Living an an empath is a tricky thing to navigate: you might feel the emotions of others but are often left out in the cold or seen as an easy target. For empaths who are just coming to terms with their sensitivity these two situations will pop up constantly.
You meet someone and they instantly take a disliking to you, for seemingly no reason. You might enter a relationship only to find your partner starts to lash out or manipulate you, getting angry when you do not respond the way they want.
This is what I like to refer to as the empath mirror effect. For a lot of people meeting an empath is incredibly unsettling; they do not know how to navigate a relationship with you just as you may find it difficult to navigate your own empathy.
The Leaky Aura
As we have talked about before there are conscious and unconscious empaths. An unconscious empath is one who hasn’t learned to develop their empathy, and so they are easily mislead them into self doubt and manipulation.
In this way, unconscious empaths are a major target for narcissists and abusers. We have one group of people who survive by putting their needs first and another group who survive by placing their needs last.
The unconscious empath’s aura is dull and filled with holes. They take on the emotions of others unconsciously, because they aren’t aware of how to protect and clear their energy field.
An unconscious empath becomes like a sponge, soaking up the emotions of everyone around them. They can go around feeling tired, anxious even angry, without realizing these emotions aren’t theirs.
The Mirror Effect
On the other hand, a conscious empath understands that they can choose which energies to allow into their field; and so they become like mirrors reflecting a person’s emotions back to them. The conscious empath’s aura is no longer scattered or filled with holes, but coherent like a body of water.
When a conscious empath comes into contact with a new person and they show an instant disliking – it is often this reflection that they are taking a disliking too. Think of your aura like a calm body of water which reflects any wounds that person hasn’t addressed.
Conscious empaths are also extremely difficult to lie to or manipulate as they have learned to observe themselves, their thoughts, and their emotions with a keen eye. When someone lies to them they can feel it as a sharp jab in the gut or as an disconcerted energy.
When some people are faced with either their own reflection or someone they cannot easily manipulate, their instinctive response is to lash out. It could be as simple as avoiding you, or as harsh as spreading gossips and lies about you.
It’s at this point that an empath may feel a great sense of loneliness in a world full of people who are hiding from their truth selves. If you’re an empath experiencing this type of loneliness, delve deep into it. What is underneath that larger emotion of loneliness?
As you connect with the deeper wholeness within, you will begin to see that in others. Knowing that settling for superficial and unfulfilling relationships (however comforting they may feel at the time) will not serve you, opens you up to attract healthier connections.
Learn about the relationship dynamics you might face as an empath in my free guidebook.
How to Protect Your Energy as an Empath
The transition from an unconscious to conscious empath starts by noticing the ways you give your power away. I think one of the most important shifts you can make as an empath is to realize that your job isn’t to absorb other people’s energy or take on other people’s emotions.
Release the ‘savior role’
As empaths we might believe that we are here to save other people, when that isn’t the case. We can help people and be of service, but we aren’t here to be anyone’s savior…no one is.
While this might come from a place of good intention, often this isn’t even what other people need or want from us. Instead, it’s about staying centered in ourselves and helping people from that grounded space, rather than absorbing what other people are feeling or trying to save them.
Often the urge to jump in and save people from themselves is a way to ease our own discomfort. We see someone hurting and want to fix the situation, even if it means crossing someone’s boundaries.
Allowing people to process their emotions is one of the most empathetic things we an do, because we respect their individuality and autonomy even when that means being uncomfortable.
Get in tune with your own energy
The next step in developing your energy as an empath is to tune into your own emotions. Often as empaths we are so overwhelmed by external energy that we forget to notice what we are feeling or where we might need help.
Observe the way you manage emotionally tense situations with a keen eye. Notice what parts of the body hold most tension in these situations (where you are absorbing excess energy) and focus on loosening these areas in meditation.
When you tune into a specific part of your body that tends to hold tension during meditation, what deeper emotions come to the surface? How does this tension feel in a tactile sense? Take a deep breath in and release any density in these areas.
Clear your aura each day, feeling through your energy body and pinpointing spots that need strengthening. Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for the ways you’ve been manipulated in the past, you know better now. Take these interactions as lessons for future interactions.
Outgrowing the empath label
Over time you’ll find that the label ’empath’ doesn’t describe your experience so well – it’s no longer accurate.
Coming back to this article over two years later I can see the progression I’ve made in this area, and how this label no longer fits like it used to. As we develop our sensitivity we tend to find spaces that bring us deeper peace and roles in the world that suit us better.
Understanding the ways we fit this empath archetype or role is helpful at first because it gives us a reference for navigating our hyper-sensitivity. Once this reference become unhelpful, we no longer need to hold onto it or try to squeeze ourselves into that role.
If you would like to learn more about these different phases check out the guidebook.
What has your experience with this been?