Embracing Your Empathic Nature
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”- Buddha
Empaths are constantly affected by other people’s energy. Our gift can leave us feeling drained, confused, and victimized. We can feel like we have no control over being influenced by other people’s moods and physical problems.
Many of us wear our empath status like a handicap parking permit. We move through the world as though we are the walking wounded. Other people are encroaching on our energetic space and we have no control over it, so we give our power to everyone else. Their feelings supersede our own, so we are never the most important people in the room.
We spend ample amounts of time trying to “protect” or “shield” ourselves, which gives away even more power. It entrenches us even more firmly into our personal narrative of the disempowered victim.
The only tool that you really need as an empath is to “know yourself.” I’m not just referring to your physical self, but your “true being.”
Take a moment to consider your personal narrative. What stories do you tell about yourself? Who are you, really? I recently asked empaths in a class that I was teaching to jot down who they think they are by using “I am” statements. Here is what one person wrote;
I am a mother
I am a wife
I am overweight
I am aging
I am a cancer survivor
I am kind
I am a designer
I am an enabler
Notice that almost all of her answers are reliant on something external to herself. Like many of us, she defines herself by her relationships to other people and situations. Even describing herself as kind, unless she is kind to herself, is dependent on something outside of herself. Empaths are notorious for this.
Everyone else has our power because we’ve given it away. We don’t know how to move on our own steam, so we need other people’s to do so. We’ve learned this as a coping mechanism. Until we take our power back by knowing ourselves, being sensitive will be a difficult road.
We’ve also learned how to see ourselves through other people’s eyes, as if our own eyes are blind to the truth. We seem to be more willing to trust some else’s view of reality than our own.
Here is an answer to the same question from a very empowered 7-year-old girl;
I am light
I am pretty
I am natural
I am happy
I am a fast runner
I am me
This child sees herself clearly right now, because she hasn’t learned how to see herself through other people’s eyes yet. When I asked her if she thought she was pretty because everyone else told her so, she said “No. I just look in the mirror and I see me, and I think I’m pretty. Some boys at school call me ugly, but they are stupid.”
I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but what you believe about yourself is the only thing that matters when it comes to personal power. If how you feel about yourself is based solely on what other people think or feel about you, what happens when those feelings or beliefs are negative? Do you crumble?
It’s hard to shine your brightest when you allow other people’s realities to tarnish your glow. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your own beautiful self.
Embracing your personal power means becoming self-aware through honesty, and seeing your strengths and weaknesses without judgment. It also means trusting yourself. Most of us have a hard time with that one. How can you trust yourself if you can’t see yourself clearly through everyone else’s stuff? It feels like a catch-22, but it’s not.
When you start feeling like a victim to your gift of empathy, be kind to yourself. Give yourself a hug and some sweet words of encouragement. Be your own best friend and your biggest supporter. Empaths tend to be very hard on themselves, so now is the time to change that.
There can be enormous power in this gift, and you have an opportunity to learn a great deal from it. You are a seer and you have been blessed. If you can change your mindset to accept this, and I mean REALLY accept this, then your life is going to change for the better.
When we take ownership of our gifts, take responsibility for what we feel and experience, and decide to let go of the victim mentality, we take our power back. It might seem scary to say goodbye to all of your safety tools that you’ve been using, but give it a shot. It’s completely liberating when you realize that you don’t have to constantly try and keep your guard up.
Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. For more information about her, please visit her website at www.theomancollective.com. Check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.