June 23, 2011

Empaths R Us

Recently, I was interviewed by Kara in her series, “Empaths R Us.” I'm including it here as part of the resources to help empaths and highly-sensitive people.


1. Empath means “becoming one.” Empaths have the ability to become one with something (humans, animals, crystals, environment, etc.) How would you describe the kind of empath you are?

I find that I connect best with human beings, whether in physical or spirit form. I tend to get over-stimulated in a crowd of people, but I’m also easily able to tap into higher realms to glean information from my spirit guides. In taking this Empathy Quiz, I score high as a healer, human, and animal empath. I feel very connected with my dog and there are times when we communicate telepathically.

2. How would you describe your most dominant empath skill?

The ability to sense energy shifts like when someone is upset about something or when a spirit is in the vicinity. I can feel the energy of stones and sense subtle changes in the electromagnetic field around me.

3. At what age did you consciously become aware that you were more sensitive than others?

I was an adult before it dawned on me that not everyone felt as I did. Looking back though, I realize I was energy sensitive even as a young child. When I encountered a near-death experience at age 17 my sensitivity increased. It took another leap each time I had surgery. It’s like a reconnection with the spirit world occurred while I was under anesthesia.

4. How did this empathic ability affect your childhood?

Because I was picking up energy of my fellow students, I hated going to school. I sensed that my peers didn’t like me or that I was a misfit. I was depressed as a teenager due to feeling my parent’s unhappiness as if it were my own.

5. How did your parents or family reaction to your hypersensitivity?

Mom thought I was weak because I cried a lot and things upset me that didn’t upset her or others. My dad is also a highly sensitive person, but he does not have an understanding of this intuitive gift.

6. Did your view of your empathy change as you became an adult?

By the time I was in my thirties I realized that not everyone had the same ability to feel and sense energy as I did. I knew I had a spiritual gift and I wanted to use it to help others. When I sensed someone needed help, I prayed for them and many times their condition or situation improved. That’s how I became a prayer warrior (intercessor) and began to spend hours each day praying for others. During those sessions, I had some strong physical and emotional manifestations in reaction to the high-vibratory energy moving through me. I was also picking up on the emotional energy and physical illnesses that others were releasing. While I found a few other prophetic prayer warriors who manifested similar “symptoms” and accepted me as if I were part of their family, I never fit in to the framework of organized religion.

7. At what age did you fully realize what being an empath meant?

I still didn’t have a name for what I was experiencing when being an empath finally took its toll on my marriage and my health. At age forty, I was burned out. I left organized religion and started my life over in an effort to heal myself and find out what was going on with me. I began seriously searching for answers and found ways to alleviate energy overload and remain emotionally stable, even when close acquaintances experienced an upset. I did this by detaching, setting boundaries, and caring for my own needs.

8. What did you feel like when you realized that there were other empaths in the world?

Even though I didn’t have the term “empath” when I was involved in the prayer group, I felt as if someone finally understood me. Everyone in that group experienced what we called “backlash.” I now know that this feeling that we thought meant we had been “cursed” is called empathy overload or compassion fatigue.

9. How would you say this empathic ability shaped your life overall?

There’s not an aspect of my life that being empathic has not touched. It affects how I do relationships, where I go, who I spend time with (and for how long), and how my home is arranged and decorated, as well as understanding my spiritual purpose and why I’ve always needed to spend time alone.

10. Do you consciously use your empathic skills in how you make a living?

I’m transitioning my career to use this gift more and more. I operate a freelance writing and editing business, and I use my intuition to know which clients I’m to work with. Since publishing my book, Whose Stuff is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You, I recognize an opportunity to share my gifts and experience through public speaking. I plan to put together a workshop or tele-seminar later this year. See http://whosestuffisthis.com for information and resources for empaths.

11. What are the best techniques that you have found to keep your emotional boundaries intact with others?

Grounding and centering, meditation, smudging, clearing and maintaining my energetic field, running energy through my body, and balancing my chakras are a few that I use regularly. Learn what your own energy feels like so you can quickly note when you are picking up energy that isn’t yours. Chapter 9 of my book gives about two dozens ways for empaths to strengthen their boundaries and stay emotionally healthy.

12. What is your favourite thing about being an empath?

Being able to feel connected to the Divine and to others. Helping people by being able to sense what is bothering someone and offering them practical advice (when asked) to get them on a higher path.

13. What is your least favourite thing about being an empath?

Being overwhelmed due to my extreme sensitivity to sound—especially when it is mixed with group energy. Because I get overwhelmed pretty quickly, I avoid meeting clients in a busy or noisy public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant during lunchtime. I’ve learned to pick a library or bookstore that has a quieter atmosphere and fewer people around.

14. What is your best piece of advice for other empaths?

Many empaths exhibit codependent behavior. We want to please and help people even if we find it draining us. We’ve been taught that martyrdom and sacrificial giving is honorable. But, I’ve learned that if I can’t give something (whether time, energy, or money) without feeling joyful and enthusiastic about it, I’m not living authentically. You can only give to others without draining yourself when you share from the fullness of spirit.

My advice is to honor yourself by saying no when you need to and then refuse to feel guilty about it. Let other souls have their own experiences and learn from them. There’s no need to run interference or prevent others from suffering the consequences of their own choices. Find what techniques work best for you to keep your energy field clear, learn to set boundaries, and care for yourself before you try to help others.

15. Do you believe there is any difference between empathic skills and intuitive/psychic skills?

They are very much the same, but there are some subtle differences if you want to break things down and analyze the two terms. Empathy is the ability to feel for and with others—like putting yourself in their place or walking a mile in their shoes. It has more to do with emotions and feeling (clairsentience), whereas a person with psychic skills might also experience clairaudience (hearing in the spirit realm), clairvoyance (seeing apparitions, having visions and dreams), psychometry (gleaning information from objects), and mysteriously knowing things. Not all psychics are emotionally empathic, meaning not all of them get their information from what they feel.

Empathy is just one component of the multi-faceted intuitive package that I call our divine or internal guidance system. As empaths develop their intuition, they will naturally stop giving away their energy by default and become more on purpose about what energy they send and receive. It’s best not to use our bodies as a psychic barometer or allow empathic abilities to wreck havoc upon our emotions and physical well-being.

Thanks to Yvonne for sharing her personal experiences. Here again are the links to Yvonne’s book, and blog and podcast.
PURCHASE paperback book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You at http://tinyurl.com/EmpathAmazon. The e-book version is now available for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and other digital reading devices.

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