Are you a super feeler? You might be an empath. In this podcast (originally recorded on August 6, 2020), we discuss the amazing benefits of your gift of sensitivity and some helpful ways of understanding how to stay in that compassionate vibe without absorbing other people’s stuff.

Empaths are people who are sensitive to the feelings, energies, and emotional states of others. Empaths deeply feel the energies of others, and they have a highly developed degree of compassion and concern for the world at large.

Empaths are super people! You’ve got a superpower, and your superpower is to understand and know what is happening energetically and emotionally for other people. You have deep compassion and empathy for others. You might be very sensitive to what is happening with your energy, other people’s energy, and the world’s energy.

That means you have a whole bunch of highly positive skill sets, such as a very advanced intuition, an ability to work with the energies of nature, and being naturally gifted with energy healing and Reiki.

Being an empath helps you to really understand, in a very deep, visceral way, what energy feels like inside your body and outside of your body.

When you use energy healing methods like Reiki, you learn how to move that energy in a way that benefits you for self-healing. You can also use your highly developed senses to help others with it.

There’s a ton of really important gifts that empaths have, but sometimes with feeling so much, you are very, very sensitive to the disconnection, to the harm, to the really painful experiences that are happening within the world. And sometimes, you can get swamped with emotion and absorb emotions that are not yours. You’re just sort of feeling everything all of the time and getting overwhelmed by all of the things.

And so what I love about Reiki is that I learned these tools to stay connected and grounded and centred within myself. And over time, I’ve cultivated this ability to stay in a very stable energy field and give myself permission to stay out of other people’s energies.

One of the questions that sort of arose from our conversations was, “How can I be supportive without taking on what other people feel?

When we’re highly sensitive people, sometimes we equate caring with being entangled in somebody else’s well-being. And taking on their emotions, or feeling with them, we equate that with compassion. And we think that to not jump right in and dive into their emotion and be in it with them is to be withholding compassion and concern.

But I would advocate the opposite, that it’s actually a selfish thing because when you jump into somebody else’s pain and feel it as though it’s your own, it decreases your ability to act and decreases your ability to hold space for people who are in various states of pain and disruption.

Give yourself permission to stay out of other people’s energies!

Taking a step back, actually empowers both of you because then you’re each better able to stay clear. If you’re in their stuff, they’re also in yours! It is basically a beautiful vote of confidence in that other person’s ability to solve their own problems. It’s a way of seeing that person as not pitiful and needing your rescuing, but instead seeing them as strong, as confident, as capable, and really shining a light on their best qualities. Stepping back gives them freedom and space to create solutions for themselves.

Empathic Distress vs Empathic Concern

One of the most important concepts in finding a new way of protecting our sensitive strengths is the difference between empathic distress and empathic concern. And it’s basically where you are standing.

So when we step into somebody else’s shoes, and feel their distress or their pain as though it was our own, it puts us in a state of distress. That’s called empathic distress.

We feel their pain because we’re standing in the same energetic space as them. We’ve basically almost projected ourselves into their feet. That’s a very distressing thing because you’re feeling all of your own emotions and theirs at the same time.

Empathic concern is basically the step back into yourself. You energetically take a step back and stand within yourself. Your spiritual energy and your physical energy are located in the same space. You are back within your bubble, your aura, and the other person is in their own bubble as well.

It’s okay if you’re in empathic distress! Be gentle!

I think that step out of ourselves is a very normal natural thing to do, especially as empaths. We tend to understand love, connection, harmony, and all the positive, joyful emotions because they are natural to us.

But we don’t understand cruelty, pain, and suffering. We don’t understand how somebody could be hurtful to another person. And so, in our attempt to understand it, we step into it. It’s an information-gathering exercise.

It’s okay to step into somebody else’s shoes. It’s motivated by a wish to understand. But it’s very, very important that as soon as you’ve got that understanding or awareness that you are outside of yourself, to take that energetic step back inside.

Part of the reason that’s difficult is that we’re trained that stepping into somebody else’s shoes is noble. And that to take a step back can be equated with being unfeeling or callous. That somehow, we are retreating or distancing ourselves from the person. But nothing could be further from the truth. As sensitive, caring people, you can’t turn off caring. You’re going to care regardless.

But what happens when you take that step back into yourself is you keep the compassion. It’s a compassionate move. You care just as much when you’re standing inside yourself as you did when you were stepped in the other person’s shoes.

When you step back into yourself, your spiritual energy, and the energy within your physical body are now lined up. So instead of your energy being diffused and maybe in 100 different places, you have all of your energy lined up inside you. Your reference point, your viewpoint, of where you are sitting, is inside, not outside. When your spiritual chakras and energy are lined up with your physical body, you have your maximum power back. You regain your ability to ground and form a stable aura around you.

Stay in your bubble!

The energy field around ua, our aura, makes us all feel very self-contained yet free. When we are in our aura bubble, that’s when we feel safest. That’s when we have the greatest access to our tools, to the power of our breath, to move energy and emotion through us, to ground. And when you are in that empowered state, first of all, without saying a word, it teaches other people how to do that for themselves. They will just start mirroring you.

It also increases your capacity to hold bigger space for people. Because then you have access to all of your skills and energy. You’re able to listen to people without taking on their energy.

How do you stay clear?

Sometimes just as simple as checking in, or asking yourself, “Is this feeling I’m feeling mine? Or does it belong to somebody else?”

The power of just simply noticing where you’re standing can be enough to draw you back to yourself. You take note of where your consciousness is projected, and then you take a deliberate energetic step back and into your own shoes.

Having a meditation or grounding practice is enormously helpful. Look for a practice where you maintain your aura, your energy bubble. There are many ways of clearing your aura, so look around to see what works for you. We love Reiki as it naturally empowers you and connects you to the infinite energy of the Universe.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have to step back. It’s the effort, awareness, the practice of stepping back every time you notice where you are; that’s what counts.

To stay out of somebody else’s stuff is the most compassionate thing you can do for them. 

The greatest gift you can give another person is to see them as completely well. You don’t have to solve the problem for the person; you can just hold that space of listening with a light on their strength and resilience.

We don’t have to know how they will go from that moment of suffering to their joy; we only need to hold the vision. We can surrender the “how” to the Universe. When that process happens, you’re better able to see the person in a positive light, to see yourself in a positive light, and still be very sensitive, keeping all your superpowers intact.