Empath: Highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. – Dr. Judith Orloff
I have always been a very empathic person, so much so that I actually can feel the energy coming off of others be it happiness, sadness, or anger. The problem with being an Empath is that we so often take on the energy that others are putting out and take them on as our own.
So many times I can recall thinking a friend was angry with me and feeling horrible but unsure what I did to upset them. It wasn’t until I learnt about what it meant to be an Empath that everything made sense. I actually hadn’t done anything to upset anyone but was simply picking up on the energy that friend was putting off from their day or whatever was happening in their lives that the time.
Being in tune to the energy of others can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because what a gift it is to truly be able to relate and empathize with others. I find that it really causes Empaths to be very authentic and genuine people as they are very connected to their feelings. Empaths care deeply about others often finding themselves in situations where they are consoling a complete stranger who happened to cross their path. They then to be approachable and send out a compassionate energy that draw others to them.
The curse unfortunately comes from not knowing how to manage the constant flow and often overflow of emotion. I know for myself I have reached a point where I no longer can watch the evening news because the suffering of others is extremely upsetting for me. I absorb the energy of tragedy, suffering, and grief like a sponge and carry it with me. I can recall a time when I heard a story about a family who had lost a young child and I was so upset and could feel the pain of the loss, while my husband made a comment about it being a tragic story and then he carried on to talk about a rugby game score from earlier in the day. I remember being so angry at him! How could he just move on to sports in an instant and not feel the sharp and raw pain that came in the energy of this story of that sweet lost child.
One of the most helpful things I finally learnt after years of trying to navigate my life as an Empath was that the vast majority of people you will encounter can not relate to the level of emotion you pick up on. It certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t feel as deeply as you do on a regular basis. You just need to be aware to cut them some slack and not feel angry when they don’t understand exactly where you’re coming from.
Another issue that most Empaths have is that they feel like they have to accept emotion that is intended for them, thus at times taking on unwanted negativity. Of course in all of our lives there will be times when someone is less than happy with us, I mean we can’t please everyone all of the time right? But taking on unnecessary negativity or making more of the negative energy than was intended can really mess with our internal balance and harmony.
I really struggled with this and would often take what may have been intended as a small amount of frustration toward me and turn it into a massive amount of stress and worry. I would torture myself and carry the anger or frustration given to me making it bigger and bigger as I dwelled on it and allowed it to grow. The more I thought about it the worse I felt which is really only feeding the negativity until I would become physically ill. It’s amazing what stress can do to your body, it isn’t good!
I came across the most incredible little story that was honestly life changing for me! It doesn’t matter if you’re an Empath or not the lesson in this story is beyond helpful to everyone at some point in their lives. I love the message and found it extremely valuable which is exactly why I want to share the story with you. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
Long ago the Buddha spent much of his time traveling from community to community spreading his message and teaching anyone who would listen about the path to happiness and enlightenment. Great crowds would gather to listen to him speak and to be in his peaceful presence.
One day Buddha came to a small village he had never visited before. Many of the towns folk has heard from travellers of the Buddha and were eager to hear his message and learn his wisdom. A large group gathered to hear him speak creating quite a stir in the community.
One man, a passionate farmer came across the crowd and was upset by the large group that had formed. He could not see what the excitement was about and he felt angry that so many people had gathered to hear one man speak. What was so special about the Buddha anyway?
As Buddha began to speak the man started to shout and make a scene, telling the Buddha to stop talking and leave immediately. The group watch in wonder as Buddha simply allowed the man to carry on and make a scene.
Finally the Buddha spoke “Why are you so angry?” he asked, the man continued to shout and tell Buddha to leave ignoring the question. “Let me ask you one question” Buddha said to the man, finally the man was quiet and let Buddha speak, he asked “If you give me a gift and I reject it who’s gift does it then become?”. The man answered “Mine of course!”, Buddha nodded and then asked “Then, if you give me anger and I reject it who’s anger does it then become?”. The man was astounded as he realized that buddha had rejected his anger and maintained his peaceful state. It was only the man who was angry and he understood that he was in fact the only one who was affected by his anger.
So you can see that you do not always have to accept the anger or any type of emotion that is presented to you. I had always taken the full brunt of any anger that came my way and in turn sometimes would try to give my own anger back only to make the situation far worse.
Sometime we need to remember that it isn’t our burden to carry the baggage of others even when as an Empath it may feel natural to do so. This was a very bad habit of mine that had caused me much grief over the years. There really was no need to put myself into that place but I didn’t understand until I heard that story.
The profound way in which that simple story has changed my life and my interaction with others had been life changing. I’ve even found it to be invaluable when dealing with my teenage daughter who is by nature at this point in her life confrontational. The unnecessary drama and fighting that could so easily be avoided if I had just defused the situation by not accepting the anger projected by her.
I have always been the type who liked to get the last word in and had ended up prolonging an argument for no good reason at all! Why do we do this to ourselves? What do we actually gain in the end? Nothing, other than negativity that will bring us down.
There are so many reasons to be happy!! Lets break the cycle shall we? We can work on rejecting negativity from others in our lives and in turn giving love, happiness, and peace.
In love and light Holly
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