First of all, I want to thank B for letting me get a little creative and write about a topic that I’m passionate about. Although this topic may not be well known for many, I think a lot of people can relate without even knowing it. This is an awesome outlet, so I’m excited to share more.
A little background info on me: I’m a 33 year old wife, mother of a sweet 3 year old son named Waylon, and a highly sensitive empath. Although I could have guessed it, this isn’t a self “diagnosis.” I’ve always known I was a bit “different” but no one was ever able to clearly tell me why I felt & reacted the way I do until very recently. If you’re wondering what defines a “highly sensitive person” and an “empath,” full explanations can be found here.
In short, being highly sensitive means you process more information about the world around you than others do. It means that everything happening around you; sights, sounds, smells, etc are heightened at all times which can be and IS exhausting to say the least. Being an “empath” means that you are extremely aware of the emotions of those around you. Add the empath trait on top being highly sensitive and WOOF – your emotions can ebb and flow based on everyone and everything around you at all times without your control. You’re on an emotional rollercoaster without a brake and this is how I’ve lived my life for 33 years.
Many highly sensitive people are labeled as being “crybabies” “over dramatic” or as my mom put it “you’d make a great actress!” Saying comments like these to a highly sensitive empath, especially as a child, can force them into themselves even more than they already are. They’ll many times be looked at as an introvert when in reality the name calling has just made them ashamed of the way they process events and how they feel at all times. And let me be clear, this IS wiring. The way you process the world around you, emotions included, are hardwired within you even to a cellular level. The good news though it that you can RE-WIRE yourself by learning more about how to cope with being a highly sensitive empath. And that’s the current journey I am on.
I haven’t had a perfect life, but strive every day to make it the best life I can make it. I am intentional and totally in charge of how I respond to what comes my way. I come off as extroverted, funny, silly and a girl who likes to have a good time - but in reality I’m in an internal panic 99% of the time. For the past year, and honestly probably the last decade, I haven’t been “myself.” In reality, I’m not quite sure who “myself” is, but I think it’s a lifelong learning process. I’ve gone to “talk therapy” on and off for damn near 15 years and while some of it was helpful, talking at a middle aged woman about how I don’t feel like I “fit in” never made me feel like I “fit in” MORE after a session. I was always given some “cultural” excuse and sent on my way. I have been on anti-depression, anti-anxiety or antipsychotic medications on and off for the same amount of time. These were all band-aids that would work for a little while, but at the end of the day I was still totally lost. (Please note – just because these methods didn’t work well for me, they may work just perfectly for you!) None of the traditional “fixes” helped me understand why I cry when I read the news. Why I get SO worked up when I see so many forms of injustice against humanity or the environment. Why I can FEEL other people’s pain and hurt and sadness as if it were my own. Why I’m so damn exhausted all of the time. Why I love complete, quiet isolation from time to time. That was until now.
We moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the spring of 2019. I decided I had had enough and all of this HAD to be much deeper than I had previously been willing to dig. With some guidance of a dear friend who I consider the most spiritually centered person I have ever known, I started to meet with a spiritual/intuitive counselor. I’m sure I am getting some eye rolls right now. You’re imagining an old hippy in the mountains of Colorado, smelling like patchouli, surrounded by crystals and essential oils. Not TOTALLY off, but far from spot on ;).
The first thing she had me do was a test to rate my sensitivity. You can do the same test here. If you answer more than 14 of the questions as true of yourself, you are probably highly sensitive. There are 27 questions and I answered yes to 26. Yes, that is TWENTY SIX! That was even bonkers for my counselor to see. She herself rated at 24. I am of 5% of the world with a sensitivity rating like that. It was a slap in the face like “HELLO! WAKE UP! THERE IS A JUSTIFICATION FOR YOUR FEELINGS!” We were already getting somewhere!
Next we tested my aura. I know, I know – eye rolls again, but stay with me. She started taking steps backwards away from me while asking if I could still “feel” her. My eyes were closed and I opened them when I said I could no longer “feel” her. She was 25 feet away from me. My aura has a 25 foot radius which is HUGE! No wonder I was taking on the emotions and baggage of everyone around me! When we were going through these things, I was happy to get some information about maybe why I feel the way I do, but I started to get anxious and think “ok, so now I have explanations but still, how do I COPE in this crazy world?!” especially with this newfound knowledge. Luckily, that came next.
This is where the power of one’s MIND comes into play. I was told that the mind is so powerful that in one clinical study, half of a group of patients are given a placebo and from that half, 80% became just as well as the people taking the actual medication. This is because they THOUGHT they were taking the medication. Your mind is SO powerful and I am just now learning how much it can help make or break me.
I needed to hone in my aura and help keep it contained closer to my body. Now this is what I’m talkin’ about – a real action I can take to help protect myself from everything I am sensitive to in the outside world. She taught me a visualization that I now do every single morning. I am basically honing in my aura, keeping it close to my body and putting protective layers around me to deflect and block out anything that doesn’t serve me. Any judgements, negative karma, and people or things that will suck my life force are meant to be kept out. I have done this diligently since the day of that meeting and can’t begin to tell you how much more peaceful I feel on the daily.
I’m just in the infancy stages of learning how to cope with being a highly sensitive empath but have realized in just this short time that my intention is everything. My mind, my thoughts and my intentions create my reality. When I find my thoughts drifting to bad memories in my past, guilt, anger and the like, I actively acknowledge that I am having that thought, give myself grace, and move to a more positive thought. This isn’t easy and on bad days I find myself redirecting my thoughts over and over and over. It’s exhausting but not nearly as exhausting as taking on other people’s “stuff.” Lord knows I have enough of my own “stuff!”
If any of this sounds familiar to you or if a little light bulb went off in your head while reading this, maybe you also are highly sensitive or an empath or both! It’s so important for you to take the steps needed to protect yourself from everyone else’s “stuff.” Some of these will probably come off as wonky, but here are some other ways people in similar situations find peace and protect their auras. Release yourself from toxic thoughts, places, and people. They will unintentionally suck your life force. It’s OK to not feel OK all of the time. Remember to give yourself grace and time to yourself to unwind from all of the “noise” out there. Take an Epsom salt bath to detoxify and let your body and mind relax. Listen to music that makes you smile. Create something beautiful. Spend time with friends who have the best intentions for you.
The world in 2019 is enough to drive anyone nuts (IMO) so I’m doing something to protect myself from the insanity and you’d do yourself a favor to do the same. We can only control ourselves and our reactions to the world around us. I’m going to end this with the last bit of my favorite poem “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann. I read this every day and it brings me joy every time I read it.
“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.”