It’s always a bit challenging to be empathic. Without tools for how to manage your abilities it can be overwhelming to say the least. Empaths feel other people’s emotions inside their own body, as though it was happening to them.
Since 2016 I’ve been teaching empaths in my Empath Intuition University (EIU) programhow to control and manage their own abilities; how to work with their sensitivities instead of against them—how to discover who they are and understand that, how to gain the experience that being empathic is actually useful and a gift. But lately, in my EIU I’ve been noticing a couple of challenges that this particular time period is holding for many empaths. They are caused by two things: the amount of time that we are all home without a lot of contact with people outside of our families and the strong intense experience of the collective. I’m going to address the latter experience and some solutions in another article—so stay tuned. Today I want to focus on the home with family challenge.
We are at home. It may seem like this wouldn’t pose a lot of challenges for an empath. And while it is certainly true that I heard many empaths rejoicing in this when it first happened– it definitely provides its own challenges. For one you are intensely embroiled in the emotions of your own family. Like you can’t get away from them! 😉 And during a pandemic, one that also is lasting a long time, it those emotions can be intense and all over the place. (See my article here on pandemic emotional fatigueand how to combat it.)
For my student’s, all this at-home-with-the-family sometimes presents the challenge of feeling as though they don’t have as much practice time with their tools as they would during another year. For example, they are not going to work and interacting with their co-workers face to face, or doing in-person meetings or parties; as such they feel they may not be putting their energy clearing and boundary tools into place as much right now as they would be in other times. Or at least it feels that way for some of them when they aren’t leaving home. I’m going to share with you a work around that came up in my Empath class recently.
From my perspective being at home with your family can provide ample practicing ground! For an empath one large part of the work in managing your sensitivities is getting acquainted with your empathic ability and understanding that everything you feel in your skin doesn’t necessarily belong to you.
I still vividly remember an experience I had around 15 years ago. I was standing in the pet store, waiting by the register to purchase a bag of kibble for my cats when another woman walked through the door and straight toward the register. She had a big cloud of angry/frustrated energy around her. I couldn’t actually see it; but I could feel it. Though she hadn’t yet said anything her emotion was LOUD to me. It was as if she had walked in the door and shout growled, “I’m MAD!” As she began moving toward where I stood at the register I had this luminous yet tiny thought, “That’s her. Not me…. I’m fine actually. That’s her energy.” In that moment my energy was crystal clear to me and so was hers. Before they merged, this thought and repeating it to myself while she stood there interacting with the woman behind the counter allowed me to keep them separate. It allowed me not to download her emotion and suddenly feel as though I felt mad or frustrated. Being able to feel my energy so clearly was likely a product of the tools I was teaching myself to use at that time in my life, the same tools I teach my students now, (you can discover some of them here by listening to some of my favorite radio/podcast interviews) and the large amount of time I was then spending alone.
If you are not empathic this may just sound like a no-brainer—“Duh!” you might say in your head, of course that is her and not you. For an empath, having the sensation that you can differentiate another’s emotions (before you suck them up) and also not take on their sensations feels like this clouds parting, light streaming down on you, chorus of angels, “Ahhhhhhhh!” moment.
The memory is so prominent, that now when I look back on it I wonder if it was the first time I had had this experience: this ability to immediately differentiate and NOT take on the burden. It may have been the first time I was ever consciously aware of an intense emotion that was originating in another person and successfully stopped it from entering my being. I’m not sure. I was thinking of it recently though when I was talking to one of my current students about how she could get adept at differentiating even while being at home with her family.
I suggested this dance to her. Actually, it felt more like practicing a tennis match. It went like this—practice feeling and experiencing yourself, then bouncing your awareness to the other person in the room, especially when they are feeling something intense that doesn’t belong to you. In that moment you say to yourself “That is their energy.” Taking your attention back and for the between yourself and them you volley with the recognition and even the words in your mind, “This is me…. That is them… This is me… That is them.” Again, for the non-empathic person this may seem like nothing. If you are reading this far you’re likely an empath and so you can imagine how powerful it would be to be able to stand in a room with someone (a family member especially) experiencing an intense emotion and still stay completely connected to your own sensations and feelings without taking it on. For the empath just beginning to understand their ability, even just knowing and practicing knowing the difference between your energy and another’s can be a powerful tool and understanding.
When I was in college I spent my entire junior year studying in France. My best friend at the time was a French woman—another student at Université. When we met, her boyfriend who was English was away in England for several months. She and I always only spoke French together. When her boyfriend returned I discovered that he spoke English to her and her in response to him. While he could understand French his language wasn’t good enough to speak it. Since she was keen to practice and speak English it worked well for them. I remember standing in their apartment one day upon his return having a conversation. When he spoke it was in English. When she spoke to me it was in French. My brain was completely scrambled by the exchange. I couldn’t think of ANY WORDS in ANY LANGUAGE!
Time went on and I got used to speaking in both languages with them. I remember one night when we were all out at a restaurant together when I realized my success. My girlfriend, Morella, and I continued to only ever speak French to one another. In the conversation if I was responding to her boyfriend or something he said in English I would use that language. Even within the same conversation (remember he understood French but didn’t speak it well) if Morella had spoken I would respond in French. What at first felt like a giant leap for my brain and abilities became something easy. With practice I was able to move back and forth between the two languages with ease.
I thought of this recently when I was discussing with my student this tennis match technique of getting accustomed to being in the presence of someone else’s energy without picking it up. It seemed similar to this. With practice, the empath is able to maintain a differentiation between another’s energy and their own. The first step is recognizing, and getting fluent with the fact that there ARE two (or more, depending) different energies in the room and that they don’t have to meld with your own. It’s sort of like having one conversation in two languages. It may take a little practice, but you can arrive.
“That is him/her…. This is me. How do I feel?… That is him/her… This is me. How do I feel?” is an internal dialogue that can help you reach that. It’s your empath tennis volley!
Soon, I’ll be discussing the other unique challenge to this time: the experience of the large amounts of intense collective emotions moving through the world. In the meantime, “Love/Love.” That’s tennis language for the score you start with at the beginning of the match.
P.S. Empaths, join me for my monthly “Understanding Your Empathic Ability” workshop, hosted virtually by East West Bookshop in Seattle. Remember when we used to meet in person!? Every 2nd Tuesday of the month I would offer my “Understanding Your Empathic Ability” to those in Seattle. Well, guess what!? We’re still meeting– only virtually. That means that you can join us wherever you are! Here are the details on the next one: When: February 9th, 2021 Time: 7-8:30 PM PST Click here for more details and to register.
P.P.S.You can sign up here to stay current with my blogs and class offerings and to ensure you don’t miss my next blog on resolving other pandemic empath challenges. My next Empath Intuition University starts in March!
Aimée Cartier is a psychic, author of the book, “Getting Answers: Using Your Intuition to Discover Your Best Life” and the founder of Intuition University and Empath Intuition University. She teaches empaths who are overwhelmed and sometimes debilitated by their abilities or who have a hard time discovering themselves because of their constant sensitivity to others. Through a four or seven-month program offered twice per year she teaches empaths how to understand their abilities so they can work with their sensitivities (and not against them), how to get and stay connected to their own power, and ultimately how to use their empathic gift to help themselves and others. She does readings and sees clients in person and over the phone from her office on Vashon Island. More about her readings, books, intuition and empath classes, and events can be found at www.AimeeCartier.com.