Month: March 2018

Are You an Empath?

Everyone is born with intuitive abilities. Our awareness of them and our connection to these abilities vary greatly by the person   In my healing work, a vast number of empaths cross my doorway and most are totally oblivious to that fact.  They have an awareness of certain patterns of responding and being, but often have shame and pathologizing around those tendencies. They know they are different but assume it is for negative reasons.

If you have ever felt that you are inherently different from most others and notice that you seem to respond differently to things, I invite you to consider the following information.  Listed below are common traits and patterns typical of empathic individuals.

Common signs of being an empath:

  1. You can ‘sense’ and feel the emotions of others.  Quite literally, you feel the emotions of other people within your own body.  This can be confusing and overwhelming.   You may intuit an emotion that a person is experiencing but not displaying. Boundaries related to your experience and those around you are easily blurred.
  2. You may feel anxious, overwhelmed, and avoid crowded events or areas. Empaths are like sponges and can absorb the energy of the environment and the people within it.  You can become easily overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and drained by crowds and busy physical environments.
  3. You experience high emotional reactivity to witnessing or hearing about negative stories, news, or tragic events.  You may often experience extreme sadness and stress related to disasters, news, or even violence in shows. Empaths feel distress on behalf of others, even those they do not know. Thus, many may avoid social media, news, and tv programming all together. Empaths are often labeled as extreme or ‘overly sensitive’ by those around them.
  4. You may find your body mimicing the physical pain of those around you  (e.g. what some may refer to as ‘sympathy pains’).  However, the sensation of pain is real. Essentially, the empath has absorbed that energy into their own. Empaths may actually struggle with chronic pain issues as a result.
  5. You are drawn towards, and draw to yourself, others who are hurt, sick, and in emotional despair. Many empaths are healers. They have a strong desire to help and be of service to others. Many work within the medical field, teaching, and the healing arts.
  6. You may often feel drained, fatigued, anxious and depressed.  Being unaware of empathic qualities often render empaths defenseless and thus, susceptible to energy drains and lack of self care to ‘re-charge’. This is especially true of romantic relationships and empaths tend to couple with energy vampires in their desire to be of service.
  7. You struggle with self-care.  I find a strong pattern of feeling guilty and mistaking self-care for selfishness.  You may tend to invest your energy into taking care of everyone else at your own expense.  Empaths tend to sacrifice their whole being to help friends, family, and partners.
  8. You have a strong desire for ‘alone’ time. Empaths often need time on their own to re-charge.  You may find a need to hide out at home, seclude yourself in your bedroom, and avoid others and community places.
  9. You might struggle with using or wearing second hand items.  You may bathe or wash your personal items a lot.  Many empaths struggle with the imprints of other people’s energies left on items or feel the need to wash/bathe to cleanse self and/or items of energy.
  10. You find yourself truly needing time in nature. Many empaths ground and re-charge by being in nature.  They can feel it balancing and de-stressing their bodies and energy level.
  11. You are very sensitive to sensory stimuli, especially auditory information. Many empaths get overwhelmed by noise and find themselves becoming agitated and unable to filter it out.  You may find yourself seeking quiet or soothing sounds.
  12. You have strong intuitive abilities, known as the Clair’s.  You may see, hear, sense, or simply know things without understanding why. It may seem to defy logic and reason. Some do not realize they receive information that others are not receiving and question why they perceive things differently from others.
  13. You struggle with sleep.  Many empaths report being a light sleeper and often disturbed by noises or activity in the environment.  Many also report intense dreaming at times.
  14. You are creative.  You may be drawn to music, art, writing or anything that has a resonance in the arts.  You might find yourself flooded with creative energy at times and flooded by emotionality when in the presence of artistic outlets.
  15. You have a hard time eating foods, often meat.  Not all empaths are vegetarian but a good number find it difficult to eat meat due to sensing the energy of that animal.

This list could be much longer but these are the main patterns that I observe in the intuitive work I do with empaths.  These traits are often observable and notable since birth. Awareness of self and these tendencies are critical to self-acceptance and growth. When you can understand and embrace your empathic qualities, as well as learn to create boundaries and patterns of self-care, you can reduce the stress that often permeates the intuitive life.  It becomes possible for your to navigate and interface with negative situations and people without feeling ‘attacked’ or drained. You will feel happier, more fulfilled, and joyful in your daily life.

 

 

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The Cure for Chronic Loneliness

This is a time of great struggle for many. I see and feel it when moving about in the community and in the work I do daily.  It saddens me, as so many people feel isolated and alone in their experiencing of life. They also believe that they are doing something wrong, are ‘broken’ or are different, often noting the perceived happiness of others as proof that they are alone in their suffering.  Though this is far from the truth, social media postings of photoshopped selfies and staged happiness reinforces otherwise.

Every day, all day, people are being inundated with horrible news stories of various atrocities being committed around the world.  It is overwhelming and terrifying. It can make many feel hopeless and helpless.  Though there are vast amounts of loving and generous acts being gifted, these do not sell headlines. Stories that trigger fear and tragedy gain more attention and thus, have cultivated a general distrust of others.  There has been a hardening of some hearts and a turning away from others–especially those most in need of compassion or a simple hug.

Technology is impressive and has yielded some incredible advances that have greatly benefited us.  I am not discounting that. However, technology has also created a barrier to socialization.  It has impeded people’s ability to connect to others and fully engage in daily experiences.  Though social media allows for a connection to a greater number of people, those connects lack depth.  For many, it is a competition of who can create the most impressive story boarding of a life that does not exist. A relationship may be in turmoil and a couple may take pictures of trips, dates, and artificial words of being soul mates.  In my practice, I once had a 9-year old child tell me how he prefers the virtual world because he likes the character he developed there more than his real self. That is heart breaking and it shows how a person can be so disconnected. Having an impressive number of friends on his/her social media page did not assuage the feeling of being alone.

So, what is the cure?  CONNECTION.  A genuine sharing and exchange between two or more people.  Human connection to others, whether individuals or to a community, has been shown to be the number one predictor in happiness by research.  It is also strongly related to recovery from addiction, illness, and longevity of life.  Simply put: We are built to connect. It is both critical for our well-being and to shift from a state of surviving to thriving.

In an effort to cultivate more love and feeling of belonging, here are some suggestions to create meaningful connection:

  • Be genuine.  It may be hard to feel vulnerable but it is necessary for depth and meaning in a relationship.  People can only be as close to you as you allow. Thus, be truthful about how you feel, what you think, your dreams, your interests and your full spectrum of experiences  It invites others to be close and to do the same.
  • Eliminate toxic relationships.  Assess the overtones of your relationships and note which ones are mostly positive and negative. Be wary of ones in which you feel like you need to prove your value.  If that is the dynamic, it tends to feeds the sense of being broken or undeserving. Recognize your inherent value and your worthiness of love. Eliminate energy drains and invest in relationships and people that feed your soul.
  • Join groups or activities surrounding your interests.   Join a run club, volunteer, take writing classes, music lessons etc etc.  This creates opportunities to feel included and develop connections with others who have shared interests. It can foster a sense of being part of a community.
  • Be present and engage.  If out with a friend or family member, limit use of electronics. Limit distractions and fully attend to the experience.  Have a conversation about this with friends and a commitment to invest in the time together. Engaging in parallel experiences while distracted with electronics does not constitute quality time.
  • Connect to others through activities not involving electronics. This could include board games, walks, art activities, etc with friends and most importantly, spouses/children/family.
  • Develop rituals of connection.  Have daily rituals related to leaving/returning home. I encourage ‘check ins’: Know important events happening to those you love and upon return home, ask about them.  Connect through conversation and attentive listening.
  • Smile and acknowledge others.  This may prove difficult, as you will likely see the level of disconnect and distraction in others. However, there are many individuals also in search of connecting.  If you are not aware, you may miss beautiful opportunities of simple exchanges. Friendly exchanges with unfamiliars can lessen the feel of isolation.
  • Human touch.  Spend time cuddling with significant others and kids. Hug, hold hands, and just enjoying being close.  Physical touch is an excellent way to connect even if it does not accompany talking.
  • Companion animal.  Animals and pets are great ways to feel connected. I encourage that they are not the only source of your emotional attachments; rather, they serve as additions to your love and connecting network.
  • Limit use of social media. Many people cannot help but compare themselves to others and their lives. I encourage you to stop. You are internalizing untruths, photoshopped images, and stories of living that are often fabricated. Detoxing and limiting of electronics use often improves mood and happiness with self on its own.

I invite you to look for opportunities to create the life you desire. Invest in the life you have, not the one created through technology and social media. Emoji icons of hearts and text messages of love cannot replace the value of, or need for, a physical hug from a loved one. Enrich your present experiences and relationships by fully engaging in the moment and by being genuine. Seek out opportunities and people that challenge you to grow and develop in a way that is uplifting and exciting. Eliminate activities and relationships that cause pain, stress, and prove to be an energy drain.  Connect, Connect, Connect.