“If we’re not actually absorbing other people’s shit, how is it those empaths have all those illnesses?”
Well, honey, I am so glad you asked! This is where the rubber meets the road. It doesn’t go far at this point but it’s hit the road.
Consider, at least for the time you are reading this, that all things are energy. Some of you have heard the adage or described your interactions with people as ‘like moths to a flame’. Often energies, particularly those associated with other people, really do make their way to us like those leetle moths–and they bounce around us just like the moths do the backdoor light. They do so for attention, recognition, and sometimes release. Just as our own energies do. What happens when we don’t pay attention, recognize or release? The brain and body begin to act like a three year old in the candy aisle. You know you’ve been there–tired, overwhelmed by regular life stuff, then funky-ass energetic crap is being annoying and then you put on your crankypants, right?
Most of us have spent years conditioned physically, mentally & emotionally to be comfortable in the form of what I call ‘all turtled up’. Whether that has been in response to trauma exposure, energetic overload, or critical incidents where we’ve been taught not to feel or threatened if we do, the effect is the same. We effectively move as if hardened and hidden (or hiding), consciously and unconsciously. And all the while, energy is still making its way to us. It’s not bouncing off the turtle shell, eggshell, psychedelic bubble, or super shield or waiting patiently for you to have a better day. It sees you, knows you can see it and it wants to be seen. (It’s hard to not anthropomorphize energies and I’m going to do so here to help separate the notions of energies associated with humans and those that I consider something akin to inanimate).
The energies or aspects of others that are seeking attention are effecting us. Take a second to imagine every hair on your body being a receptor, a little satellite dish, that is receiving invisible information. Every single hair = satellite dish. The unaware empath’s brain & body is constantly attempting to assess that information. It wants to know what to do with it. It knows what to do with visual information, tactile data, musical vibration, stinky smells & yummy tastes but it doesn’t know what to do with what it can’t see, say, taste, touch, or hear.
When we spend decades both turtled up and not paying attention to energies received without teaching the body & brain how to respond, our systems have one sure-fire way to get our attention when they get overloaded. We begin to feel it, really feel it when we’re exhibiting symptoms of something. Migraines, malaise, muscles…our body will announce quite clearly we’re not paying attention to it & the things effecting it. There’s the Exedrin, arnica and epsom salts to begin with. Followed by a myriad of doctor’s visits which are, invariably, accompanied by potential diagnoses. And commentary often resembles something like this: “Well, your tests results show xyz within the normal range but because you are exhibiting symptoms of abc, we’re going to prescribe you 123.”
The power of myths about the nature of empaths is such that when we associate these energies of others with ‘taking on’ of same, we feed our own fears: of feeling, of expressing what we feel, of responsibility for others (or, gasp!, ourselves), of engaging with others, of not knowing what to do. For those intimate with the stupid human trick of ‘fixing everything’, the physical, mental and emotional responses are compounded and can feel overwhelming. And there is a lot of energy out there, kids. Lots. I mean, hello, seven point five billion people on the planet generate a lot of energy without flipping a light switch. So when we ‘protect’ ourselves by creating imaginary and ineffective ways to barricade ourselves from those energies we’re creating a maelstrom of suck that we will drown in.
We can easily, with a little work, teach our systems how to do this empath thing. Retraining the mind and body to know what’s ‘just’ noise & static instantaneously, what is none of our business within less than a breath, and when to engage is a simple process. And it begins with basic awareness of energies outside of yourself & how your systems respond to it. To become aware of those intricacies you must be able to detach from the fear of feeling.
We have another silly habit of connecting how we are going to feel with how things did feel. We take a memory of how we’ve felt in the past & our emotional responses to the memory in the present and connect that to a perceived future event. When that happens, we’ve lost sight of what a) is really happening and b) the real potential of the future event. So to arrive at the point where moving through and engaging with the invisible is as easy as drawing breath requires us to delve or dive into our own interior. We need to know ourselves intimately–with openness, honesty, a touch of humor & lack of hubris. It requires some nikkedness so that we may clearly see ourselves. When that happens, the clarity with which we see the rest of the world and all of it’s layers is astonishing, awesome, inspiring and, get this: easy.
And, as a minor edit and addition: being honest with yourself, knowing yourself, feeling and expressing emotions past & present is, get this: easy. It is absolutely not the monster you’ve created in your head & heart all this time. Seriously. Easy. Sure, there might be some snot but you’re just as likely to laugh until you pee yourself with relief as you are to cry in catharsis.