Empath doesn’t mean taking on shit
Being an empath doesn’t mean you take on other people’s shit.
I hear often about how empaths take on the feelings of others. That’s a tendency, not a requirement. To be empathic is to have the capacity to understand and feel what another person is experiencing, a beautiful quality… and, it doesn’t mean you have to take on someone else’s pain.
To cultivate empathy, compassionate understanding, full presence, while not “taking on other people’s emotions” has been a key learning for me, and one I continue to practice.
I remember sitting in my first women’s circles, bawling my eyes out every time, listening to the stories, challenges, hardships, and deep emotions that course through my sister’s hearts.
I remember going home at night, feeling utterly drained afterwards, like an emotional bus had run me over. This experience served its purpose for a time… of opening my heart to deep empathy.
I knew I couldn’t keep doing this anymore though… I had little energy left for vibrant living, as I was overcome with feeling the pain of the world. That’s when I learned about energetic practices which allow me to know where I begin and end. To feel deeply, and, remain a sovereign energetic being. To allow energy to flow through me, and to deeply feel, without getting stuck. To be there for others fully, without feeling depleted.
Tools of understanding the energy body, having clear communication, and presence practices have taught me to be an empath without being depleted. I can be empathic, and present. Tuned in. Resourced.
A few tips…
1. Breathe. Breath keeps energy flowing through your body. If you hold your breath, energy accumulated and gets stuck inside your own tissues.
2. Don’t hook into the details of the story… the who did what’s and “OMG, can you believe this…” Feel what the person is sharing – this is more important… what are they really communicating at the core? Don’t exhaust your mind over the small thing that deter from the real message.
3. Listen with relaxed awareness. Stay connected to your own body while listening. If you notice tension, see if you can relax into there.
4. Cultivate inner spaciousness: getting bigger inside to be able to feel it all. Wider. Deeper. Without resistance.