Because of our inward focus nature, we empaths tend to carry things inside for a long time, especially those of us who skew introverted. Introverts have a wonderful gift for formulating ideas and concepts in a self-contained, cerebral manner. However, in the same way, we introverts tend to process emotions internally, which can lead to stewing over hurts and pains, playing them over and over in our minds, and even reliving the feelings in full color and sensory perception. This is because this is our nature; this is how we are wired. However, this wonderful ability to create and maintain an extremely rich and complex inner life can become a detriment when it comes to emotional health.
Along the same lines, empaths (who may or may not be introverted) have very rich emotional lives, because we tend to feed off of the emotions of others. In fact, empaths tend to be attracted to highly dramatic, even histrionic people — because we love the energy they emanate. They excite us and make us feel alive. Along with this attraction, empaths are “feelers,” and we are constantly “reaching out” to our environment to get a barometric reading of the social atmosphere.
We can walk into a room and tell who’s having a bad day; we can sense tension between people in a split second; laughter in the corner of the room lights us up; a sad face concerns us. Sometimes we don’t realize until we’re cornered that we’ve been ambushed by a needy individual who wants to dump on us all of her problems. Like empaths, they are perceptive and can tell who is receptive to their tales of woe and who isn’t. And we, being the loving, compassionate empaths that we are, patiently listen to other’s sad stories. On the one hand, it makes us feel privileged to be “needed.” On the other hand, it feeds our egos to be needed and significant in people’s lives.
When practiced in the extreme, with no useful filters in place, an empath can absorb too much emotional input from others and the environment:
- The boss who is in a bad mood.
- The coworker’s anxious, and controlling coping mechanisms.
- The parent who lays a guilt trip.
- The overly needy friend who treats you like a free therapist.
All these things take any emotional toll. If you are an inexperienced empath, you will begin to think you are responsible for what other people feel because your overactive conscience needs to reconcile the wrong and right in people’s lives. For an empath, this can lead to high levels of guilt, emotional imbalance, and melancholy.
Own Your Sensitivity
The first step to emotional healing is acknowledging that you are an empath — and own it! No there is nothing wrong with you. You were designed by the Creator to be deep, sensitive, compassionate, and caring of others. There is nothing wrong with your sensitivity to people’s words and actions. There’s nothing wrong with solitude and spending time with yourself. You don’t need anyone to “bring you out.” You don’t need anyone to complete you. You don’t need to stifle your sensitivity. You just need to control it.
You are Responsible for You
The second step to healing is to recognize that you are not meant to take on everyone else’s emotional states and personal problems. You are not the cause of someone’s bad day. You are not the sole solution to someone’s marriage or parenting problems. You are not responsible for your siblings bad attitude. You are not responsible for your mother’s happiness.
Establish Boundaries with Yourself
The third step in healing is establishing boundaries with other people — and yourself! Yes, you need to establish boundaries with yourself! Affirmations are a great way to heal the self-inflicted wounds we cause ourselves when we speak negatively about ourselves. Hurtful words others speak to us are bad enough. However, reinforcing that injury with negative self-talk is compounding your emotional issues, keeping you from healing and living the life you were created to live. I am completing a book that will show you how to rewrite old scripts and deactivate limiting beliefs that have hindered your growth as an HIE.
How have you managed your healing as an empath? How does being introverted or extroverted factor in your healing, if at all? Let me know in the comments below.