At the end of my Inner Alignment Intensive retreat this weekend one of the women asked me if I could give her some insight as to why she felt anxious. “I thought I was feeling good,” she said.
I had picked up quite a bit about how she operates over the weekend and I knew she was empathic. She picks up the emotions of others. She also tends to pick up on ideas from others and needs to discern whether they are for her or someone else, but that is for another story. So I looked around at who she was sitting next to, and she was sitting next to someone who had just had a major shift in her energy field, and who was about to leave to go home to a family that wouldn’t likely understand her shift, and she was likely afraid about whether she could maintain it. She was anxious.
I quickly knew that the person asking the question wasn’t experiencing HER anxiety, it was her neighbors. This is the blessing and the curse of empathy.
In her book, Second Sight, Judith Orloff shares the most basic principle of empathy…
“the secret for you to disengage from a barrage of unwanted emotions, is to remain as conscious of your motivations as possible.”
She goes on to say, “The clearer you are emotionally, the less problematic empathy becomes.”
The retreat participant could identify that the feeling wasn’t hers because she was in such a state of awareness of who she is and what she is about as a result of our retreat together, she knew to pause and question the emotion. She could then disconnect from it, and ground back in to her own energy field.
I learned this the hard way.
When I look at it, it should have been obvious for me that I’m empathic. I had a clear experience as a sophomore in college. I was home for summer break working at “The Goal Post Drive-In” as a carhop. The owners were away and my friends and I were running the restaurant. A man approached the window and distracted us from playing with the ice cream machine, and asked us to call 911. A semi had tipped over and crashed.
We made the call and we waited. My stepdad ran the ambulance service in my town, so I had a heightened awareness of emergency response. I was joking about how he must be slacking today because we hadn’t heard the sirens.
Then my mom called me at work. She’s also empathic, and she had the emergency scanner blaring at our house. “Could you go see what happened, she asked, I think it’s them.”
She’d been known to overreact so I wasn’t bought in, but I decided to humor her and go check it out. After all, the sirens had taken a long time.
I drove the one block and went by slowly, craning my neck like people who grew up with emergency response hate. And there they were. The car demolished. The ambulance on the scene. My stepdad and my brother were there physically, but not present. Both were in a coma for 5-6 weeks. (Needless to say this experience shaped our family tremendously).
My stepdad’s shoulder was complete shattered. They put it back together with 16 plates and rods. He had a variety of other complications as well, which are perhaps for another story. As he was in the hospital I went back to college for the year, luckily in the same city in which he was hospitalized. I would visit after class, and pray that he would heal.
And during this time I experienced tremendous pain in my left shoulder – the same one he’d destroyed. It would come and go but was clear, distinct, and sharp. I read about sympathy pain, but I didn’t really understand it. I knew it was real, but I’d dismissed it as coincidence. I must have slept funny.
In 2006 he died of liver cancer. I felt pain in my side off and on for years surrounding that time. No doctor or alternative health practitioner found a cause. Still today I may feel that pain, and it’s almost always followed by an ambulance passing by.
No one ever told me that we could pick up other people’s pain, let alone their emotions. Even though I felt that that was true, I didn’t really believe it. I didn’t trust myself.
Today I am aware that most of the emotions I experience are not mine, they belong to others. I’m, myself, very emotionally steady. When I start to feel off, I always look at what it’s about. Sometimes it’s mine – I didn’t communicate something that needed to be said, or I’m tolerating something, etc. Most often it’s someone else’s.
Why is this so important? If you’re a service provider you’ve got a certain level of intimacy and connection with your clients. It is so easy for you to feel what they feel. Or bring in ideas that are for them that may seem as if they are for you. You are a conduit.
Again, from Second Sight, in talking with a healer friend of hers who was also an empath, who used her skills to tune in to and diagnose her patients, Judith Orloff asked her friend about how she managed to tune in that intimately without picking up any of their stuff. She replied,
“I simply see myself as a channel. I let the feelings flow through me without over identifying with them.”
If you know you’re empathic, remaining highly aware of your own stuff is critical, so you don’t keep, and ACT on, other people’s stuff. The tools I use in my coaching are all about increasing awareness, as this is the key to remaining fully effective in life.
If you’re not sure whether you pick up on other people’s stuff, start to pay attention. Do you find yourself emotional for no reason? Does your emotional state vary widely? Do you get odd physical symptoms that are short-lived, and have no discernable cause?
We can pick up the energy from someone else from a distance that we are connected to without noticing. We can also pick it up from sitting next to someone on a train, or even brushing against them in passing. Make it a point to energetically clear yourself regularly. This can look like brushing yourself off physically. Exercise is great for this as well. Many of my clients use crystals.
Did I mention there is a blessing in all of this?
Think about it. If you can pick up on the emotional states of others… if you are energetically connected to people (we are really connected to everybody), how might that affect your marketing? You can put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes, literally, and say the words they need to hear to make a change. And if they can influence YOUR energy, what if YOU could influence theirs? You can. And particularly when you’re coming form a state of love.
“When you love someone, you are bound to them by an invisible psychic web…. You are able to receive signals like a radio tower.”
When you love what you do in your business, when your business is filled with love, your influence is tremendous. Give it a try.
I teach you how to harness this skill in my CAPTIVATE Retreat. If you resonate with this article, CAPTIVATE may be for you. You can read more about our June mountain retreat at www.AlignedEntrepreneurs.com/Captivate