Know your gifts – Empathy, Empaths, & Highly Sensitive Women

Know your gifts – Empathy, Empaths, & Highly Sensitive Women

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.” 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.

Empathy-definition Empath

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.


Empath Empathy

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.



Book Review: Alphabet vs the Goddess

Book Review: Alphabet vs the Goddess

Book Review – Definitely recommended. “The Alphabet vs The Goddess – Conflict of Word and Image” by Leonard Shlain with a very provocative historical thesis – that with the introduction of alphabetic writing (left brain masculine) and the moving away from pictorial writing (right brain feminine), we moved to a writing style, the very basis of our culture, that “subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook… giving cultures, especially in the west, a strong masculine thrust.”

What a slap in the face to a woman who loves to read and write! Well there is nothing wrong with being in the more organized left side of the brain. Words and knowledge need a way to be conveyed and it is true that if you use speech or a film to do it, then you have more of an influence of the right creative side of the brain, but there are limits as to how much you can convey.

Also there are limits on how much one can take in. The written word, I believe, allows us to ponder, question, ‘sit with’ information at our own pace. Knowledge comes in many layers at once and we absorb it at the level we are currently in so being able to engage with written words has its’ advantages. The words can be about the feminine, for it was the book “The Feminine Mystique” that sparked a huge women’s movement. And the book “Silent Spring” that sparked the whole ecological earth movement. The written word can be preserved, it can be shared, it can be read again and again. It is a very important evolutionary development.

“Most people believe that the benefits that have accrued to women are due primarily to a high level of education among the populace. As Levi Strauss stated – ‘There is one fact that can be established: the only phenomenon which, always and in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing … is the establishment of hierarchical societies, consisting of masters and slaves, and where one part of the population is made to work for the other part.’ Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word.” Shlain

Reading is a linear process and my inability to grasp how life would be without it probably supports his thesis. I know that many things are learned through experience and that is often the greatest teacher, but without the written word I wouldn’t know the great philosophers. Perhaps it is not that the written word has ‘diminished women’s power’ but that our over emphasis on the written word has done that. And as we move from the written word to TV, to film, to gaming, to internet with all the pictorial ways of communicating information, things will balance out. Indeed this is what Shlain presents as hope at the end of the book. “Unlike all the scribes of past cultures, men now routinely write using both hands (on computers) instead of only the dominant one… and is, I believe, an unrecognized factor in the diminution of patriarchy.”

He states that as we moved in this direction women started to gain back their power.

Which brings us to a common research question – Does correlation prove causality?

He instead says he ‘appeals to competitive plausibility’.

As I read the book in more depth I will update my review. I find his thesis fascinating and engaging. Though I believe there are several factors that allowed patriarchy to thrive, this may very well be a plausible part of it.


“Reading words is a different process. When the eye scans distinctive individual letters arranged in a certain linear sequence, a word with meaning emerges. The meaning of a sentence, such as the one you are now reading, progresses word by word. Comprehension depends on the sentence’s syntax, the particular horizontal sequence in which its grammatical elements appear…This process occurs at a speed so rapid that it is below awareness…To perceive things such as trees and buildings through images delivered to the eye, the brain uses wholeness, simultaneity, and synthesis. To ferret out the meaning of alphabetic writing, the brain relies instead on sequence, analysis, and abstraction.” Shlain


Goals, Find Someone to Emulate

Goals, Find Someone to Emulate

Check out this amazing video clip of Steve Jobs as he discusses the one thing he thinks will change your perspective of life. He firmly believed in challenging himself, others, and the limits of technology for sure but he also believed in challenging everything around us, including the systems that govern our lives.

We live our lives in complete acceptance of what we see around us without thinking much about it. There’s no shame in that, we all do it. As children we have such a narrow perception of the world, we hardly know anything beyond our home town. We get caught up in decisions about careers, school, money, family… and never think to question how we run our lives.

Years ago I was working in a cubicle in NYC… ehh, not the life for me, but a good life for many many people around me.

One day, because we all took paycuts to help the company through a rough spot, the VP gave me the chance to go anywhere I wanted (within reason) on his time share account. I randomly chose Cabo San Lucas.
Now, a lot of eye opening synchronicities happened there  but for the sake of this post I’ll focus on the most profound and that was….. the fact that there were so many Americans living it up on the beach down there, full time! They were selling timeshares or running restaurants and all I could think was “What the heck am I doing going back to NYC to sit in a cubicle, while these people get to go to the beach every day? This is not fair.”

Up until that point, I had always questioned the absurdity of working all day just to pay for a place to sleep at night, but I had never seen an example of people enjoying their work and being able to take time for themselves (OK NYers do have a more than average, strong, work ethic but still).
When I got back to NYC I paged ahead a year on my desk calendar and drew a large red ? on it. If I was still sitting in this chair when that day came I would be very upset with myself. Unfortunately I was still sitting there, but that big red ? pushed me to quit, pursue writing, move to LA, and grab some of the fun these other people were having.
Sometimes all you need is an example, a role model who already thinks outside of the box….


Who is your role model?
If you don’t have one, FIND ONE!


Victoria Lynn Schmidt