Updated: Mar 21, 2021
In the past few years, the word "empath" has been floating around all media platforms. It has a positive connotation because it is a really beautiful way of being, however, it has another side to it that does not receive the attention it needs.
What exactly is an empath?
Empaths are considered highly sensitive individuals, who have a heightened ability to profoundly understand what another person is thinking and feeling; to the point where it can be almost as if the empath is experiencing it themselves.
I have been highly sensitive to the energies around me since I was a child; so much so that some would consider it to be on the level of the psychic spectrum. I can instantly read and feel energy from any person around me, and become aware of information their mind or body is holding before they express it out loud, or sometimes before they are even aware of what is going on inside them. Cool, right?
Can you relate?
If you relate to this to some degree, that is awesome! It truly is an incredible gift. People often come to us for support and advice. We may feel "full" or accomplished that our acts of service are so impactful. What about afterward? Do you have an awareness of what the aftermath is? Chances are that if you're an empath, you may find it challenging to disconnect and let that energy go. In my experience, I have taken on someone else's story so deeply, that it creates a surreal experience as if it is entirely my own. It can be very draining, and at times, becomes so overwhelming that it in fact, significantly disrupts my own life and being.
We have all heard about boundaries. What are they and do you have them?
A boundary is an imaginary line that separates one person and another. Have you ever heard the phrase, "You teach people how to treat you?" If you find yourself frustrated because you have a friend that constantly asks you for something, consider taking a look at your boundaries. Do you have clear boundaries of what your needs are and have shared those with the other person? Perhaps you want to help out and give to your friend but you do it at the expense of your health or personal time. This friend has no idea how frustrated you have become because they don't know your boundaries. Why? You haven't set them. No one is a mind reader! Perhaps you need to say "no" more often. Perhaps you need to understand your motivation for helping them so frequently in the first place. You are completely responsible for communicating your boundaries. Do you have clearly defined boundaries? How do you apply them?
Considering an empath is someone who absorbs energy very deeply, and are people who constantly want to help, support, fix, and do for other people, they are the people that need to draw boundaries the most. If you find yourself wanting to help just because you see a problem, ask yourself what your motivation and purpose are for doing so. Sometimes, it ain't none of your business! Helping others is one of the greatest joys in life. It can also be detrimental to our own well being if we do it at the expense of ourselves. This is the side of being an empath that needs to be brought to light. Start with you!