I remember from a very young age that I was able to feel the emotions of another. Whether it was a family member, friend, or even a stranger, I could feel what they were feeling. If someone was sad, I felt their sadness, if someone was excited and happy, I could feel their excitement, if a person was mad, I could feel their anger. Being so young however, I had no idea what was going on. I just knew I felt so deeply, and at times, it caused me to become very anxious.
In the past I had considered myself to be "too sensitive" and "overly emotional," and those around me would often say the same. My feelings were easily hurt and I could cry at the drop of a hat. I would often find myself overcome with emotion when someone shared something tragic that had happened to them, and even just sitting with people who weren't talking, I could sense how they were feeling. This caused me to shelter myself and spend a lot of time alone. It became too overwhelming for me to be around people as I would carry their "burdens" around with me. I just couldn't stop thinking about the pain and hurt they were experiencing.
It wasn't until I was much older, and once I started working with energy, that I began to understand what was actually happening. I learned how energy works and that we are all energy beings, and some people are a little more sensitive to the energy of others. I was what one would call an Empath. An Empath is a person who can consciously and unconsciously tune into the emotional state of a another.
After understanding about Empaths and that they are highly sensitive to energies, things started to make more sense to me. Like the fact that I couldn't watch the news, and any kind of violence or cruelty would leave me feeling completely "blue" and with low energy for the entire day. I was holding onto experiences and emotions that were not mine, no wonder why my anxiety was through the roof.
Another interesting thing I noticed was when I found myself spending time with "inauthentic" people, I could sense it, I could feel when someone wasn't being themselves, when they weren't being real. During those kind of interactions, I would find it hard to carry on a conversation, small talk didn't even cut it, and oddly enough, I felt like I couldn't be myself, and so I would repress and go inward. I would avoid if I could those type situations and people because it just didn't feel good.
Sensitive/Empathetic people are very in touch with their feelings and in tune with their bodies. They know when something feels 'off' and they typically only express their emotions with someone if they feel 'safe.' On the other hand, people seem to be very drawn to empathetic people; they feel an instant sense of safety and trust, and will openly share their deep emotional traumas. You will find complete strangers being drawn to the energy of an empath, and I personally believe it's an unconscious connection and inner knowing that they will understand and listen without judgment.
I have now learned how to better manage my emotions, and I'm much more aware when I'm experiencing feelings and emotions that are not mine. I actually ask myself, "is this mine?" If the answer is no, I mentally clear it by envisioning the "uninvited" energy leaving my body. As a Reiki Master and Teacher who works with people, and energy, on almost a daily basis, I have gained a huge understanding of how we as energy beings work.
Here are some things which helped me throughout my journey and may help you as well;
"Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a 'hot mess' or having 'too many issues' are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.
Anthony St. Maarten