Sensitive – Emotional – Loner – Unusual – Eccentric – Creative – Mysterious
These are words I have heard many times, in my head, heart, and through the expressions of others. I have always felt partly in this world and partly somewhere else, yet where that “somewhere else” is, I have never really known. The language of “feelings” is the one I know best. Sit with me for a moment and I will feel what is in your heart, yearning to be acknowledged and expressed.
I connect with the untamed spirits of animals and wildlife on a level deeper than words can reveal. There is a knowing within them that speaks directly to my heart. The blossom of a daisy, soft purr of a cat, and freedom of a bird in flight – all so magical.
It often feels as if the emotions of the world are sitting upon my shoulders; I feel everything so intensely. When Mother Earth cries for help, shaking her core and blowing the winds of change throughout the planet, I connect to her and hear her cry even before her actions are revealed. When I gather in a crowd, I feel the collective energy and emotions of the people. All seems to swirl around me, asking for recognition and understanding. My body responds with symptoms and ailments that the medical profession just can’t seem to pinpoint. I used to wonder what was “wrong” with me. “Why do I feel so much?” “How do I turn it off?” “Can’t I just be normal?” I just wanted to fit in.
Then something shifted…
One day as I was browsing through a bookstore, I picked up a copy of Positive Energy by Dr. Judith Orloff, an Energy Psychiatrist in the United States. I began reading the description for what Dr. Orloff describes as an “intuitive empath.” My jaw dropped, tears began to form, and I knew I wasn’t alone.
As much as I am turned off by labels, I finally found an explanation for my way of being. There are many others just like me, who are living in this world as “sensitive souls.” We are not weird, too emotional, or fragile. We are simply very receptive to the unspoken vibrations around us. This is a gift, not a curse.
Once we realize what is going on, we can learn to create our lives in harmony with this beautiful way of being. We no longer need to retreat into our safe space, fearful of picking up another negative vibe. Our sensitivity is now beautifully expressed as compassion, openness, understanding, and empathy. Our open hearts no longer need to be seen as an invitation for negativity to invade our very existence. Our gentle power is a peaceful power of love. We stand in our personal truth, state our limits, and listen to our inner guidance. We don’t need to “toughen up” and stop being so emotional.
If you can relate to what I have shared here, there’s a good chance you are also a highly sensitive person or intuitive empath. It’s important that we don’t get caught up in labels though. This is simply something to help us understand our inherent characteristics and qualities so we can live an empowered life, sharing our gifts with the world.
Am I an empath?
Here is a list of questions from page 29 of Dr. Judith Orloff’s book that may help you determine if you or someone you know is an intuitive empath:
Have I been labeled as overly sensitive?
If a friend is distraught or in physical pain, do I start feeling it too?
Am I drained in crowds, going out of my way to avoid them?
Do I get anxious in packed elevators, airplanes, or subways?
Am I hypersensitive to noise, scents, or excessive talking?
When I see gruesome newscasts, does my energy plummet?
Do I get burned out by groups, require lots of time alone to revive?
This video gives a clear description of the characteristics of empaths:
Once we realize we were created this way for a beautiful reason, it becomes a gift. Will it always feel like a gift? Probably not. Don’t worry – there are ways to stay balanced and embrace the beauty of being a sensitive soul.
Here are some ways to stay balanced and embrace the beauty of being a highly sensitive soul or empath:
Know your limits: When feeling overwhelmed, smothered, or fatigued, honor yourself by taking a bit of time to relax and rejuvenate. Just a half hour of “me time” does wonders. Learn to say “no” when you are really not feeling up to doing something that you don’t need to do. If you are taking on a heavy load at work, pace yourself with several short breaks to go within and center yourself. If people perceive your need for personal space as selfish or indulgent, simply let them know that this time is making you a much more productive, efficient, nicer person to be around! ; ) And that’s certainly the truth.
Create sacred space: A space of our own works miracles. Create a space in your home or garden just for you. Fill it with anything that speaks to your soul. Inspiring pictures, candles, stones, and beautiful objects fill my sacred space. Whenever I am there, I feel “home.” I read, meditate, pray, write, and just sit in silence while in my sacred space. Be creative with it.
Find an outlet: A creative and/or physical outlet is a must. Moving our bodies through dance, walking, gardening, hiking, or any other movement is essential to balance out our energy. Taking a bath with essential oils is one of my most clarifying energy balancing methods. Get in touch with your inner creative goddess by browsing an art & craft store, listening to your heart, and trying a creative medium that you may not have tried before. I have a burning desire to wire and thread beads together. The combination of colors, textures, and focus of the activity is soothing and meditative. Whatever outlet works for you, be sure and create time to do it as often as you can.
Embrace your sensitivity as a gift of compassion: Although it may feel overwhelming to cry at every sad movie, take in other peoples pain, and feel what people may not be able to feel for themselves, there is a beautiful purpose to this gift. Compassion, kindness, sincerity, and expression of love are all gifts that are available to us. When we are able to feel emotions and view them as a way to cleanse ourselves and others, we then realize that perhaps one of our purposes is to be a filter of emotional energy on the planet right now. (Remember that as things pass through a filter, what is not needed is discarded, not kept. Always remember to do what you need to do to keep the energy flowing, not stagnating.) We may be the voice of the heart in a board meeting, helping to balance out decisions and create a new focus. We may be the one our friends come to when they just need someone to listen without judgment or condition.
Always listen to your intuition: Our inner guidance will never lead us astray. If ever feeling overwhelmed or confused, just go within and ask for direction. When it arrives (and it will), take action based on that.
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Seek support when needed: Many “intuitive empaths” take on caregiver roles. We are quick to respond to the needs of others, often neglecting our own needs. Make a conscious point to have your own support system, whether that means opening up to a friend, seeing a counselor or healing practitioner, receiving a massage every month, or anything else that helps. We all need support sometimes; allow yourself to receive.
If you feel that you may fit the description of an empath or have a sensitive nature (or know of someone who reflects this), know that your beauty and strength is shining into this world, helping to make it a kinder place to live in. Embrace who you are, just as you are. Each one of us is here for our own unique reason, offering our gifts in a way only we can.