Are you an Empath?
If you think you might be an Empath, I thought it might be helpful for you to have a deeper understanding of how to take care of yourself and how to have the biggest impact on others while doing so.
- We have heightened senses: Empaths navigate and process their surroundings with all their senses. We use our senses to learn about other people and the world.
- We’re Intuitive: Intuition is a skill built from learning to trust the information that you receive through your senses. And then acting appropriately based on that information.
- We need a lot of alone time. The need for alone time isn’t just us expressing our delicate and fragile sensibilities. It a necessary way of cleansing the palette of over stimulated senses so that we can exist in the world without having to crumble in a heap.
- Negativity impacts us deeply. Negativity impacts everyone deeply, but for an empath, prolonged expose to negativity without balance can create physical havoc in our emotional feeling bodies. I am living proof that unprocessed shadow material is physically damaging.
- We have a rich inner life. A balanced empath is highly imaginative, creative, and multi passionate. We love learning, and beauty, and are adventurous with our personal growth.
- We attract energy vampires. Actually we humans are all energy vampires. We need to connect and share with other people as much as we need breath. So I think of an energy vampire as someone who is stuck in the forward motion of their relationship to self. They have not learned yet that it is their responsibility to be in charge of their own emotions, therefore they look to others to regulate them. And who better to do this with than someone who can attune to them deeply and reflect back to them. We empaths are the low hanging fruit for someone who is struggling with this.
- I hid in dark closets, and under beds to get away from people because these dark and muffled spaces allowed me to regulate my heightened emotions.
- I was constantly sick to my stomach because I would feel the emotions of my adult caregivers and take them on.
- When I was around groups of other children, such as at school, I would run home and hide.
- When people would speak I would wish there was a way to turn the volume of their voices down.
- I would cry listening to music that wasn’t even sad.
- I experienced depression from a feeling of being overwhelmed by the world.
- I sought the comfort of animals, and felt peaceful attuning to them.
- I have a non negotiable need for lack of stimulation, and alone time. I need copious amounts of quiet time in order to form a functioning thought.
- I instantly feel the despair of others in my body as intense sadness, and sudden heaviness.
- Exposure to over stimulating environments such as, shopping malls, crowded places like Disneyland give me high amounts of anxiety and activate my emotions, but strangely can be very enjoyable, because of all the happy people, and oxytocin.
- Avoid places with loud noise such a concerts, and crowds.
- You get a strong unsettled feeling when someone says something that doesn’t match how they really feel. For example when you ask someone if they are mad, and they say no.
- You feel angry out of nowhere when you around someone hostile.
- You can see micro expressions on people’s faces when they feel fear, disgust, anger, or sadness.
- You can feel when someone is soulfully vacant due to extreme drug use, alcohol consumption or even severe abuse or trauma.
- You can feel when someone is ‘on tracks.’ Meaning reacting unconsciously vs. reacting from presence.
- You can feel what someone is like by walking into their living space.
- You can feel how people are being treated in hierarchical, controlled environments such as restaurants or other public places that have lots of different kinds of staff.
- You can feel when you aren’t on someone’s emotional radar.
- You can feel the shadows of what other people are hiding and don’t want you to know about them.
- You can feel people who are processing trauma.
- When someone feels joyful, you feel bubbly.
- You can understand animals and sentient being.
- You can feel what an artist went through by looking at certain creative works.
- You can feel the unfinished legacy of ancestors.
- Separate which emotions belong to you. Because we feel the feelings of others, we must have a plan, and be vigilant about determining what is your feeling, and what belongs to someone else. Your feeling body isn’t naturally calibrated to separate the physicality of your feeling from someone else’s feelings. So it’s critical that you make these distinctions consciously. For me this plan includes massive amounts of alone time and experiences in nature.
- Learn to recognize the qualities of narcissists & takers immediately. I have a post about this on my website, and As someone who is attuned to emotions, believe me when I tell you that you can not afford a relationship with a narcissist. Their brand of emotional processing is to take from others, and to put it simply and as a succinct harbinger, know in your soul you can not change them. No matter how tempting it might be to try.
- Learn to process emotion. This is critical. I spent over 25 years managing a painful condition called cyclic vomiting syndrome, that was triggered by stress related abdominal migraines. This was mainly because I absorbed and held onto the pain, anguish and emotions of others. It wasn’t until I deliberately devised a way to live my life caring for my own health first, that I became free from the physical symptoms of unprocessed emotion. My plan for processing emotion is this: Exercise, limited exposure to stressor, massive amounts of alone time, journaling, exposure to beauty and inspiration.
- Schedule processing time. Doing this one thing has changed my life. I know that even after the most benign of encounters, such as going to the grocery store, that an upregulation in the homoestasis of my emotional body will occur. So I schedule an appropriate amount of time when I get home to regulate. The amount of time needed to regulate is directly proportional to the amount of stimulation experienced. A general rule of thumb, 5-10 minutes of alone processing time for mildly upregulating activities, and 1 hour for highly activating activities. Traumatic events are different, and require different amounts of regulation based on level of trauma.
- Expose yourself to beauty. I hinted at this in my processing routine, and this is actually one of the most critical and often ignored essentials for an Empath. Exposure to beauty allows us to replenish our tanks. Nature, imagery, art, music, colors, photographs, paintings, cinema, poetry, being with animals, what ever beauty is to you, you must make time to experience it. This is not negotiable for an Empath.
Expose yourself to beauty.
For some people the holidays are a time of wonder, activity and the joy of being with loved ones. For others including myself, the holidays bring depression and are something to get through and survive.
There are depression triggers everywhere.
It’s normal to experience bittersweet wistfulness right along with moments of great joy because we know that we simply can’t hold onto them.
Holiday depression is feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that are magnified through a lens of social isolation, overwhelm, financial peril, and toxic relationships.
Cocooning through the depression.
I allow the depression to come knowing that at some point around January, the fog will lift I’ll start to feel more regulated again.
Cocooning is a term coined by trend predictor Faith Popcorn to describe a period in your life in which you consciously create a supportive and comforting environment for yourself in order to replenish and grow before a big transition or after a major occurrence.
Here is what really works for me:
- Exercise. If you have a pre-disposition to depression like I do, you know that exercise is a key element to mood management. So even if it’s going to the gym and cycling for 20 minutes on level one, it helps so much.
- Sleep. I go to bed embarrassingly early. I have zero social life during a cocooning phase. But honestly it’s what I need most, so I hardly even get on the phone during this time.
- Makeup. Ok, this is a weird one I admit, but if I take the time to put makeup on, I feel more put together and way less depressed, and the probability of me going back to bed are a lot less likely if I have a full face of makeup on. It’s a life hack that works for me.
- Escapist TV. As much as I would love to be the person who uses their cocoon time to enrich the mind and soul with deep books on worthwhile subjects, it’s just not my truth. My brain feels like mush and my concentration is horrible so I just give in and watch forensics shows and as many episodes of Fixer Upper that I can get my hands on.
- Greens. I really want to eat cookies and pasta, however white flour and sugar notably worsens my depression. So I buy a big bag of baby kale and allow myself to eat whatever I want as long as it is on a bed of greens.
- Husband. We all have at least one person who cheers us up and is there for us no matter what. For me this is my beloved husband. He is so supportive and I rely on him a lot to emotionally regulate during a cocooning. And I do the same for him, so that makes it extra nice.
Narcissists wear many disguises.
The main goal of a narcissist is to replenish and maintain their narcissistic supply.
Let’s highlight some of the typical characteristics of a narcissist.
- They have a high sense of grandiosity, and low empathy.
- They are low insight, meaning they rarely seek growth and understanding from challenges.
- They often can only filter conversation and events in how it pertains to them It’s almost like they have a filter, or special lens that tabulates any input on how it could effect them or benefit them.
- They are masterful at passive aggressive shade. This is best recognized by the feeling of confusion about being violated. Was I? Did she really mean that? Yes. Though it is second nature to her so she usually isn’t even cognizant that she is doing it.
- They are easily offended, hurt or angered. These feelings are often disguised by disappointment. Disappointment occurs when there is a specific expectation. A narcissist relies on others to fulfill their expectations, since they take no responsibility for their own actions it stands to reason that disappointment is the dominant feeling for a narcissist.
- Limit exposure. Its not always possible to get away from a narcissist completely. Carefree encounters are highly unrealistic and loose time boundaries are the kryptonite for a narcissist.
- Draw your boundaries in indelible marker. Unfortunately the onus is on you to recognize and maintain your boundaries with vigilance. Narcissists live to transgress, in fact they can’t help it. So prepare with the expectation that you must be the shepherd of your boundaries.
- Compassion (from a distance.) It’s my experience that most narcissists are victims of childhood circumstance. They deserve our compassion, but not at the expense of our wellbeing.
- Don’t have any expectations for change. A narcissist will never change. They will never love you the way you think you need from them. Accept them completely for who they are. You don’t have to like it. You do have to acknowledge that you are the only person in the frame that has the potential to address and alter your own reactions. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.
- Allow yourself time to process after exposure. Does it sound like I’m being a little overly sensitive? Maybe I am for someone who hasn’t had a lifetime of having to navigate around the needs of a narcissist. So as an expert of how to manage my self care needs (which are always in conflict with the needs of a narcissist.) Believe me when I tell you that the best thing you can do for yourself is to plan on immediately processing the feelings that come up after the fact.
Beautiful You Inspiration Day
What could be a more perfect day than spending the day with life coaches? Being a featured speaker of course.
Speaking for life coaches at the Beautiful You Coaching Academy Inspiration Day was a dream come true. Even though I had given talks in front of people before, this one was really special to me because not only do I love everything about BYCA, I love coaches because they are the most giving and loving audiences.
I’m so glad I have the photographs because I would swear that I dreamed it!
The entire day truly was inspirational. I was in an amazing company of speakers. I kicked off our day by sharing how to know which of your many passions to incorporate into your coaching business. Life coach Travis Barton reconnected us all with our core values and why they are so important to us as coaches, and heart centered branding coach Rachel Gadiel gave us everything we need to know about creating gorgeous brand alignment. I walked away bursting with inspiration!
Beautiful You Coaching Academy CEO and founder Julie Parker gave the wrap-up talk and we were all moved to tears at the reminder that now more than ever, the world needs light workers and coaches. The entire day had me bursting with gratitude.
Now that I am three years into my life coaching business, there some key things that I wish I would have known and done that would have saved me a little time and a lot heartache.
Mistake #1: Doing too much too soon.
In addition to trying to find new coaching clients, I was also trying to create content, schedule interviews, design & maintain 2 websites, and create content for my YouTube channel. I just couldn’t keep at the balls in the air.
And it felt like a failure to pull the plug on a great idea. But I wasn’t in reality for the amount of time and energy I had to pull it off.
Mistake #2: Trying to be an expert.
Mistake #3: Not knowing how much time you actually have to devote to coaching.
Mistake #4: Trying force clarity around your voice and your avatar.
I wish I could tell you that you can sit at your desk and write a perfect description of who your ideal client is, but it probably won’t be accurate. So how do you know what kind of coach you are and in what niche to point your boat? Start talking to people.
Mistake #5: Not being able to say exactly what you can do for people.
Mistake #6: Being too hard on yourself for not having it all figured out.
If coaching is your calling, you have a lifetime of learning, reading, personal growth, writing, joy, and deepening your ability to look forward too. Actually if you are a coach, you are a pioneer. Modern life coaching is an emergent field that is being shaped by your input.