It’s important for women to understand what being an empath, or a highly sensitive person, means because there are so many of us now and so few who understand our own skills. If you don’t understand it you can assume something is wrong with you, instead of knowing you are gifted. It is also important for women to understand this because many children are being born with these gifts and it helps when the mother understands what her child is going through and can help the child to embrace it and use it.
If you have ever walked into a room and felt like you could ‘cut the tension with a knife’ you know a little bit about what an empath feels like when entering any type of new surroundings – tension or not. Mothers can easily know this experience in the way they relate to their child for example. They will often feel and know what their child needs or if their child is in danger without knowing how to explain it. For several years after a child is born they may have this connection to varying degrees. This is an example of being an empath, a connection that is a part of who you are whether you try to have it or not. It is similar to being in oneness with everything.
Around 4% of the population are empaths and another 21% are highly sensitive. Of course the majority of these people are female. (These % are educated guesses.) On the flip side it’s tough for the other 75% of the population to understand what empaths are and how to relate to them; but information, books, & classes are now abundant as the % starts to shift. More of us will become empaths or at least highly sensitive. This is a good thing. The world needs people who are deeply compassionate and able to tune into their surroundings. People who can help make the world a kinder, calmer, peaceful place.
Books on empathy have been on the NYT list for several years now which is lovely to see, it means people are interested in this topic. You don’t have to feel like you have to hide who you are.
Derived from the Greek “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling), empathy is being in feeling with another being. “There are many definitions for empathy which encompass a broad range of emotional states. Three types of empathy may exist: cognitive empathy, affective empathy, and somatic empathy.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/empathy Being an Empath is having this skill as an inborn trait.
Being an Empath vs Having Empathy vs Being Highly Sensitive:
Empaths can be very intuitive and can know things others do not know. All of their senses are active, including their auric sense, which allows them to pick up on things most don’t notice. They can tune into everything in their surroundings, sometimes distance doesn’t matter, they can pick up on things miles away. Empaths, have more extrasensory perception and are often considered to have Clairsentience, which means clear sensing to a degree of psychic ability. But they often don’t pick up on specific facts, mostly knowingness and feelings.
Having empathy on the other hand, is a skill one learns in order to show compassion toward others. Anyone can learn to show empathy, it often takes some training in being present and listening well.
There are also those who are highly sensitive.“ A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” Elaine Arron High sensitive people are in tune to their immediate surroundings, not at a distance, and don’t have knowingness. They are tuning into their environment and may get overwhelmed by it. They sure know when something is just not right.
To handle empathy – Learn to establish boundaries. While you can’t turn empathy off or keep it away, you can learn to be more in your self. You have to feel yourself on the earth and inside your own body. You do this through getting grounded. There are many energetic techniques that help with this, like seeing your legs merge deep into the earth like a tree until you feel a connection.
You can also do core work in yoga, poses like plank and side plank really engage the core and pull you into your center. Anything that really engages the core stomach muscles will help a great deal.
Also deep breathing can bring you out of connecting too much with others and build up your personal energy and aura to make you stronger, giving you more control over when and how you feel an empathic connection. There are many places to learn breath techniques but go slow they can be very powerful. You can let go of a lot of energy from others when doing some advanced breath work, which is great but best to do with an instructor.
Acupressure and Chinese meridian therapy can also help to balance your emotions. Strengthening the pericardium meridian is a great start in most cases. It encases the heart and acts as a protector and balancer of our spirit essence. It is our spirit that shows imbalance when we are stressed or panicked.
It’s time to start embracing who you are and seeing sensitivity and empathy as gifts. And helping the children being born with such traits to learn to embrace it and use it to help effect positive change in the world.
A well known empath is Alanis Morissette – here is her video called “Empathy” where people are grateful for her gift of seeing them for who they truly are and vise versa.