Have you been feeling tossed around a bit lately?
Chances are if you’re reading this then you’re sensitive to the energy around you.
People like us are referred to as being empathic, or empaths, which means we have a heightened sense of awareness and translate what’s going on around us into feelings. And if you are this way, it’s likely your kids are too.
It used to be a curse, I thought, to feel so much, but as it turns out I just needed to understand what I was feeling to understand this super sensitivity is actually a gift, and can be used as a useful tool when applied to my life.
It is said that emotion is energy in motion. When you feel something you are actually interpreting energy either from yourself (think past, present or future thoughts), or from other people or situations.
You have an internal radar, or inner technology, that receives information from your inner and outer worlds, and empaths have an extra sensitive radar.
Empaths pick up on a lot of things, kind of like a dog can hear sounds our human ears can’t hear, empaths interpret and feel energy stronger and pick up on energy others aren’t aware of.
What does this mean in life and why should we care? – Because a lot of what you or your children feel may not even belong to you.
Many empaths are people pleasers and choose to please someone else and alleviate feelings of discomfort at the expense of their own feelings. If you are an empath who is unaware you will attempt to “manage” the energy of others by pleasing them in order to make the situation feel better.
It’s important to understand the distinction between what is yours and feelings that belong to someone else. Get clear on how you feel and you can make decisions that are in alignment with who we are, not with who they are (the ones you are feeling.)
My daughters are all empaths, but one is extremely sensitive, which means there are days when she comes home from school and after encountering hundreds of other kids, teachers and situations, she feels extremely overwhelmed and “fried.”
And in a sense, she is fried. Her emotional inputs have been overloaded in every moment of the day. Kids shuffle from class to class in busy hallways with clanking lockers, taking in all the learning their teachers are trying to teach them, while trying to understand social dynamics and who they are, and where they are going to sit at lunch and who they are going to play with at recess, and they never have any time alone to catch their breath and check-in. I’m stressed out just writing about it. I can understand why my sensitive kid comes home feeling completely out of sorts when she’s spent the day feeling and taking in so much.
As much as I would like to change how our schools operate, like having meditation breaks throughout the day, going outside more often, or jumping rope in between classes to break up the energy, I’m facing a pretty big system and I’m just one person.
But there are tools we can apply to our lives and things we can teach our kids that will help us understand what life is like being an empath and how we can use it to our benefit.
Understanding Empaths: When I began to understand my sensitive nature I began to understand how I relate to world I live in. Empaths feel an extreme sense of empathy for others and tend to want to “rescue” people and even animals who are suffering.
There are varying degrees of empaths. Some are so sensitive that the thought of going in public seems overwhelming, then there are empaths like me, who enjoy going out, but not all the time and definitely with some downtime afterward. Knowing this is an important step in understanding the full scope of who you are and what you need to take care of you empathic nature.
Check-In: How do you or your kids feel in big groups? Do you prefer a more intimate setting? Do you need some downtime after the energy swirl of a big group? Or does is not bother you at all? Noticing this is a vital piece in understanding the bigger picture about ourselves and our kids, especially when it comes to committing to social engagements and time management planning.
Segment Your Day: This really helped me gain clarity on how empathic I am. I look at each part of my day, the morning routine, driving the kids to school, work, exercise, date night with my husband, running errands, etc., each part is a segment of my day. By segmenting my day, I gain clarity on the effects each part of my day has on me physically and emotionally.
At the beginning it was a quick breath before and after each segment, but now I’m generally pretty aware of how I’m feeling and take a few seconds when I’ve been thrown off by negativity or overwhelm.
Check-In: Take a deep breath in, close your eyes and scan how you feel before each segment of day. This can take just a few seconds but will give you a reset. If you notice any negative emotion you can handle it then before dragging it to the next segment of your day. You can also pay attention to any recurring themes, such as a certain part of your day that continually leaves you feeling drained or feeling good and then tweak where and with whom you spend your time with based on your internal feedback.
Super-Sensitive Recovery Time: One of my daughters notices every single thing in her classroom – when someone grabs a tissue, when someone leaves the classroom to go to the bathroom – she’s constantly feeling everything around her and taking it in. (The school thought she had an issue with attention, but it turns out she doesn’t, she’s empathic and really doesn’t like math.)
After the energy overload of a busy school day she likes to come home from school and be in her room alone, or jump on the trampoline – alone, before she takes on her homework or any afternoon activities. This time is important for her to recover so I make sure to give her that break. For an empath it is important to “shake off” any energy that’s been carried over from someone else or a situation and to reconnect with our inner technology.
Give yourself or your kids adequate time to recover from a lot of outward energy exposure. Even a quick walk in the sunshine or dancing to your favorite song or sitting with your favorite cup of tea offers a chance for recovery.
Boundaries: An Essential if You’re An Empath
Boundaries are quickly blurred for empaths. Your empathic nature can turn to people pleasing if you don’t know and honor your boundaries. While confrontation is difficult for most empaths, you can have difficult conversations with kindness and respect. Honoring your boundaries are crucial for your well being.
I’ve written a List of Boundaries here. Become familiar with your boundaries and notice if any of your relationships need to be addressed.
Some empaths are visual and “see” energy in their mind’s eye. These types of empaths are also very visual dreamers.
One of my daughters is very visual, so it is helpful for her to start assign colors and textures to the energy she sees around people and places. This gives her the space she needs to not take it on. After school I have my daughter tell me what she saw and would validate her experience. Even if it’s in her imagination, having this experience of witnessing it and noticing what she sees and feels is helpful for her to maintain her individuality. In some cases, when she sees gray or black energy, she knows that’s a message to keep her distance. When she takes notice and honors what she sees she validates her inner technology, or intuition.
Giving words to your feelings and how you interpret energy if it’s through color or texture or even sound is an important part of grounding yourself and feeling comfortable with your heightened sense. Explore this option to see if naming energy with color or texture is something that helps you or your empathic child.
The Need for Disengagement and Downtime:
I made the personal choice many years ago to stop watching the news before I go to bed and in the morning, otherwise I was sleeping with negativity and the tone for my day was set with whatever the news decided to throw out me. This goes for social media as well. I spend the last few moments of my night and the first few moments of my day checking in with my inner world before I give the outer world any of my attention. If I’m checked in to who I am, what life throws at me is a lot easier to handle, and I’m also more certain of what my inner technology is trying to tell me and guide me to. Dis-engagement and downtime is a crucial part of my contentment, and I notice a difference in my kids too. If they are getting a lot of screen time on their devices, their mood suffers and then we all go down in flames.
Honor your inner world by making time for yourself without distractions before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning. Meditation, writing a gratitude list, sending love to who you love, animals, a stranger you saw that day, or a part of the world you feel called to send love to are all great ways to uplift yourself and get your heart into congruence with love, (it’s also really good for the planet too.) You can do this visually in your mind, or utter the words aloud. Even basking in the delicious feeling of your comfy bed will get you feeling better than any social media check-in, newscast or on-going to-do list can.
When you begin to accept there is so much more to you than what your five senses interpret, life becomes far less challenging and reactive, and instead you can begin to live in-line with the fullness of who you are in a more engaged way. Knowing and accepting you or your child is empathic will lift the veil of confusion.
Empaths are more prevalent now than ever before. Just like the latest version of our outward technology – cell phones, computers etc., have more bells and whistles and can do things we never thought possible, our inner technology can take us to new levels of understanding and work for us in amazing ways when we begin to accept it as “normal.”
Interpreting energy is truly an amazing tool. And I’ve tried every which way to numb it – – ignoring it and stuffing it down, but nothing comes close to fully embodying it and letting it work for me, and the best thing I can do for my kids is teach them how to work their gifts to support them.
It’s a beautiful world when we can understand our gifts and honor them for what they are and not be scared of everything we feel, or even worse, try to turn it off. You were given these gifts for a reason, let them help you live your best life.
Lots of feel good love from one empath to another,