What was your reaction to Deanna Troi’s name and image? I bet those of you who are empaths, and who watched TV in the late 80′s, had an immediate and positive reaction to the name and the photo of action figure above. Deanna Troi was the character of the half-Betazoid empath and the ship’s counsellor, from Star Trek’s “Next Generation” portrayed by actor Marina Sirtis.
Why do I think empaths probably like or at least identify with Deanna Troi? Because, as far as I know, she’s the only one of our “kind” that has really been portrayed in pop-culture for who she really is.
I still remember my own shock of self-recognition when I saw Deanna Troi’s character on TV. Even though sadly it took almost two decades since I first saw her for me to determine that empaths actually existed, and that I was in fact one, somehow instinctly, even at that time, I totally identified with her and knew that I was the same kind of being.
I knew I could pick up other people’s emotional stuff like she did. In fact, I felt this was such an obvious thing about me, that as soon as my friends saw her empathy character and thought about me, that I would be “outed” as an empath. I guess that was wishful thinking, because of course that never happened.
It warms the cockles of my heart to know that in the future on TV, society is open enough that empaths are not only recognized, but are applauded for using their abilities. But since we don’t live in a utopian Star Trek world yet, we still have a ways to go in recognizing empathy and how valuable a skill it is.
In the hopes of helping other empaths get an earlier start recognizing and using their empathic gifts, I’m posting a series of interviews with other empaths. Most of these empaths work using their skills in a professional capacity, using their empathy consciously to help others.
I’m hoping their personal experiences, and insights can inspire unconscious empaths, to start down the road of being able to use your gifts, and being able to love yourselves for the wonderful beings you are.
I’d love other empaths to first realize that they are in fact empaths, and secondly, that there are tools that can help them manage this gift of empathy.
What is an “empath” exactly?
I use the word “empath” in for these posts to describe emotional empathy, an ability that is also sometimes this is referred to as “clairsentience”. I am using the term “empath”, since clairsentience is very broad, and refers to many ways of intuitive “knowing”. The term “empath” is not well defined, since of course most people don’t even know or acknowledge that it is exists.
Emotional empathy is likely the kind of empathy most people are familiar with. (According to some empath experts there are many kinds of empathy (eg. spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, etc). Rose Rosetree has written several excellent books explaining these in more detail.)
Emotional empaths have the ability to constantly feel the emotions of anyone they encounter, without even trying. This means 24/7, 365 days a year, emotional empaths feel what everyone else is feeling.
When you are an empath, you are born an empath, and you cannot change that fact about yourself. You are always “on” unless you learn how to turn yourself “off”. Unconscious empaths are like great big emotional lint collectors, hanging out in the world unwittingly collecting everyones’ emotional lint.
As you can imagine, with the accumulation of these unbidden emotions, after awhile (about 8 hours after you’ve waken up) this starts to feels really horrible. Unless you have the awareness and some simple techniques (like spritzing with salt water) to clear others emotions which have collected on you and which you can feel in your own physical body, they end up affecting your own energetic field.
Not only do empaths pick up emotions from other people and animals, particularly any person or animal in pain, but empaths are naturally sensitive to violence or pain on TV, movies, and in the news. Even watching, and not directly experiencing, violence and emotional drama emotionally affects empaths as if it was actually happening to them. Since this is not “rational”, other non-empaths have a hard time understanding the impact of these things on empaths, and assume that they are exaggerating or just being dramatic.
You may have been told while you were growing up that you are “overly-sensitive”, “moody” or a “cry baby”.
How Do I Turn This Thing Off?
For many empaths, this means that they have no idea what is happening to them every day, or that they can choose any other way of being. In fact, you are likely have always existed in some type of emotional “pain” yourself unless you have been lucky enough to have another person recognize that you are an empath and show you how to turn yourself “off”, or somehow you have figured out ways of turning yourself “off”. If you are an unconscious empath, when you are instinctively figuring out ways to turn yourself “off”, there is a very good chance that what you come up with, is self-harming in some way.
You may figure out that if become a hermit, turn your emotions off completely, or overeat until you are 500 pounds, that you can lessen the effect of this unwanted emotion from others. While these behaviours may offer some relief, they are obviously not healthy in any way in any kind of long-term situation.
There is hope and help! There are simple things you can learn to do (clear others emotions, ground, reconnect with your own emotions, visualizations). You will see in the interviews that follow, there are many empaths that are using their skills consciously in their daily lives, and to help others. Some of these empaths have developed techniques and programs to help other empaths learn to become conscious and help them achieve emotional freedom.
Empath -You Are Not The Only One!
The moment I realized there were others like me, I just wanted to cry with relief. It was so comforting to know that there were others like me, and that there was a name for what I was. Growing up, I had always just thought (and been told) that I was an over-sensitive, overly emotional, roller coaster wreck of a emotional person. I felt like my uncontrollable emotions ran my life, and tried everything I could to suppress them. But nothing worked, as I didn’t know what I needed to do.
To find out that I was an empath, and that I could claim this power for myself in a conscious way, was a huge shift in how I thought about myself. It changed the way I viewed myself and how I felt about my entire life had been, until that moment. While I always knew I was sensitive and what everyone around me was feeling, I never made the connection with how that affected my own emotions. I never realized that those unwanted emotions affected my life so radically. It wasn’t until I started reading some books about empathy, that I realized the extent that I had always been influenced by others emotions.
The fact that it took me so long to know who I really am, makes me eager to help others to claim this gift for themselves sooner than I did. I’d love for other empaths to throw off the shackles of judgment that they have been experiencing for their whole lives. I want other unconscious empaths to know that there is emotional freedom waiting for you, and healthy ways of integrating your empathy into your life successfully.
Empaths R Us, and “feeling” other people can be one of the best super-powers.
Are you a practicing conscious empath or just starting to recognize yourself? Please share your experiences in the comments.
As an empath I can feel the “real” you. I can help you remember how to feel yourself too, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a reading.