Understanding What it is Like Being an Empath and Tools to Help Protect Yourself

Article Written By: Lyn Rose-Hornabrook

Many of us who were born with empathic abilities have not understood this “gift” until well into our adulthood. Those who were lucky enough to have parents that recognized this “gift” would have a head start in understanding how to deal with your intensely feeling life and sensitive nature. You were possibly fearful as a child because you did not understand those intense feelings, which may have made stepping out into the world quite terrifying. In my own case I was not always able to process what was going on around me as a young child and would sometimes end up having convulsions.

In an unaware state, an empath will experience the feelings or pains of others - be it distress, sadness, anger, etc., and any physical pain that accompanies it, and think that it is his / her own feelings or illness. It will be quite confusing because he / she will not understand what it is that is making him / her feel that way. It can be sudden and intrusive. This “taking on” is known as surrogation. Of course this surrogation can also be beneficial – say if you are a healer and need to know exactly what needs treating in a patient. For this to be effective you need to be able to discern your own feelings from those of the other person, and be able to clear yourself effectively afterwards.

The task is to learn to understand this gift– to understand how to discern between your own feelings and pain, and that of another. In this way you will have the ability to feel compassion for others from a self contained point of view instead of merging with them and taking on their pain in order to heal them. Because you understand what they are feeling you can then lead them to the correct path for them. You do not have to do it for them.

Being an empath, you see people as their naked selves. No matter how hard people try to hide who they are, an empath will see through them. This can be a blessing for some who feel unable to express themselves or unnerving for others if they are trying to hide something or if some ill intent is meant.

Some “Symptoms of Empathy”

  • Acute senses – i.e. sense of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing etc.
  • Acute awareness of the feelings of those around them and feeling deeply for those in pain or suffering
  • Often easily hurt
  • Avoidance of conflict where possible preferring to keep things harmonious
  • Easily startled by noise
  • Easily moved to tears because of deep feeling
  • Nervous in crowded situations
  • People feel safe around them and able to talk to them easily. Even complete strangers will talk to them about personal things without consciously intending to do so
  • Animals and children love and are attracted to them
  • Easily affected by the weather
  • Their greatest gift is to perceive with the heart
  • They are usually a blessing to be around as they are nurturing and caring
  • Music and harmony are very important to them. They can lose themselves completely while listening to music that resonates with them.
  • Water is very beneficial and therapeutic to the empath

A Special Web Link (highly recommended reading on “The Empath”)

The following link will take you to an excerpt from the book “Eye of the Lotus” – psychology of the chakra's by Dr Richard Jelusich. The book explains how we are born with a certain chakra disposition and goes on to explain each disposition. This page is about the Heart Chakra disposition: “The Empath”

Some Recommended Crystals: “Empath's Tools”

How can these healing stones help? By holding or wearing a gemstone necklace / stone / bracelet, they can help by dissolving negative emotions and replacing them with positive energy.

Aquamarine – helps you adapt to any harsh vibrations in your surroundings – provides understanding of your path and how to adapt to the denseness of the earthly vibrations without losing the “self”. It helps with communication of heart-felt things and when there is difficulty in putting feelings into words.

Black Tourmaline – psychic protection (when necessary) – a good stone to carry with you when you are out in crowded areas or if someone is intentionally sending negative energy your way. Acts as a buffer from the physic bombardment.

Green Jade – I wear this to give my heart a boost – It is very strengthening - keeps the heart rhythm. I often wear it in a medicine bag over my heart together with a piece of rhodochrosite, especially if I am feeling stressed at work or have a lot to deal with emotionally.

Smoky Quartz - keeps you grounded if you start to “space out” or feel panicky e.g. in crowds etc. – also good for bringing spiritual energies down through the chakras so that they can be grounded and acted on. For some of us there is a tendency to “space out” or excarnate from the body when things get stressful. Smokey quartz helps us to properly incarnate into the body so that we can fully deal with what is going on.

Rose Quartz – enhancing your self esteem and providing you with the love vibration needed to overcome painful feelings – like a soothing balm it gently caresses the soul helping you to “love” yourself. Helps with physical and emotional pain. Wise goddess energy – (my favorite healing stone).

Rhodochrosite – Heals the inner-child. Wear when feeling vulnerable. I often feel it keeps people “off my back” when I need time to heal and have some space to myself. I find that I am treated more lovingly when I am wearing rhodochrosite –for this reason I recommend it to everyone. It is also good to clear any blockages between the heart and solar plexus - e.g stomach pains caused by an emotional upset.

Lapis Lazuli – discernment – getting clear about what is your “stuff” and what is not. Can release blockages of held in emotions – very powerful – use with care. Brings things to the awareness but does not help you to deal with it. You will need to use other stones for this. (In my experience with Lapis – it moved a blockage in my thymus area quite dramatically and I was suddenly getting panic attacks and incredible energy surges that shook my whole body. This was initially quite terrifying for me. When I asked for guidance I was told that I then needed to use my knowledge of the Flower Remedies is order to complete the healing. After this experience and a few others since I have developed a great respect for crystals and gems as healing “tools” and not just “pretty” decorations. There can be an incredible power in the smallest of stones. Always use Lapis with respect – it is a regal stone

Moonstone – Soothing to wear after emotional upsets, brings the emotions into balance and helps you speak loving words and be kind to yourself and others. A real goddess stone – my favourite is rainbow moonstone. Keywords that come to me when describing this stone are kindness, beauty. And balance.

Sugilite is a very energizing stone for sensitive individuals. It is a spiritual stone that works at the etheric body level. It moves congestion (that emotionally compressive negative energy) in the light body before it works its way into the physical body. This congestion happens when surrounded by mental confusion or excess emotionalism that you are having trouble processing, Sugilite keeps your energy free and moving and is also beneficial for depression or melancholia. If you have a piece of sugilite it will usually let you know when it wants to be worn or used.

Flower Essences: Some important essences in the life of the “Empath”:

Flower essences are vibrational essences made by floating certain flowers in a bowl on pure water, placed in the sunshine for several hours, which eventually imprints the vibrational patterning (or message) of the flower into the water through a process of alchemy. The essence is then decanted and several processes of dilution occur before it is taken at dosage strength.

These essences are freely available from essence makers and distributors throughout the world or of course you can make your own. It is important to meditate, be clear and attune with the plants before making your essence.

White Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium white)

For extreme vulnerability to others and to the environment, easily depleted, overly absorbent of negative influences

The essence of the white yarrow flower seals up any “holes” in the aura and provides a protective filter from the bombardment of environmental and emotional energies that the empath is prone to absorbing. This will stop the feeling of depletion from trying to process these energies. It stabilizes and grounds a person and allows the inner light to shine through.

Pink Yarrow (Achillea millefolium var. rubra – pink/purple)

For lack of emotional clarity and inappropriate merging with others. Promotes loving awareness of others from a self-contained consciousness

Because of the extreme openness of the empathic person, he or she will often merge with his/her environment, including the emotional aura of others. This causes emotional confusion and an inability to identify his/her own feelings from those of another. The empath will often internalize this emotional confusion in order to heal the situation. Pink Yarrow flower essence helps one to discern between ones own emotions and that of another.

Golden Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina – yellow)

Use when you have a tendency to withdraw and isolate yourself because of your sensitivity. For protecting oneself from vulnerability to others - Gives inner protection when in social situations.

Golden Yarrow is indicated for those whose natural inclination is to avoid public limelight or performances because of acute sensitivity. This essence is like wearing a protective cloak when out in public. It shields and protects and helps the person to cope with his/her sensitivity and express himself/herself without feeling vulnerable. It can help in situations where a person has turned to drugs or alcohol in order to dull his/her sensitivity.Yarrow flower essences are available from: FES Flowers and Feather Hawk

Books To Read on Empathy

“The Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide” by Dr. Kyra Mesich Phd. – an inexpensive book available from her website Kyra Mesich (lots of good information on empathy on this website and newsletter very interesting)

“Eye of the Lotus – Psychology of the Chakras” by Dr Richard Jelusich – available from website Light News

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