I identified as an empath for many years, but it is a label that no longer resonates for a variety of reasons. If you have been following me for any length of time then you know this was one of the big topics I used to cover.
An empath is someone who can feel other people’s emotions as if they were their own. They take on other people’s emotions, at times feeling them for them.
Everyone has the capacity for empathy, but being an empath describes this relationship with sensitivity that is all-encompassing, without boundaries, overwhelming at times – a blessing and a curse.
Releasing the ’empath’ role
This is no longer a label that resonates with me anymore, because it perpetuates people-pleasing & the martyrdom role. When you box yourself in as an empath there is a role you take on and a role other people expect of you.
We can also become so focused on the label, that we forget to be truly empathetic; we can overstep boundaries and try to save people, where they really just need our presence or support.
The label can become just another decoration for our ego. I don’t think everyone who uses this term does so for purely egoistic reasons, but there is always an element of that in there. Any identity we hold onto, feed into, becomes a part of our ego. A way we can compare ourselves to others; view ourselves as better or worse than.
This was a label I found useful when developing my sensitivity, because it spoke exactly to my experience.
I had always been called ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too soft’. I was very familiar with all of the phrases we use to poke fun at sensitivity.
I would walk into a room and pick up on (absorb) the energy of everyone in it. My energy was largely dictated by what other people were feeling or doing.
I felt drained and often an ‘energy sponge’ for those around me.
I was in a lot of environments that required I be tuned in all of the time – even to the point of exhaustion. This approach was necessary for my safety, I could stay on top of the negative influences in my environment.
I shared a snippet about being an ’empath’ on Instagram the other day, and thought it would be a good idea to share it here aswell.
For a lot of intuitive people, asking for clarity becomes an uncomfortable thing.
When we are used to confusing environments where things are better left unsaid, intuiting everything becomes the norm – it becomes our skill if you will.
We get used to deciphering cryptic messages, detecting when something is off, picking up on energy. Even where that becomes tiresome (whether we realize it or not), it’s what we know.
Get intentional about asking questions and for clarification. Get comfortable when it comes to speaking on things that feel like they’re hanging in the air.
This sensitivity can definitely feel like a curse at times, but I think it’s important to remember that it can also be honed with practice.
To where we no longer feel drained, hyper-vigilant and so out of tune with our own energy.
Moving on from the empath label is all about finding ways to bring our sensitivity into the right contexts; to apply it when it is needed. We have to learn how to ground, clear and protect our energy. As well as how to ‘tune out’ when our awareness or input or not being asked for.
If this post resonates with you (fine if it doesn’t) perhaps go a week without using this label and see how you go. What new insights do you gain about your sensitivity and how to work with it?
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