Empathy has been tossed around a lot on the Web these days. A lot of it has been good and can help many people. But what’s the deal with empathy and can our spiritual practice help us with it?
There are many different ways to interpret the word empathy. However, the basic idea remains the same. Empathy is the process of emotionally reflecting, experiencing, or absorbing the emotions surrounding you. In addition, the experience of empathy necessitates a return of compassion. Think of it like this. Sympathy can be explained as “feeling for” a person. Empathy is more emotionally intimate and could be explained as “feeling with” the external emotions present. Empaths then are those who continually absorb emotional energy and frequently “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”
If you’re like me, then you’ve come to realize that what you’re feeling and experiencing is more than just general sympathy. We’ve realized we are empaths and we’ve experienced all the ups and downs.
For those of us who are very emotionally sensitive, to the point of absorbing external emotional energy each day, personal balance isn’t just a great goal it’s a necessity.
Don’t think of empathy like a curse though. It helps us find social unity, reinforce love, and assist to heal the world. If we’re going to do these things and really help we must really work toward inner balance. To manage strong levels of empathy, the metaphysically inclined empath, and others seeking balance, can work toward the items below.
~Shielding and Protecting~
It’s so common to want to hide away when the emotion load gets heavy. But instead of forcing yourself into perpetual self-isolation, which is actually really destructive, choose to protect yourself. This is when shielding comes into play. Constructing shields using ritualistic visualization each day or week is a way to help maintain balance. Most psychic shield visualizations are crystalline, spherical, glassy, or “mesh-like.” When using these techniques, avoid visualizing impermeable or reflective shields, unless the need is dire. This can actually push your energy way too far away from the outside world. Additionally, remember that we empaths are notoriously emotionally vulnerable. If you feel like your shields have been compromised by a challenging social situation, they can easily be remade with added visualization and re-connection.
~Practice Spiritual Connection Every Day~
Life is a spiritual experience. No matter what spiritual path you’re on, you can connect with divine every day. Choosing to manage your emotions and personal energy on a daily basis will be the most important daily action for empaths. To help break free from the daily cycles that can bog you down, take time out for morning and/or evening meditation, tarot reading, prayer, ritual, and even simple solitude. Instead of throwing yourself into it right away, gradually build up how much time you spending taking a moment for yourself. Plus, everyone’s spiritual needs will be different. Do what works for you. There isn’t a correct way to connect and revitalize. As you grow, challenge yourself and allow the spiritual work to come from your heart. The heart is after all where empaths find their strength.
~Service Work as Personal Healing~
Empathy’s greatest gift is that of connecting with others. We are natural healers. When we are in a balanced state, we can help facilitate unity and understanding in those around us. We can choose to express this energy with others not only socially, but also through charitable volunteer work, educational activities, vocational social work, art, political activism, and the healing arts. We can also dedicate ourselves to support strictly progressive and earth-conscious companies with our everyday consumer purchases.
~Tailor Your Surroundings~
To the best of your ability, choose to surround yourself with kindhearted individuals who empower your strengths, encourage your happiness, and positively challenge your perception. Naturally, choose to do the same for them! Decide to minimally interact with overly pessimistic and discouraging people, and come up with a game plan of how to react and respond when you are faced with difficult individuals. Also, don’t forget to take breaks when needed; some amount of alone time is deeply beneficial for every empathic soul! Additional environmental suggestions include taking good care of pets (love them and receive love!), not spending too much time gaming or using computers, and even considering therapy, counseling, or life coaching during extenuated periods of emotional stress.
~Alchemize, Transmute, Transform~
Did you know that as an empath you can not only absorb emotions but transmute them? Empathy is not just absorptive, but projective. Often, empaths can change the mood of a room simply by being there. This displays how empathy is an influential force as well. You can take this to the next level by deciding to utilize emotion-based alchemy in a ritualistic environment when you feel overloaded or very negative.
If it’s in your tradition and you feel comfortable, cast a circle or use visualization to create a sacred space. Place an image, object, or a deity’s statue which personally represents transformation in front of you. Put your intention for transformation into this item and dedicate it to that purpose. Gaze at the focal point and sit with your emotions. Open yourself up to insight into the origin of the emotions you’re experiencing. Are they yours, someone else’s, or a combination?
From the right side of your body, or your dominant side if you use this, project your emotional force to the chosen focal point. Then, pull the transformed energy out and into the left, or receptive, side of your body. Sit with these new, magickally transformed emotional energies. Let them carry you through the day. Experiment and try other techniques which appeal to you. Determine which work best for you when working to remove your emotional stress.
~Let Creative Juices Flow~
Art and creativity naturally spring from empaths. Creating art of any type encourages energy from the internal to transfer the external. When we express ourselves, our psyches and spirits can project emotional energy outward rather than having to stay locked inside. Plus, art exists in every imaginable form. Go with what feels right, paint, dance, sing, write. Let intuition be your guide.
It’s not uncommon for very empathic individuals to become disconnected from their physical bodies. It makes sense. Empaths are guided by emotions. But, our bodies are our temples for a reason. They exist on the manifest plane and serve as sensory receptors for our consciousness. To function as empaths, as people, we must be mindful of the holistic picture. Body, mind, and soul all working together. Manage your unique physical body with balance. Get the right amount of sleep, consistent exercise (especially Yoga, which is great for empaths), and with medicines, natural or otherwise, as needed. Relaxing baths and cleansing showers are also super helpful and can assist to connect your energy to water, the element of emotions and empathy.
~Know Your Strength and Own It~
Lastly, remember that empathy does not make you weak. In fact, you are incredibly powerful, charismatic, mystical, and socially influential, even if you don’t feel that way sometimes. Say this and feel it. “I am a significantly powerful being in a world which desperately needs emotional awareness and compassion.” And remember, don’t get overly paranoid or depressed when you’re overwhelmed. Not everyone is out to get you or hurt you.
The more proactive we are each day and the more clearly we look at life’s tough moments as lessons, the more we can develop our power as empaths. Thus, helping to change the world. That’s right. You’re changing the world every day just be you. Congrats!
As I began my work day today, I listened to Pandora. As I always do. Well, a new feature is the thumbprint radio station which allows you to listen to songs from all your stations which you have thumbed up. Today a song I hadn’t thought about in a while played. Bitch by Meredith Brooks.
This got the wheels in my head turning. I thought about all the things I love about women and how very different we all are. So, I thought I would share some love for my fellow women out there.
We are amazing.
Sometimes we are tall, sometimes short.
Thin and curvy. Straight hair, curly hair, crazy hair.
Fair skinned, olive skinned, dark skinned.
Book smart, street smart.
We sometimes experience lives of struggle and wanting.
Sometimes we have lives of excess and success.
We are mothers, alone and part of a unit, raising a new generation.
We are single, business women pursuing personal goals.
We are born in our bodies and we change our bodies to fit our hearts.