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The Power of the Empath

I've written before on the pain of the empath. Now for the other side of that coin. You've been aware that I've referred to being one as a gift/curse, and you already know well of the curse element of this sensitivity.

But now for the good news ..

It may seem completely mystifying to an empath reading this why anyone would say that they have power.

Many who would label them as such, including themselves, would more often than not consider that they are anything but holders of power – because life seems to give you a regular damn good kicking when you ‘feel’ as your primary way of perceiving the world.

You often feel powerless: in pain, tormented by the suffering all around you in the world. It flows like a steady stream into your consciousness almost any day of the week without your even having to look for it.

It can feel like you have a super-sensitive antenna that just pings up urgently at the merest flicker of suffering, even when it is someone else's emotional angst that is filtering through to you, and even if they try to hide it away in an iron gated vault and think nobody knows what’s really going on for them.

And if you get even the slightest view of an animal, a child or another vulnerable innocent in distress and/or being mistreated; voiceless and powerless to defend themselves or speak up of their terror & pain to call out to the conscience of anyone who might inflict harm (be it an image on a poster or TV, or a post on social media) – well, you’re truly done for!

Great huh!

There you are, are polished and brushed up for a relaxing night out after your working week is done, and ‘boi-oing’ – off it goes again! You’re in the vicinity of someone’s probably disowned pain, wondering when will this gift/curse give you a minute’s peace.

It can be hard to understand, we empaths get that - eventually! We just don’t usually remember signing up for this strange sensitivity and can spend years of our lives thinking ‘Is it just me? Am I a freak? Do I come from another planet to most everyone else?

Most people don't understand our intuitiveness, hence nobody talks about it to soothe our tormented souls, further adding to the feelings of isolation. We barely even understand it ourselves, and it can be a little overwhelming until you do! Hence we may be plagued for a lifetime by self doubt before we finally submit to the confusion that appears to have haunted our lives like a ravenous bogey man feeding off our discomfort.

Some, bless 'em, are keen to reason it away as simply a projection of our disowned emotions but whilst we may on occasion feel a little incapacitated by the power of them and need to go sit quietly in meditation on a toadstool in the woods for a while to get as far away as possible from the racket of distractions that most people seem unable to exist without, we are not the ones who disown emotions! At least, not our own.

Once we've got past the self-doubt and reached the point of fully embracing our sensitivity to the emotions of others, we come to recognize that almost without noticing it, we've learned to ride the waves of these powerful human drivers like a championship surfer! We've developed a level of emotional intelligence that no university on the planet could have taught us.

Unless you’re one who has lived with this psychic affliction day in day out - from the time you were aware enough to twig that not everyone 'feels' like you do - to the time you learned to apply your own logic (usually well into adulthood, when you've finally understood that the tendency of others to reject your emotional openness is less about you than it is about the one doing the rejecting), you'll likely never 'get' us.

We just learn over time to accept that it’s probably more comfortable for others to pull out a label, slap it on our metaphorical forehead and dismiss it as a kinda cute but also bloody annoying inclination to be overly sensitive and something of a drama queen/king for daring to be so real and visible!

You see, we ‘do’ emotion.

It’s our language. We understand it.

The spoken word can be to an empath little more than a confusion we must learn to live with, as people so infrequently say what they mean, or mean what they say. But when dealing in 'feelings', you can't hide from an empath! It's an intuitiveness that is hard to explain but there is very little doubt for us about the true emotion going on beneath the surface.

It's as normal and natural to us to talk openly about and express emotions as it is to those who don't to keep conversation at the level of what happened in the make-believe world of EastEnders last night. We've accepted that it isn't the expression of the full range of human emotions that is the problem, but the repression of them, long before most people have even registered a real emotion. It's my belief that many people make the mistake of misinterpreting emotional openness as a weakness, when in fact it is actually anything but!

The thing is, empaths invariably reach a point in their lives when they sort of throw up their hands and say ‘ok! I’m a good person – this I know. I have good solid values and I care deeply about things that most other people just don’t seem to give a crap about.

But why, oh why is it that almost everyone I meet seems so terrified of being real that they reject talking about anything to do with their true feelings unless they’re completely pissed, when a severe case of emotional diarrhea lands with all the predictability of the locked sign on the bathroom door all the next day?’

We so often wonder ‘Does all this stuff I feel mean I’m the one who’s nuts?’ But the truth-ometer tells you, you simply just know this emotional 'dead zone' is like an unexploded landmine just waiting for someone to inadvertently step on it and send everything into chaos. It's the root cause of all the suffering in the world.

Empaths have a deep intuition that if only we could talk from a place of connection to our sometimes seemingly irrational feelings, and about them for the normal human character traits that they are, they would not bring with them such fear and denial. We could all get over the true drama that results from living a life of fake unfeelingness and just deal with the vulnerability, misunderstanding and cry for more (perhaps better quality) information that often underpins them and sends us into self-destruct.

More often than not, those same people who would cheerily label you as an emotional fruitcake will end up on their backs on a nice comfy examination table in their doctor’s cold and clinical practice room prior to ending up with some good ol' fashioned prescription drugs - you know, those thought & feeling-numbing beta-blockers and anti-depressants to screen out the painful stuff! Many wind up divorced; addicted; working late or working out until all semblance of emotion has been nullified, numbed out and exorcised; and nice neat pretense (read: emotional constipation) restored.

And herein is the power of the empath.

We have a unique sensitivity to help others recognize the normalcy of emotions. Once we can accept that our affliction was given to us because we have the strength to carry it.

We may not have asked for this ability to ‘feel’ stuff that others don’t want to feel, but ho hum, we got it, like some people get freckles or an impossibly charming set of dimples!

We may decide to hide away, and like a hermit returning home from a long winter coastal walk with the only kind of companions that seem to ‘get’ us and not run a mile from our radar for true emotions (ie: our canine or other non-human friends), wrap our battered hearts in a big warm fleecy blanket as a way to protect ourselves and withdraw from as many reminders of the suffering in the the world as we feasibly can.

But, we may recognize a greater calling to boldly step into our power – to influence others to open up their hearts and allow love and compassion for all of life into their consciousness; to help them to turn up the colour in their lives; adjust the sound to include all the luxuriant resonance of timbre; add flavour and delicious aromas and texture where without, life is just that little greyer, duller, more muffled ..

We can accept that yes, we are different. Along with the depth and beauty of a richer emotional life comes a greater sensitivity to pain and suffering also – and we can not separate them as they are opposite sides of the same coin. We can’t have one without the other.

And here’s the kicker, neither can anyone else! When we numb out emotion because our culture says get over that sh1t, it’s bloody inconvenient, it makes me uncomfortable .. and it’s messing up our freakin’ targets – we also numb out our genius, our creativity, the meaning in our relationships, our individuality, compassion and empathy. Bum deal huh!

So my dear ‘empath’ friends out there, next time you’re feeling sick to the back teeth of being thought bonkers or a bit strange by your human counterparts, or of hearing your nearest and dearest garnering support from one another for their own - let's say 'less demonstrative' (though I'm tempted to use the ever-so-slightly irreverent 'anal') way - saying ‘you know what s/he’s like’ behind your back when they think you’re out of earshot; take a deep breath, draw your shoulders back, stand up tall and walk right back in there, proud to be the torch-bearer for love in the world that you are! They need you to be that. They just may not realise it yet!

Find your cheerleaders and fellow ‘feelers’ to remind you that you are in fact completely ‘normal’.

Well no, ‘normal’ don’t quite cut it!

You are a special and uniquely gifted human being sent here to shine a light and show others the way back to their hearts!

So, suck it up, suck it in .. and shine on special one!

Have a beautiful day.

With love, light & compassion,

Trish Brennan

(Source unknown)

With love,

Trish Brennan


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