Another form of self defense for the empath is learning what triggers you and why. It is in this frame of mind that most empaths will find their path. You can’t change the fact you’re an empath – so in a sense – your journey will begin, as many do, with acceptance. I’ve seen what can happen to those who live in denial of being an empath. In my own life – I felt I was a constant victim. In my case, lack of knowledge that was the culprit. I had no idea what an empath was or what it meant to be one. My path became owning that in whatever form I experienced it in. Seeing what denial could do to my life and others lives – I made the conscious choice to develop my abilities and grow with them. The end result means that I can share it all with you:)

I mentioned feeling like a constant victim. It didn’t matter where I was or who I was with.. I wasn’t happy and I didn’t know who I was. I only felt ‘myself’ when I was alone and that wasn’t often. My teen years were most telling in this respect. I ended up in therapy a few times trying to sort out all my feelings and find myself. After my first son was born (20) I found a psychotherapist and we worked hard together to organize what was going on inside of me. Psychotherapy gave me a way to enable myself… to take action… examine and trace everything I was going through at any given time. Enabling yourself is the KEY to not being a victim of your abilities. The rest is growth.

Step One

Learn to observe your emotions ALL the time.

I know this can be exhausting at first but once you get the hang of it – it’ll become second nature.

Step Two

Learn to ask whether what you’re feeling is truly yours.

Again, tough when you’re feeling upset. It’s important at this stage to VALIDATE whatever you are feeling without judgment whether it’s yours or not. Why? Discover the importance for yourself;)

Step Three

Choose… learn to make a choice on how you really want to feel – or what is yours to keep.

This is the ‘enablement’ part. You have a choice, you always have. You just may not have known you did. That’s what free will is all about. You may not be able to choose to be empathic or not… but you can decide what you do with it and how it will affect you.

Step Example:

  • Step One: I feel hurt and angry. I don’t understand why. I will understand why.
  • Step Two.. Is it mine? (No – give it to Creator) (Yes – give it to Creator and ask for help in understanding)
  • Step Three… I can choose not to let this anger grow. I choose to understand it and move past it.

This is a very simplified version of what kind of dialogue you can use to help yourself. It does take practice. It doesn’t happen right away and you may not be able to move past whatever emotion you’re experiencing right away. But if you persevere and keep centered on Creator and not the emotion… you will learn.

Part of what causes that drowning feeling that empaths experience is the emotion becomes ‘all important’. That, in effect, drains energy from other areas of your life and places it all in that emotion. That’s how you become your own victim. Giving the whole thing a process changes that… makes it a permissive thing instead.

In effect what this does is ferret out all your personal internal buttons – giving you a chance to see them, accept them, work with them and clear them so they can’t be used against you. In a sense, you become your own healer. It won’t really matter what you get hit with – you will be able to handle it. Much like a martial arts philosophy.

I hold a black belt in Taekwondo. I’ve mentioned it here a few times but it leads in to what I want to say here;) While training in martial arts I learned something very important – a perspective on victimization that has made all the difference in my life. I didn’t really learn it from any person… more from observing sparring and my own reactions to confrontation. The perspective is this: everything you’re given is a gift. If an attacker sticks out their arm – you can see it one of two ways.

1. “Oh no, they’re going to hurt me.”

2. ‘Thank you – that’s something I can use.’

The difference in perspective could mean a black eye – broken shoulder or your life. The first is a victim – the second, a warrior.

When people asked why I got into martial arts I told them it was so I’d never have to use it. Some understood that… others just crossed their eyes – LOL. Your would be attacker isn’t your challenge – being afraid is. Common sense dictates that you don’t walk in a dark alley just because you know a bit of self defense. But – were I to be in a situation that may require me to defend myself – I’m quite able to now. No telling if I’d win LOL – but I do have the ability to choose because now I have some skill.

What this did for me empathically was amazing to me! I dislike confrontation of any kind. Justified or not – it’s literally painful for me. I hadn’t realized how protective of that fear I’d become – protective of myself. Because confrontation was painful to me – I didn’t feel I had any choice in the matter (victim mentality) If someone were confrontational to me – I was hurt but never did anything about it because it would mean pain for me if I did. Now, along the way – I learned a lot about diplomacy, mind you. But I needed another choice. In the physical world – now I know I could DO something about it. That enable choice and the fear disappeared. This lesson has translated to other areas and aspects of my life… but most notably in how my empathy expresses itself. I still dislike confrontation and seldom get in either physical or word fights but it’s not because of avoidance anymore. It’s because I choose. And that’s made all the difference.

)O(

How to handle being an Empath

Your Emotional state

One of the largest parts of being a functioning Empath, is to train your mind to handle not only your own emotional state, but those of others. Notice I say a “functioning”Empath, as there are two kinds, one who is in control of the data that you find yourself the recipient of, and one who is not in control of it.

As stated in lesson one, first and foremost is knowing ones own mind and emotional state. This is critical, as otherwise you cannot be 100% certain if what you are feeling, is or is Not your own. So that being the case, a few practical ways to get to that understanding. In the current day parlance, this is often called your “emotional intelligence”.

Helen Keller once said “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” meaning, is not just what we feel, it’s what we think that also matters. So first off, lets understand a few basic realities about the thing we call emotion.

Emotions control your thinking:

It’s a plain fact, that what we “feel” influences how we think. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, if what we are “feeling” is something outside of our own life events, we could very well react to, and make life choices, based on something that is not our own.

Example:

We are at the doctors office, sitting there in that silly paper gown, waiting for the doctor. Suddenly, we feel fear and embarrassment. Now, if this is not your normal reaction to being in this position, and you are not aware of your own thoughts, and are picking up someone else’s fears, you could very well develop your own feelings of embarrassment and fear in this situation, and start avoiding your doctor on account of it. Know your own thoughts, and feelings so you can identify what is, and is not your own thoughts.

Emotions control your body response:

Example:

We are present when an accident happens, now, if we just “feel” their shock and pain, our mind will react with as much bodily distress as if we are the ones injured, and we will therefore, tend to become just as incapacitated as they are … or we can empathize with it, and use that inner knowledge to help them, without being overwhelmed ourselves, by events outside ourselves. Gain some distance from events, to prevent being traumatized, but not so much as to leave you disconnected, at a time when that intuitive understanding, could be a very helpful use of your empathy.

Just as an FYI, we have, in our brain, literally, things called mirror neurons, which means we can see an event and feel that event, in exacts, a direct duplication, ( yeah, they finally have proved what we have always known : ) … but knowing this is useful, as such knowledge helps you to accept that,
Yes you ARE feeling it, literally. Bone fide proof for empathy, at a brain level, that is measurable.

Emotions are influenced by our beliefs:

Re: the statement of Helen Keller, “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” What this means is, if we believe for example, that to be in the presence of an “angry” person is to experience hurt, and we feel this way due to someone who abused us in the past, we are walking around with the notion that to feel anger is “bad”, or something to be afraid of. Neither of course is the case, as anger is a normal, and very common human emotional state and we must realize we are allowing our thoughts to color our perception of the events.

As we think, so we are, our thoughts control our reality, so it is just as imperative to fully understand what we believe, and why we believe it. This can mean quite a bit of “soul” searching, with the help of a competent professional if need be, but understand, that what we “perceive” about a thing, is often more real to us, than reality. An Empath must be well versed in their own beliefs and perceptions.

Emotional reactions are not things that just happen:

Other than automatic reactions, that insure our survival ( fight or flight responses) your emotional state is always something you can control. This one is hard to accept, as emotional states just seem to … happen ! Well to a point, they do, but how we react to them however, is entirely and totally up to us. This is what we can, and must control most of the time. We need the ability to step back from our emotions, and freeze the moment … and look at it totally dispassionately, and to hold on to that moment as long as you have to, but do not just “react” blindly.

You need a perspective that is not emotionally blinded, either your own, or from outside influences, and once you have that, you can often see ways of handling whatever the situation is, that got your emotions all riled up to start with.

Most negative emotions are based on fear:

Lots of these, and most of them are not even on a conscious level. Fears of being alone, unknowns, ridicule, financial worries, aging, death, and so on, and so on … the list is almost endless, and is as individual as you are, and these “fears” effect how we think and thereby, what we do. But in order to overcome these fears, you have to be aware of them, which means you have to first admit you even have the fears to begin with.

No outside event can change these feelings, you can be with someone, and still feel alone, you can have lots of money, but still worry over funds … so it’s not events, it’s what we think and feel, and therefore fear, tjhat we must face and overcome. This of course, is especially helpful if you are trying to help someone else deal with their negative emotional state, to know that you need to look for and find, what is their fear ?

Feel your emotions, do not just analyze them:

We are very often, afraid of our feelings. We are taught in society that to show strong emotions, is a sign of weakness or loss of control. We apologize if we “break down” and cry. Listen to your thoughts, feel your feelings, you have them for a reason. Write them down if that helps, keep a diary of feelings for a while, and figure out your own thought patterns.

Don’t pre-judge them as you write them up, by that I mean don’t hesitate to write down the “little” things, all the petty thoughts and minor hurts that we tend to hide, even from ourselves, as they are too “small” to worry about.

Nothing is too small, all those little hurts are more to blame for any negative emotional state we find oursevles in than the “big” issues. We can often handle the big stuff, but shove the annoyances, under the mental rug, where they have a nasty habit of becoming monsters, does an event like “Columbine” ring a bell ? This kind of emotional gunny sacking is not only damaging, it can be downright dangerous, as when that sack full of “petty” hurts blows up, generally, someone’s gonna get hurt.

Detail what you feel, and use real words, don’t generalize saying.. oh.. I’m feeling Sad today, figure out exactly why you are sad. ( Sadness is another mask for anger by the way, and anger is just another way to say … I am afraid … so we are back to identifying fears again ) Is it the weather, your spouse, the kids, money issues, health issues, what is at the root of your fears ?

One of the easiest ways to get at the root of your emotionallity is to find a quite place, and just be for a while, meditate, and let the mind run, emotions and all. Let the mind within talk to you, as you will often find out a great deal more about yourself this way, than any analytical process you could do. As a Neil Diamond song said once, “don’t think … feel”.

Emotional changes, tracking down the source:

As before, it all starts with knowing your own mind, and your state of emotions at all times. Then comes recognition … the point when you know something has changed. Look back in the mind, what were you thinking just prior to the state you now find yourself in ? Are they related ? If your current “feelings”and your most recent thought process, are not related, you can just about assume the thought is not your own.

Note when this sudden event took place, where were you ? What were you doing ? Were you thinking of someone in particular? (In which case you may have a combination of empathy and clairvoyance going on, as it might well be “that” persons feelings your feeling)

Once you have tracked it down, and have figured out … no, this was not me, take a mental snap shot of that event, so that the next time it happens, you will be quicker to notice it and follow it. This takes practice as you might assume, but it can be done.

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