I am surprised by how many people consider themselves an empath because I used to consider this a rare thing. However, in a way, it’s reassuring to all of us to know that there’s more “sensitivity” out there than we realize. So I feel disheartened when a highly empathic person is experiencing burnout and retracts from their fullness. This is why I want to address the three stages of being an empath. So that you no longer see empathy as a problem but as one of your biggest superpowers.
First of all, what is an empath?
In a world where everyone is so concerned about their own problems, you as an empath are naturally able to hold space for other people to share their pain with you. Most people don’t get that kind of acceptance for their emotions. So, in holding that space for them, you’re able to relate to them in a way where they feel like you “get” them and they can count on you for emotional support.
As a result, you attract a lot of emotionally dependent people and seem to get even the most unfamiliar strangers to share their deepest secrets because they seem to trust you.
In other words, you can walk in most people’s shoes – you’re kind of the exemplification to the phrase, one-size-fits-all.
It’s different from sympathy where you are feeling bad for someone. Empathy is about validating another’s experience without fuelling the victim archetype. You get where they’re coming from, but you don’t enable their sadness. You instead have a natural way of elevating them to a higher perspective.
Many people consider empaths as “naturally gifted” or as born healers.
This becomes a problem for many empaths because they tend to get drained after such healing effects. They begin to see how deeply and intensely this relating to someone else can affect their own energy. And they want nothing to do with it, but they don’t know how to make it go away!
Using the explanation of the three broad stages of being an empath, I’d like to help you understand how holding our empath abilities back works against our spiritual development. And if we learn how to master our empathy as a superpower, it actually works for us.
The Three Stages of Being An Empath
Stage One: The Unaware Empath
At our autopilot, unconscious best, we are constantly absorbing from the world around us. Even those that don’t speak the spiritual lingo casually say things like “bad vibes” or “negative energy”.
It’s because whether we sharpen our skills or not, we all are fundamentally connected. It’s a collective consciousness, which means we can all feel each other’s emotions to some degree. As independent and “self-made” as we consider ourselves to be, we are all an indispensable part of the grand scheme of all life.
It’s like a stone dropping in clear water – the ripple effect goes on and touches every water droplet for lengths!
But the problem arises when empaths take on too much without knowing what’s happening and they experience a lot of mood swings and inner tug of war every time they try to help someone else. I like calling it the emotional sponge effect.
You tend to soak it all in – the good and the bad from a conversation, without realizing what’s yours to deal with and what wasn’t even yours, to begin with.
We might spend decades being this way until something finally shakes us awake.
Stage Two: The Retracted Empath
At this stage, you begin to have a sense of the different ways in which you’re absorbing other people’s energy. It’s normal for you to retract when you see how harmful something is for you.
So at this point, as a retracted empath, it’s common to think of thoughts like:
- “I care for everyone too much”;
- “I’m the only one that has to understand everybody”;
- “Why can’t people get me like I get them”;
- “I love helping people but I hate being around them”;
And so on. This is the ego-mind waking up roaring as a means to protect you. Nothing wrong with that, but if you keep buying into these thoughts, you will find yourself distancing from the people you used to love being around.
Spirituality 101? Anything that creates more separation in your heart or mind is the ego.
While you don’t need to absorb everything and feel bad about it, you also don’t need to “protect” yourself. There’s nothing to protect if you’re fully aware of the energy and flow of your spirit. This is another one of those “spiritual myths” that is distracting us from stepping into our superpower.
But then how do you develop an awareness of your energy and tune into the flow of your spirit?
- Get used to the idea that you’re susceptible to absorption. Instead of denying or running away from this experience, understand that it’s something we need to accept so that it can be managed.
- A good way to manage this is to practice clearing your energy at the end of every interaction (or at least before you go to bed). Here’s a free, powerful self-healing tool to help you release anything that’s not yours.
- Empower other people by not becoming an emotional crutch for them. While you sit there and hold space for their pain, don’t try to sweep in and save them. This is how they’ll learn it’s okay to cry, but that you’re not the only one that can wipe their tears.
- Also, practice being more in the body, and less in the mind. When we’re running away from our own pain, we tend to escape and go into our headspace. But if you can be more “present” in the now, you become hyperaware of the slightest changes in the flow of your energy. And then, it becomes easier to not guess or carry that energy back home with you. You clear it as it comes.
- How do you do that? Initially, it helps to work with someone that can guide you through different embodiment practices and teach you a new way of living. Who can you work with? I’d love to serve you! You can apply for a complimentary call with me here if you’d like to. Or you can work with whoever you resonate with, along those lines.
- Use crystals, take salt baths, and ground your energy back into Mother Earth. You know, the whole spiritual 101 stuff.
The Powerful Empath
If you’re the rare type of person that understands the pain and has mastered how to transmute it, you are finally able to step into the true power of being an empath. You are a superhero.
For such people, they can be a beautiful coach, healer, or therapist because they are able to hold space for all healing – theirs and those around them. Because they were willing to do their inner work, they were able to help everyone around them dispel the darkness.
They are no longer afraid of being ‘hit’ by the wave of emotion. They know it’s there for a reason, and they have all the right tools and mindset to deal with it.
Wasn’t that the whole point of ‘waking up‘?
We need more such people. Are you ready to be one of them?
If we keep ‘protecting’ ourselves, not only are we digging our own spiritual grave, we are doing a disservice to the collective consciousness.
A simple example I’ve seen of this is in some of my clients. When I clear some of my stuff, it automatically clears something in them. So many times, it wasn’t a logic that needed to be shared, it was a transcendence of energy that was required.
We don’t need to talk sense into people, because most people already know what they should do. But we need to exemplify how to do it without rejecting the parts of us that are hurting or aren’t perfect.
And when you get to do more of that, it is the most gratifying and fulfilling experience you can imagine! Imagine having that kind of impact on every person, in every conversation? Yes. I see that for you. And I hope you will choose to put on your superhero cape now.
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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