Types of Empathy
Many are asking me, how I distinguish between an Empath, a Healer, an Indigo and a Seer – lenses that we are getting ready to pick up and look through in a new program called Spiritual Spy Glass, launching next week. This post is the first of a series of four on the nuances of these sensitivities, these qualities at an intuitive level as we explore types of empathy.
What’s the difference between being empathic on behalf of someone and being psychically empathic? The difference is one of consciously feeling what someone is going through and less consciously feeling what someone is going through. When we demonstrate empathy, say, for a friend going through a challenging time, we move ourselves into their shoes as best we can. We consciously ‘feel’ what it must feel like to be going through their situation. We empathize with how it must feel to get news of a sick relative, lose a job, etc. Here is a great article on how to cultivate more empathy of the non-intuitive type:
When we are experiencing life as an Empath, it is far more pervasive and ill-defined.
The vast majority of people who are Empaths are walking around unknowingly. My hope is that this post will shed some much needed light on how it is that we feel things from others and more importantly, what we can do to lessen its ill-effects on our being and health.
I’ll refer to intuitive/psychic empathy as Empathy, from here on out. Empathy is genetic, rooted in our DNA and in our brains. It if often heightened by out-of-body (OOB) and near-death-experiences (NDEs) and it was in my case at the age of 7 when I was hit by a car. Empathy can be augmented and shut down with traumatic events whether objectively traumatic (sexual abuse, torture, etc.) or perceptively traumatic. Many people, particularly Empaths, may witness or experience something that feels very traumatic to them but not to others. A classic example: The old adage that children should be seen and not heard and children hearing and feeling this from elders.
Empathy is the spongiest of the intuitive skills as Empaths seem to absorb everyone’s feelings. There are varying degrees of this. Some people may experience it pervasively and others maybe only with certain people. Empaths vary in degrees by their levels of self-awareness and empowerment. If you experience any of the following situations/scenarios – you are empathic–you are an Empath. The beauty of this sensitivity – consider yourself as having a more complete communication package! The benefits to becoming empowered through your Empathy is that you’ll feel more balanced in how you relate to people and with how you walk through your life.
I’ll follow up these scenarios with some critical coping skills.
- Become tired or fatigued after being in public places – especially malls, concerts, sporting events.
- Sense someone’s emotions, contrary to what they are expressing. This can cause great self-doubt, especially in children. Example: a teacher appears to like your child and treat him fairly. He feels the judgment and disdain from the teacher and ‘knows’ otherwise.
- Find that eople gravitate towards opening up to you. Strangers may tell you their secrets on the subway!
- Have people tell you they feel better when they are in your presence. You’ve been called nurturing, compassionate, caring, a great listener, etc.
- Either prefer solitary time and/or identify with feeling better when you can get some time alone to recharge.
- Dislike violent or loud music, harsh voices, gory and violent tv and movies bother you – you avoid them.
- Sense energies in places and with things – you may be either drawn to old objects for their energies or avoid them for the same reason, preferring new objects with no emotions attached to them.
- Turn to food, drugs & alcohol as a way of dulling/numbing out all that you feel and sense from your over-stimulating world.
- Experience swift mood shifts and/or have been called moody. You may have the awareness that these feelings don’t ‘feel’ like they are yours.
- Have experienced physical symptoms of another – their stomach ache, headache, etc – empathetic/sympathetic pains.
Not only is this intuitive skill of Empathy the spongiest, it can be the weightiest and most responsibility-laden of them all. It means a lifelong process of coping and self-care. It means owning your emotions and discerning those of others – essentially a deep call to self awareness.
Suggested Coping Skills:
- Build an awareness of your emotions. If you’ve historically bottled things up you may be harming yourself with this approach. Find a therapist who aligns with Energy Psychology concepts. (recently recognized by the APA as a credible sub-category of practice, 2012)
- Talk things out with a therapist, counselor, confidante or trusted friend and/or find a group of like-feeling/like minded people who are interested in discussing what life is like as an Empath.
- Give yourself breathing room. Deep breathing is a fast way to clear your head and revitalize.
- Stop and get grounded. For grounding suggestions go here: http://wp.me/p2vm4l-6A
- Cultivate mindfulness in your approach to life. Bring simplicity and full presence to all that you do.
- Meditate! http://wp.me/p2vm4l-6A
- Get out into nature, nature soothes. Remind yourself of nature’s simple beauty, our connectedness to one another and just how good it feels to put your feet on the ground or in that stream.
- Bathe in Epsom salts or shower with the intention of releasing all that you may be feeling that is not yours and not serving You.
- Check in with your aware self – Is what I’m feeling mine or tied to a situation in my life? If not – send it back to where it came from with love and awareness. This simple thought process can save you much grief and pain! When we are going through personally painful situations, others’ emotions can exacerbate and exaggerate ours. Be gentle with yourself.
One of the most important takeaways from this is that being an Empath can be complex.
You may be so accustomed to feeling other peoples’ emotions that your own may feel foreign or confusing. As an Empath, it may feel much easier to sense the emotions of others and mistake them as our own. This is why becoming aware, working with a counselor skilled in intuition, taking deep responsibility for your own well-being are critical.
I’ll offer you one metaphysical coping skill too:
Many times you may be advised to employ a ‘white light of protection and shielding’. This is great advice! It’s as simple as imagining yourself in an egg-shaped bubble of white, healing and protecting light. Or placing that in your mind’s eye or with positive intention around your home, your car, your family. As an Empath, we are naturally connected to the hearts of others. This is not a weakness and we can learn responsibly how to sense others’ feelings without completely shielding from it.
This is why I would suggest either a pink light or a lavender light as a sensing filter. Pink light is one of love and lavender light for me is one of higher knowing. If you employ either the intention and or the visuals of these lights, as filters vs. shields, you may feel more balanced and able to stay in the love end of the fear-love spectrum vs. the fear end.
As an Empath, you were born with these skills for a reason.
Embrace the empowerment that is inherent in this gift and let me know if I can support you in any way.
Feel free to tune in on 3/31/14 at 8pm EST for a free webinar entitled, Journey of The Empath. Click here to register for this free event: http://eepurl.com/QuXfL
Disclaimer: I am neither a medical professional nor a licensed mental health counselor. If you are experiencing problems with your emotions please consult a medical, mental health or holistic practitioner attuned to Intuition and energy psychology. Diagnosis by written content on the internet is inadvisable.