For those of us who are highly sensitive or empathic, other people’s emotions and dramas can often feel overwhelming. The extra level of awareness that allows us to be compassionate and intuitive, also means we are more aware of the energy and emotions swirling around us. There are many tools to help you stay centered and not at the mercy of this sensitivity and I thought I’d share one created by my coaching partner, Ryan O’Toole, that I am finding very helpful.
One of the important steps to being a healthy, thriving empathic or highly sensitive person (or really for anyone trying to navigate the challenging times we live in) is to learn how to stay in one’s own shoes and not become overloaded by the emotions or experiences of others. When we are able to stay grounded and centered, we align with our higher self and are able to hear the wisdom of our heart. This is a time period when being able to listen to our inner truth radar is essential, as you can pick almost any topic and find conflicting “truths” being espoused.
Three Questions to Stay Centered
1. What is motivating your choice to get involved – love or fear? Love motives will bring a feeling of being uplifted, excited, or joyful. Fear motives will leave you feeling tense, anxious, pressured, or worried. If it isn’t love, then it is best to take a look at what is making you afraid and find a way to address the fear so you can then choose from love.
2. Will it nourish me to get involved? Just as they recommend when you are flying that if you need to use the oxygen masks, put yours on first before helping someone else, the same is true for keeping our own systems functioning optimally. If pursuing an interaction or activity is going to drain you, perhaps you should reconsider participating. When it is in alignment from a spiritual point of view for us to be involved, we will have the energy we need. If we are doing something out of guilt or obligation, it will drain us and that doesn’t help anyone.
3. Have you been invited? Those of us who are empathic naturally have a sense when someone is upset or struggling, but that doesn’t mean it is always best for us to get involved. We need to be invited to help before we act, as otherwise the person we are trying to help will become angry with us for not respecting their boundaries.
I have found taken the time to check in on these three questions really strengthens my ability to stay centered and empowered. I hope you find them helpful too!
If you’ve ever come across a sensitive soul you’ll likely recognize a few common characteristics. The first thing that will probably come to your attention is that they are usually kind. These souls tend to be very aware of their own feelings and have an innate ability to understand what others are feeling too. Shortly after this realization comes, you may discover that they are also vulnerable.
I have yet to meet a highly sensitive person who doesn’t have that vulnerability. Some of them hide it better than others, but their defenses just highlight that it is there. After years of learning to cope with my own vulnerability and seeing the struggles of my clients, I have come to the conclusion that if you asked a highly sensitive soul what they wanted the most, safety would be at the top of the list.
So how does someone who feels the emotions and energies of those around them feel safe? All of us have come up with different methods to do this. Some of the methods involve avoidance. Some use aggression or gruffness to keep people at bay. Others do everything in their power to keep everyone happy, so they won’t have to feel their fears. All of these methods come from a need to survive and most of the time they are developed by our psyches at an age when we aren’t able to do any better.
Now that we are in a place of growing and evolving, isn’t it time for those of us who are sensitive souls to find a more empowered way to be sensitive? I believe that it is. What I have been finding through my own journey and through working with others are that these methods often involve letting go of old constructs. We have to clear out and release the old patterns and behaviors that kept us “safe” so that we can develop more healthy ways of interacting with our world. How do we do this? I find that we are all being guided to do just that, often through finding ourselves stumbling as these familiar coping mechanisms assert themselves. We are no longer who were when these methods were born. It is time we let them go, just as we’ve had to let go of out dated technology. They no longer serve our highest and best good.
This last week, I did several sessions that involved helping to bring fragmented aspects of the psyche back into the whole. These fragments of our selves (energy blueprints) are the holders of many of these patterns. We may be tempted to just separate ourselves completely from this constructs, but as they are also part of the self, they cannot be discarded. In truth, they usually hold the secrets to our empowerment. We need these aspects of ourselves to have this empowered approach to our nature. The difficulty comes in clearing out the old patterns and energetic residues we created when the fragmentation occurred. By bringing this to consciousness, we are able to clear its hold on us and bring home the aspect of our self that we have been separated from.
In closing, I saw an image during my morning meditation that went so perfectly with this. It was of an armadillo out in the forest. Ted Andrews in Animal-Speak shares this about the armadillo, “Oftentimes individuals who are extremely empathic will have an armadillo as a totem. An empathic individual’s body will become a barometer for whatever is experienced. If around someone with an ache or pain, empathics will experience it within their own body as if it is their own ache or pain. This can lead to an actual manifestation of the problem. Empathic individuals are very susceptible to outside influences-physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This heightened sensitivity needs to be controlled and balanced. Armadillo can teach you how to do this and show you how to help others in this position.”
What he describes here is being sensitive/empathic without the empowered protections and energetic set-up needed to keep you comfortable and safe. I know first-hand how debilitating it can be to have this level of sensitivity. I believe 100% that those of us with this gift, can also be safe, comfortable, and protected. We also have a “suit of armor” to protect us. We don’t need to keep building dysfunctional structures and behaviors to stay safe. We deserve better! It is time to take back our power, so we can use our gifts as they were meant to be used-to empower others.
Wishing you joy and happiness for you and your loved ones!
PS. Here are some opportunities to get some support with this trait:
Empowerment Circle on Parenting (child or inner child): Sign up by Wednesday 11/14
I am passionate in the belief that as parents it is important that we teach our children to be empowered sensitive souls instead of through our ignorance leaving them forced to develop coping techniques out of the need to survive. I will also be using the vehicle of this circle to help us as parents of our own psyche to discover any fragmentation that may have occurred. Almost always, this occurs in our childhood. I also offer a spiritual parenting club for those interested in learning how to empower their children. You can learn more and sign up for this week’s empowerment circle at this link: Empowerment Circles
Information about the Spiritual Parenting Club is offered here (this membership automatically includes the parenting empowerment circle each month): Spiritual Parenting Club
Empowerment Readings: I am also happy to do a more in-depth empowerment reading to help you clear the false pattern and integrate the fragmented aspect of your psyche. These types of sessions usually take an hour. Send me an email if you’d like to set something up this month (I’ll send you a PayPal link with a $10 discount on the session if you mention this article during the month of November.) For more information: Empowerment Readings