I guess you can say that I owe a lot to empathy, this not so little quality that has landed me in as much trouble as it has saved me.
There are many different kinds of empathy and some people are more empathic than others. Being empathic means that you experience another’s reality as if it is your own, or that you are able to have a good sense of what another person is experiencing.
Naturally, being empathic makes for some of the best therapists, healers and coaches. I found my calling through somatic empathy. Because I knew exactly where to touch the pain in people’s body, I was able to become a successful bodyworker and from there on an intuitive healer and chakra reader, but boy, oh boy, empathy can caused havoc too. If you are reading this, I would imagine that you know what I am referring to.
- Have you ever been in a relationship where one day you wake up and wonder why you are living someone else’s life and what the heck happened to your own dreams?
- Do you often have neck pain, to remember that your client/friend/family member was complaining about it just prior?
- Do you often tend to people’s needs, only to find out that know-one even cares to intuit yours?
For the sake of this article, let’s break empathy up into two kinds. Somatic empathy, is the kind of sensitivity that comes in really handy as a healer or massage therapist, or yoga teacher. The word “soma” refers to our physical bodies and with somatic empathy, one can feel in one’s own body, the discomforts and sensations of another.
Emotional empathy is a kind of sensitivity that comes in useful in psychic healing/reading work, talk therapy and coaching. This is where you feel the emotions of what another person is experiencing quite articulately and accurately.
This all sounds good. So where is the danger? The danger is when you are unaware of your level of empathy. The danger is when you confuse things you feel to be your own, when in actuality you feel quite different when you are by yourself. If you are a very empathic person and you keep in good company, then this is a good thing. In the world though, this mostly happens the other way round. So, what to do if you are an empathic person and feel the need to protect yourself?
- Meditate. Stillness meditation is a good way to know what it feels like to be with yourself. It takes about 25 minutes for the mind to settle and to start experiencing itself without the thoughts leading. Without meditation practice, knowing where your thoughts, feelings and emotions ends, and where another’s start is a very, very challenging feat.
- Visualize. Visualization practice is like setting a powerful intention. Allow yourself to see your favorite color of energy bubble around you. Notice how only loving thoughts can come through to you, and anything else’s vibration doesn’t allow itself to access the layers of your bubble. You may still be susceptible to the feelings and emotions of those around you, but your vibration of love won’t allow yourself to be affected negatively.
- Use it as an opportunity to grow. Even if we are incredibly empathic and we feel negative sensations and emotions we believe to pick up from those around us, we are still the ones experiencing it. What you are experiencing, becomes your own and thus your own responsibility and opportunity to work through. When you have worked through a thought, experience or feeling completely, there will be nothing in you to resonate with, would this surface. Say for example your cousin has a fear of drowning. When you swim together, you realize you become fearful too. You go home, look at where this fear come from. What you can do to overcome it. Perhaps you invest in a swimming lesson. The next time you swim with your cousin, he may still have the fear, but you now are immune to that particular fear, because you have done the work in yourself. Now you can swim comfortable swim by his side, without being affected and just perhaps your cousin’s fear start lessoning, because of your own confidence.
I know that it can be difficult, at times, to discern one’s way out. If you are struggling with matters of empathy. Please know that I am here to support your journey. Feel free to reach out via this blog, or my website kiahealing.com .