When I worked as a CNA, death was a part of the job. I hated it. I loved caring for the residents. Holding their hand in their final hours was an incredible honor and privilege. Their families though, I couldn’t seem to face. Their grief was like a blanket. Thick, heavy, inevitable. Each time I was in their presence I couldn’t hardly look at them. I couldn’t offer any kind words. I was helpless, because they were helpless. I’d care for their loved one with great respect, as if he or she were my own family. It never felt like enough. I’d bring meals, snacks, brew fresh coffee. Bring them blankets and pillows, geri-chairs if we had any available so they could stretch their legs and rest. Mostly, I left the comforting to my coworkers, and avoided the families. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t handle it as well as my co workers. Why was it so incredibly overwhelming for me? Because I’m an empath!
When we show empathy, we can place ourselves in another person’s shoes and understand how they feel. An empath not only understands how the other feels, but we take it on ourselves. How it manifests may differ from person to person.
There are so many signs of being an empath. No list is all encompassing. You may not relate to all of these symptoms, or you may experience them differently. I think this list will give you a good idea of what an empathic person might experience on a day to day basis.
~you are an overly sensitive person
~anxiety/social anxiety and feeling awkward in social situations
~you get overwhelmed in crowds
~strong first impressions
~you know when someone is lying or untrustworthy
~you value truth
~it seems as if people come out of the woodwork, tell you personal things and their life story.
~you feel like you need to “fix” people and situations. Want to make life easier for people
~you notice everything!
~you have a hard time saying “no”
~you can’t watch the news, or emotional tv shows or movies
~you are sensitive to sounds and/or lights
~you are a free spirit, creative, don’t fit into the norm
~care deeply about people’s comfort, feelings and happiness
~you feel other people’s joy, despair, happiness
~fatigue, tired feel worn down all the time.
~you’re an introvert
~you tend to take on the emotions that surround you. You get angry around angry people, etc.
So, I’m an Empath, now what?
Most live life without ever understanding why they don’t enjoy shopping or going to the fair. Anxiety and introversion is the name of the game, which provides a barrier between the outside world and themselves. We are not going to go that route. We’ve been heading that way too long, time to live some life!!
First things we have to come to terms that this is our life. Accept and acknowledge our truth. We are empathic, we are sensitive band emotional and it’s okay! We are gonna take the bull by the horns!
Second, by being mindful we will start to recognize which emotion is our own, what is coming from our environment, and what is coming from other people. Take a break, deep breaths, try to quiet your mind and process. Are you angry, or is someone else? Are YOU frantic? Happy, sad, anxious, furious, envious, etc. When we learn to recognize our own emotions and separate them from what we are actually experiencing.
Third, recognize situations we will most certainly experience empath overload and take precautions. Common places that have a thick mixture of conflicting emotions: WALMART is hell on earth! Concerts, fairs, festivals, malls, busy restaurants, school events, work meetings, church, family gatherings, etc etc etc. Use the tools that work for you.
Empath overload isn’t fun. Mind fog, inability to think clearly, headache, feeling entirely overwhelmed and distracted, easy to anger, panic attacks, feeling like you just gotta get out of there, hyperfocusing, emotional overload. These symptoms are what I experience and are very typical of an empaths response to overwhelming environments.
Start a journal, start being a little bit more mindful. Figure out your triggers. That is the first step in taking back your energy. Next blog post will be all about the woo-woo ways I have gotten a handle on my sensitive and empathetic side.
LOVE AND LIGHT!! ❤