Everyone tells me I’m too sensitive. It seems like the slightest comment upsets me. I’ve seen therapists who’ve given me great tools for coping and they’ve helped, but I just can’t seem to stop reacting to every perceived slight. I know most people aren’t even saying anything truly unkind, but my first reaction is to feel upset.
Occasionally I find myself avoiding going somewhere because I just feel overwhelmed by too many people. When I watch the news or read the papers, the sad things that happen just make me feel so depressed. I also seem to be a magnet for people telling me their problems. I don’t want to sound like I’m mean, but part of me wishes they wouldn’t share things with me. While I seem to help them, when they’re gone I feel drained.
Someone told me that I might be an empath and while I’m not sure what that is, if there’s something that can explain all of this I’d just be glad to know there’s a reason.
Signed, Feels Too Much
I’m neither a doctor nor licensed mental health professional, so I’m glad to know you’ve seen a therapist and that you feel the tools you’ve been given have merit. When following a holistic path in which all aspects of a person is included—the heart, body, mind and spirit—it’s important to address each area as fully as possible. That may entail seeing traditional medical doctors as well as other licensed, appropriate professionals such as those trained in the mental health field.
I’ve come to believe there are four ways we process information. We do so intellectually, practically, spiritually/creatively, and emotionally. We each possess all four aspects, yet one energetic area dominates. This primary energy is the way in which we process information, the way we see the world, ourselves, others and our place in the entirety. We need all four energetic realms, yet when we don’t understand and honor our primary way of processing information, we can feel overwhelmed and confused.
I describe it this way. Let’s imagine you’re buying a house. The person with intellectual energy will say, “This house is a $250,000.00 home. If I put $50,000.00 down, in five years I can sell it and make such-and-such profit.” If that figure works for the person with a primary energy that’s intellectual, they’ll buy the house and, for them, it will be the best process for making the decision.
The person with practical energy might say, “I need a home with four bedrooms, a large kitchen and a den.” If they find a home meeting their practical needs, they’ll feel quite happy with their decision to purchase the property.
The energy I call spiritual/creative causes a person to look at that single level home with the bad paint and unkempt yard, and if they can envision it redecorated and tidied up, and if that potential matches their inner picture of what they want, they may very well buy the house and be happy they did so.
This last energy may feel very familiar to you, because the individual with an emotional energy will walk into a home and say, “Ah! I love this home!” Or, conversely, “I don’t like the feel of this at all.” A person who makes decisions based on their primary energy of emotion, may feel compelled to come up with a rational reason or justification for their choice, but when it comes down to it, they either feel drawn to it or they don’t.
While each energetic type has inherent gifts, abilities and blessings, I’ve found that our current culture is particularly unfriendly toward those whose primary energy is emotional. We’re told that being intellectual and/or practical is rational and justifiable while being emotional means we’re weak, too vulnerable, gullible, irrational and therefore unworthy of being taken seriously.
It’s hard enough to trust ourselves when the only thing we can say to another is, “This just doesn’t feel right to me.” When those around us don’t honor our process of decision-making, it magnifies our own doubts and uncertainties.
A person whose primary energy is emotional is extremely responsive to the emotions of others. Often, crowded places feel claustrophobic and chaotic. You’re essentially an antenna and you’re picking up the emotional signals from everyone around you. It’s as if you constantly turn a radio dial and hear static and a chorus of bits and pieces of voices and words. The sheer amount of information, as well as the overlay of sensory stimuli, can be overwhelming.
Yet you have a tremendous gift. The reason so many people are drawn to you, the reason they unburden themselves to you is because they sense at a very deep level your ability to understand their emotions. You possess a profound capacity for compassion and empathy. In fact that’s why individuals with your psychic gift are often called Empaths. An Empath—also referred to as a Clairsentient—is a person who can sense, read, and understand the emotional energy of others.
I believe the greatest honor we can give to another is that of being heard. We each long to be known, to feel understood, listened to, and accepted. Being heard is so precious because it validates our sense of worth and presence, it makes us feel connected and loved. While many people find it hard to put this hunger into words, we each harbor a need to be part of the whole and we’re instinctively drawn to those we sense can deeply listen and understand, gravitate to those who do so without harsh judgment.
Your exquisite sensitivity to emotional energy draws people to you and yet because you’re unaware of your ability and power, you haven’t learned how to set up proper and healthy boundaries. In this way, you’re the equivalent of a psychic sponge, soaking up every bit of emotional energy coming you’re way. When you don’t understand the nature of your emotional gifts, you lack the awareness of how to utilize them for your highest good, and thus the highest good of all those whose lives you touch.
Know that your deep sensitivity to the remarks and actions of others is tied to your extreme ability to feel emotions. Although this might seem like an odd comparison, think of those individuals called “noses,” or perfumers. They possess the rare gift of discerning subtle scents, and their extreme sensitivity to odors and fragrances is what makes them highly sought-after individuals. Yet their ability to identify the most elusive and desired scents also makes them wrinkle those very noses at the smell of anything malodorous. It’s merely the flip side of being highly gifted as a perfume nose and those who understand this particular gift don’t judge them for being uncomfortable around unpleasant smells.
You’re blessed with the gift of emotional sensitivity. This isn’t to ignore the sadness you can feel, or the tendency to feel overwhelmed and hurt. It’s the flip side of the coin. It’s stands to reason that if you’re profoundly caring, loving, kind, sensitive and compassionate toward others, able to feel their own emotions as your own, you’ll also have a tendency to feel their pain. That being said, you don’t have resign yourself to feeling uncomfortable.
Continue to learn about your emotional, psychological nature. Utilize the tools your therapists taught you. Understand that you possess a refined ability to feel and in doing so strive to honor your talent at discerning emotional energies. Don’t automatically accept the opinions of others as being a valid statement about your emotional energy merely because they don’t understand it. With your own acceptance of your energetic type, you can begin to work with it and balance the blessings with the challenges.
The simplest way of protecting yourself is to ask to be filled with light. Going back to that simple sponge analogy, imagine taking a dry sponge and placing it in a pooled bit of water. The sponge eventually soaks up every last drop, expanding in size as it holds all the water within. However, if you fill the sponge with liquid and then place it in that same amount of pooled water, it won’t absorb another drop. That pooled bit of water is the equivalent of the emotions of all those around you. When you’re filled with light you’re less vulnerable to soaking up the feelings of those you come into contact with.
A simple way of doing so—a prayer or invocation, a request of whatever power you deem appropriate—is to ask, “Please fill me with light. Please surround me with light. Please form a protective bubble of light around me through which only positive can penetrate.” My suggestion is to envision a lovely golden white circle of light spinning warm and beautiful in the center of your body and to see this light expanding until it both fills and surrounds you in a bubble of healing, golden-white energy. One of my clients likened it to the bubble surrounding Glinda the Good Witch in the movie The Wizard of Oz! However you see it, ask for this protection first thing upon awakening, and last thing before you go to sleep at night.
I hope this helps you on your path.
Many blessings, Asrianna