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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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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

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The Wounded Child Archetype

Light Attributes

Awakens compassion and desire to serve other Wounded Children.

Opens the learning path of forgiveness.

Shadow Attributes

Blames all dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds.

Resists moving on through forgiveness.

The Wounded Child archetype holds the memories of the abuse, neglect, and other traumas that we have endured during childhood.

This may be the pattern people relate to the most, particularly since it has become the focus of therapy. The Wounded Child is accepted as a major culprit in the analysis of adult suffering.

The painful experiences of the Wounded Child archetype often awaken a deep sense of compassion and a desire to find a path of service aimed at helping other Wounded Children.

From a spiritual perspective, a wounded childhood cracks open the learning path of forgiveness.

The Shadow Aspect

The shadow aspect may manifest as an abiding sense of self-pity, a tendency to blame your parents for your current shortcomings and to resist moving on through forgiveness.

Evaluation

Choosing the Wounded Child suggests that you credit the painful and abusive experiences of your childhood with having a substantial influence on your adult life. Many people blame their Wounded Child, for instance, for all their subsequent dysfunctional relationships.

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