchi Shizuko's 残像 here.