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How to be an Empath with Muscle

Fabulous article on high empathy. Thank you Janny!

A must read for empaths!

Love & baby steps,

SG x

Author 

Lady Geek TV/flickr

It’s incredibly hard work being an empath, isn’t it?

Getting it all, feeling it all, absorbing it all? Picking up the pain of a stranger so deeply as they walk by that your entire body hurts? Feeling dizzy and sick in a crowd or café from the energy coming your way?

For several years, one of the most important tasks I had was to help young therapists in training to use their empathic skills differently. To build empathic muscle and emotional resilience. To transform a liability into a strength.

I thought it might be helpful to share some of the key secrets here.

So, first, here is the bad news. It’s where we have to start. It’s going to be a shock to some, but we need to begin at the beginning: empaths are not empathising at all; they are actually identifying.

I repeat, empaths are not empathising, they are identifying.

To explain what I mean, imagine you have someone drowning out in the middle of a lake. If you’re identifying, you’re so overcome by what it would be like if you were the person drowning that before you know it you’ve jumped in too, even though you can’t swim, and now there are two people drowning instead of one.

If you’re a tuned in, canny empath with muscle, you’re observing what’s going on with enormous understanding and compassion, you feel the other’s fear and panic, you hold it inside you long enough to transmute it through the sheer power of loving intention and you breathe out calm and your belief and strength and knowledge that this person can swim.

You don’t jump in; you stay on the shore, talking them through, hearing, noticing, showing you get it, making sure they know they’re not alone. And that these feelings threatening to drown them can be survived.

There’s nothing new or magical about this. It’s what tuned-in mothers and fathers do for their babies all the time. Watch carefully and you’ll see it happening. You’ll see a baby fraught with fear or rage or frustration become miraculously soothed because a parent is showing that these feeling can be survived and managed. The parent takes those feelings into their own body, holds them a while, and then gives them back to the baby in a processed and manageable form.

And this is the crucial bit for us to understand if we’re going to become true empaths rather than identifiers—if we’re going to become empaths with muscle who can make a difference.

See, those of us who grew up learning to be empaths without muscle (identifiers) usually grew up with either an over-anxious parent who couldn’t manage their own feelings very well, or a pretty shut down parent who could give us little or no help in managing our own feelings, because they simply did not do feelings.

In the first case—that of an over-anxious parent—we were required to become what is called, in my theoretical background, a “container” for that parent, because that parent could not act as a container for themselves.

We’re not talking blame here, just cause and effect. If you can’t contain your own feelings, you look for someone else to contain them for you. In this case, your child. You. Me.

Trouble is, a child does not have the resources to be a container for someone else’s feelings, because a child only learns how to contain their own feelings when a parent capable of managing their own feelings shows them how. You see how complicated this is getting?

In the second scenario—a parent who is emotionally shut down—the child has a parent who is also unable to show a child how to contain their feelings. Instead of knowing how to do this themselves, they have discovered what seems like a safe alternative, which is to push them all away out of sight and shut down. This is called splitting. Psychically, we split off our unwanted and unacknowledged feelings unconsciously, and put them into someone else.

Typically, these two parents often show up together, so that we have one parent who is emotionally overflowing and another who is emotionally shut down. Remember, we’re not allocating any blame here—these parents are the way they are because of the parenting they themselves received, which clearly also gave little help with how to manage feelings.

So now, back to the child.

Without help to either contain or process feelings—which are pretty big and frightening things to a child—this child is now exposed to feelings and images in the raw; wild feelings, if you like, with no help to know how to tame them.

As the child develops, feelings remain frightening, a threat rather than a friend, an attacker rather than an ally. Feelings and images continue to hold quite nightmarish proportions, and we have a fearful relationship with them, particularly those we receive from other people.

Instead of welcoming feeling as helpful information, we dread what feelings do to us. We dread the physical sensation of a feeling in our body. We don’t know how to receive and then process what is filling our senses; we are the ones who end up drowning.

So, the biggy: what do we do instead?

Here are my own thoughts on that. They are just my thoughts, and I make no claim that they are anything more than thoughts. Still, I hope they maybe have some use.

Supposing we were to do the following: we begin to process and transmute the energy we receive, rather than merely absorb it.

I would suggest that what the world needs, and I am talking spiritually here now, as well as emotionally and psychically, is not more “empaths,” but more “transmuters.”

I’m talking lightworker talk here.

We know, many of us, that everything is light, and that we are beings of light. We know that the only difference between one expression or manifestation of light and another is the frequency at which it vibrates.

Feelings are light energy vibrating. When we absorb, temporarily hold and process, and then re-release energy which has been soothed by our attention and empathic understanding, we change that energy’s vibration. And once you’ve discovered to bring calm attention to another’s out of control vibration, you can become amazingly effective at transmuting energy in that way.

It’s what tuned-in parents do, and what skillful therapists do.

It’s what empaths with muscle do when they have become lightworkers.

So, suppose we were to become what we were meant to be, what we came here to be: lightworkers who know their purpose. Lightworkers who transmute light vibrationally, who can take light that is vibrating at a low frequency and transmutes it into energy vibrating at the highest frequency possible: that of love. Exactly like the parent I described earlier soothing a distressed baby.

We might not have put it in those terms always, but that is what a lightworker does.

A lightworker is an empath with muscle.

In practice, that means we’d cease going around absorbing everyone’s unwanted emotion, and instead we’d start going round learning to tell what’s ours and what is not, and releasing what isn’t ours, with enormous love and understanding and compassion—with true empathy—to the Universe.

We would get smart, we would get knowing, we would become aware. We’d start noticing that feelings that belong to others have a different quality, bring shock and heat and are sudden. And that we can become practiced at knowing the difference.

We’d stop feeling fearful and start being loving instead. Radiating outward such love and compassion that any low vibrational energy with which we come into contact cannot fail to be transmuted into that same frequency of love.

Can you see what that could do? Can you catch the excitement of that? Can you see it? Can you see how a planet where loving souls were consciously transmuting energy they received, that others couldn’t deal with, but which they did know how to deal with, could become transformed?

We would no longer do it by accident, a bit hit and miss. We would do it consciously, in awareness, with purpose. And through that, we would bring enormous power to this planet, and we would keep the flow going.

This is the true gift of an empath, who has been transformed from an identifier into a lightworker.

We’ve served our apprenticeships. Now let’s show the world what we are made of!

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Basics On Training Your Empathic Abilities

Psychic Advice

There are three major forms of psychic abilities: clairvoyance, which in French means “clear seeing” and involves seeing psychic visions; clairaudience, which is hearing psychic messages; and clairsentience, or empathy, which is receiving psychic feelings or impressions. Empathy is the easiest form of psychic information to receive, but it is the hardest to define, because you must be clear about whether what you are feeling is yours, or if you are picking it up from someone, from someplace, or from something else.

People who are empathic are very sensitive to everything and everyone around them, and have often been told that they are “too sensitive”, particularly throughout their childhood. Empaths are heartful, caring, kind people who want to please and make other people happy, and often tend to do volunteer work, or to work in service to others in some way. Empaths can have a tendency to be overweight, particularly in childhood, because they use their weight as a type of shield to protect themselves from other people’s energies.

Empathic people can be “psychic sponges”, picking up and absorbing energy everywhere they go, which is why it is very important for empaths to have strong boundaries of protection. It is absolutely essential for those who are empathic to envision a bubble of white light around them at all times as a psychic shield.

For those who are extremely sensitive, it is even better to imagine layers of boundaries like a rainbow surrounding them, beginning with a layer of red around the body, then a layer of orange surrounding that, then yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and finally a thick layer of white light surrounding all the layers. Those who can be highly emotional may also want to put these rainbow layers around their heart, because empaths tend to experience the world through their heart, which can be challenging and painful.

Empathically sensitive people must be very diligent in cleansing themselves of other people’s energies. One can release energy by using an affirmation such as:

“I am willing to work with all that is mine, and I release all that is not mine”.

It can also be helpful to affirm:

“I am willing to receive all that is for the highest good of all for me to know, and I am protected from all else”.

This will create a filter, so you will only receive information that is important for you to know and act upon.

You can use meditation and visualization for cleansing yourself energetically. You can visualize the doorway to your home and office as a shower of light that washes away all negative energy from all those who pass through it. You can also release negative energies by washing your hands in cold water up to your elbow, or standing barefoot in the grass. Whenever you take a shower, you can envision all negative energy being cleansed from you.

Meditation can also be very helpful for getting centered within yourself and getting to know what is going on within you. The most challenging thing about developing and honing empathic abilities is learning to discern between what feelings, sensations and emotions are yours, and what belongs to someone or something else.

Before you leave your home, take a moment to check in with yourself to determine how you are feeling. Then get a sense of what you feel inside you as you encounter different people and places throughout your day. If you meet a person or a group of people and find yourself feeling suddenly angry, depressed, sad, or agitated, or even having a sudden headache, tension or other aches and pains, then you may be absorbing energy and emotions from others. Ask yourself, “Is this mine?” to determine whether what you are feeling is yours or not.

Always watch out for sudden shifts in your mood or emotions. If you enter a place and suddenly feel tense, uneasy, gloomy, or even frightened, or if you get physical sensations such as chills, gooseflesh, or dizziness, then you are picking up energies from what has transpired there. Places and things absorb energy from the experiences they have “witnessed”, and therefore hold a historic record of significant emotional events. Empaths especially need protection in emotional places, like funerals, cemeteries, haunted buildings, crime scenes, etc. Empaths or clairvoyants can intuitively read the energetic impressions that have embedded themselves in a particular place or thing using the psychic gift of psychometry, which is often employed by psychic detectives.

One of the ways for an empath to read psychic energy is through the hands. Psychometry involves touching an object or photograph to pick up on psychic impressions, which can come in the form of certain feelings, emotions, sensations, visions or quick flashes. Empathic people can also use their hands to read energy from people, making them outstanding healers, nurses, doctors and massage therapists. Empaths can feel when and where energy is flowing harmoniously or inharmoniously, and how to correct and balance it in people, and even in places. Empathic people are also excellent at real estate, interior design, and Feng Shui, because they can pick up on what other people want and need, and what makes others happy or uncomfortable – so they are also ideal matchmakers!

Trust is always key to developing intuition. You must learn to pay attention to the feelings and impressions that you receive wherever you go. You may have a feeling that you don’t want to go into a certain place, or you don’t want to connect with a certain person – always trust that those feelings are there for a reason, whether it makes rational sense to you or not. Remember that intuition does not come from the rational side of the brain, it comes from a place of higher knowing that is meant to guide you and keep you safe, so allow yourself to always trust what you feel.

Source : askgrace.com

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Secondary PTSD

It Didn’t Happen to Me

Nice. Could be of help to explain secondary ptsd or stress reactions

July 5, 1978. It didn’t happen to me. Then why is that date burned into my memory? It didn’t happen to me. So I can’t be upset.

I used to sit on my mother’s lap every single morning while she read the paper. I remember her maneuvering around me to eat her Raisin Bran. Day by day, I grew older and bigger, and every morning I curled up in her lap like I was 2 years old. I was her little buddy and we were inseparable.

I found out about my mother’s rape when I was 11 years old. I don’t think anyone meant to tell me, but it just came up in conversation. It came up in conversation because it was this thing that my mom was living with, like a chronic illness. I truly believe I exhibited signs of secondary PTSD even before I knew of her rape. Together, my mom and I lived in fear. I thought it was normal. We would watch Law & Orderand fall asleep in the same bed every night until I was 12 or 13. We had a state-of-the-art camera system guarding our front door and my bedroom window. We had plans. Plans for natural disasters, plans for wars reaching the small town of Rocklin, a plan for each different motive someone could have for breaking into our house. I thought everyone had escape plans. I never had a second thought about any of it, I just remembered the plans.

When I was 12 I had a crush on a boy with blonde hair. A very short-lived crush, though, because the man who raped my mother was blonde, so I had to stop liking him.

My first thought after I lost my virginity was, “Thank God. No one can steal this from me, now.” I still didn’t think anything was wrong. I just didn’t want it to be stolen like it was stolen from my mom, simple.

For as long as I can remember (up until last year) I would willingly tell you that I would much rather be brutally tortured than raped. Again, I didn’t think anything was abnormal until I said this casually to my therapist. The look on her face told me it wasn’t normal, and it certainly wasn’t healthy.

Nine years after I found out about my mother’s rape, I was diagnosed with PTSD. It was written in my paperwork, as if it were obvious. I exhibit clear signs of depression. My symptoms are typical for someone with clinical depression. And right below “major depressive disorder” was “post-traumatic stress disorder.” I thought it was a mistake. It didn’t happen to me; it happened to my mother. I asked for clarification. I actually asked in a way that was supposed to be me politely correcting their mistake. They informed me I exhibited signs of PTSD, and the symptoms I was seeing the doctor for (nightmares, trouble sleeping, lack of self worth, plummeting self esteem) were all in line with a diagnosis of PTSD. I was confused. So of course, I Googled it.

Headlines included “Partners of Veterans with PTSD” and “Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Statistics Increase with War Victims.” It’s a real thing. And it explains it all perfectly. I went to the doctor after a particularly traumatic event occurred in my life. The event can only be described as verbal abuse, nothing physical, but apparently it was just enough to set me off and ease me back into a state of depression, a state of trauma, and a state in which I never slept without being attacked in my nightmares.

The only thing I am guilty of in this situation is loving. I love my mother above all else. Knowing that she has not had a single day of relief in the past 37 years enrages me. It brings out a version of myself I didn’t know existed. The man who raped my mother is not the only guilty one; it is the people surrounding her in the ’70s who convinced her not to get help, and that it was possible for her to be blamed for what happened to her. A 19-year-old version of my mother listened. Day by day, over the last 37 years, those wounds grew deeper and poisoned the innocent young girl living inside. My mother, a loving mother, has a cold side. A streak. A sadness. As much as we wish to help it heal, to nurture and make her feel safe, it is 37 years too late.

The most tragic part of this story isn’t even what happened to my mother. It is the horrifying fact that 37 years later, more women are being raped (or at least more rapes are being reported). More victims (both men and women) are asked, “Well, what were you wearing?” “Were you drinking?” “Did you provoke him (or her)?”

By the time I was 20 years old I knew seven women who were raped. I am now 21. That count is up to nine. Each time I find out I cry. I become hysterical. While one of my friends was telling me her story, I was crying and she was not. I found out about another one for someone I didn’t even consider to be a friend. I cried hysterically for several hours. Each time I cry over someone else’s pain I have to remind myself that it may not have happened to me, but something else is happening to me. It may be a lesser pain, a less vivid pain, but it is equally real. Each time I cry because there are people out there who think my tears are coming from me simply being dramatic. I cry because it is still happening 37 years later. I cry because seeing the people I love go through the pain my mother goes through kills me.

My advice to you is to feel your feelings completely. If it happened to a friend, a third cousin twice removed, a parent, an ex-best friend, a stranger, it doesn’t matter. The way you feels matters. It doesn’t matter why you feel the way you do; all that matters is what you feel. It is legitimate. Do not let anyone ever tell you, you are not allowed to feel something because it didn’t happen to you. I live in fear everyday for something that didn’t happen to me. I live in fear over something that happened thirty-seven years ago, seventeen years before I was even alive. And I can tell you the only way I began to heal is to accept that fact that my PTSD is not only legitimate, it is a part of my life.

It has to end. It didn’t happen to me, and it can’t happen to anyone else. So please join me, feel your emotions deeply. Cry for the ones you love. Cry for the ones who are hurt. And fight with me. Fight so a daughter will never have to feel this way again. Fight so a friend will never have to feel this way again. Fight to end an epidemic that hurts more than just meets the eye.

Listen. Report. Ask. Care. And for everyone’s sake, as a favor to humanity, and me, please stop victim blaming.

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Studies Link Social Anxiety To High IQs, Empathetic Ability, & Sentinel Intelligence

A passive aggressive news report from the Daily Mail titled “Spiritual people are more likely to be mentally ill (but at least they think life has more meaning)” took a jab at spiritual people as if to say “They’re crazy, but at least they think life is more important to them”.

A report by The Telegraph also covered the same story, claiming that spiritual people struggle to cope with things mentally.  Now, could it be possible that the reason spiritually-minded people have more mental health issues and anxiety problems is not because they are looney, but because they are more connected to what is happening in the world?

What if they are more aware of the things that are wrong with society and are more connected to the suffering in the world?  What if an anxious mind is a searching and connected mind? A very important study came out a few years ago linking social anxiety to increased empathetic abilities.  People who report suffering from social anxiety have an increased ability to feel and interpret the emotions and mental states of people around them.  As the study concluded:

Results support the hypothesis that high socially anxious individuals may demonstrate a unique social-cognitive abilities profile with elevated cognitive empathy tendencies and high accuracy in affective mental state attributions.

In other words, people who have social anxiety are able to more tangibly feel the emotions of people around them.  Many many people who consider themselves to be “conscious” or “spiritual” also report feeling social anxiety and experience things like depression and other mental disorders. But as it turns out, people who suffer from anxiety may also be more intelligent.

Studies link anxiety to intelligence

One research study out of Lakehead University discovered that people with anxiety scored higher on verbal intelligence tests.  People who reported having General Anxiety Disorder and depression actually scored higher on verbal-linguistic testing.  Another study conducted by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel found that people with anxiety were better than others at maintaining directed focus while overcoming a primary threat as they are being bombarded by numerous other smaller threats, thereby significantly increasing their chances of survival.

What’s interesting is that the same research team also discovered that people with anxiety showed signs of “sentinel intelligence”, meaning they were able to detect real threats that were not yet detectable to others (i.e. test participants with anxiety were able to detect the smell of smoke long before others in the group).  Is it possible that anxiety is actually an evolutionary advantage?  Could anxiety act as a biological superpower that helps us solve problems, avoid threats, and detect danger?

Another research study from the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York revealed that people with severe cases of GAD (general anxiety disorder) had much higher IQ’s than those who had more mild cases. The theory is that “an anxious mind is a searching mind,” meaning that people with anxiety are constantly analyzing, assessing, formulation ideas, reflecting, and processing information.

As Dr. Jeremy Coplan said about his study, “While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be.”  So once again, we have evidence that people with “mental health disorders” are actually more intelligence on average.

And as mentioned previously, a recent study  found that people with social anxiety exhibit elevated mentalizing and empathetic abilities.  Essentially, they have a much higher psycho-social awareness.

What this means

Yes, people who are spiritually minded tend to suffer from anxiety and depression more.  But this is because their eyes are open to a world that is in need of repair.  They literally have an increased ability to feel the emotions of people around them.

Not to mention, the same people that are assumed to be crazy for having social anxiety and other mental disorders test higher on certain intelligence tests, IQ tests, and have an evolutionary advantage in being able to detect threats before other people.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t people who can accurately feel, interpret, and mentalize the thoughts and emotions of others and detect threats before other people called ‘intuitives’ and ‘psychics’?  Could it be possible that having social anxiety and general anxiety disorder is NOT actually a disorder but is a product of having a stronger intuition, more accurate interpretations on people’s states, a sensitive energy field, and an increased ability to detect danger?

These scientific studies shine a whole new light on spirituality and social anxiety.  Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel, and don’t let anyone call you crazy because of it.  Perhaps what we are calling a disorder is actually a gift.

Steven Bancarz

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The Wounded Healer

Empathetic people often try to heal the wounds of the most challenging characters and then feel very upset when they get kicked.

Remember that your job is to shine your light and be the Mona Lisa smile in the Universe rather than force awareness on those who have the equal right to sit in the shade.

All are beautiful and take the journey when and if they are ready

~ Veronica Farmer