What is empathy? Empathy is a sense of understanding the feelings and experiences of another person. Many of us are empathetic towards our friends, coworkers or family members experiences. And we have some form of empathy this sense of every day in conversations or communication with others. We may even experience empathy watching a movie, TV show or listening to a song. There are many unique individuals that choose to live a life of empathy and service to others. Those special individuals live a life of service in one form or another to better the lives of the world around them. They often choose their profession because of their high sense of empathy and compassion towards others. These loving individuals in the health care or service profession experience more empathic situations than others do because of their work environment. For example, my profession healthcare (nurses, doctors, EMT, Medical Assistants, Fire fighters, etc.) experience much more empathy because their career choice is founded on helping others. Every day they care for patients facing health challenges and they serve them in their role. Each of their patients is facing unique experiences that involve some form of physical or emotional pain. The healthcare workers role is empathic in and of itself, simply by their conscious decision to help others. Many health care workers may experience added stress or health issues because of their career choice and the way they process these experiences.
And yet there are still people that experience an extreme sense of empathy. This highly exclusive gift is almost impossible for others to understand. They experience empathy at a cellular level throughout their entire body. You can’t imagine feeling this form of empathy unless you experience it first-hand. Those enlightened individuals are empath’s and they feel exponentially more than everyone around them. Empath’s are individuals with a gift of hypersensitivity. Some may call it a curse but I call it a gift. Of course to reach this point of awareness and acceptance was quite a journey for me and those around me. Empath’s are hypersensitive to the feelings, thoughts, pains and emotions of others. That little fact was even hard for me to understand even-though I had an intuitive feeling lingering in my mind for a long time. The interesting fact is that many empaths (hypersensitive people) don’t even realize the extent of their empathy or the toll it can take on their own health. For instance my career paths have always lead me to a trajectory of caring for others in various roles and environments. My careers gradually transitioned and transformed from one career into the next in the service realm. Every career choice was a compassionate one: Special Education Teacher, Nursing Assistant, Registered Nurse, Health Coach, Hypnotist and now Transformational Author. These are all careers based on supporting the community by nurturing, caring, and loving others. All of these career choices were based on love and a hope to make a difference. They were each an opportunity to improve the lives of those around me. I acknowledged my empath gift a few years ago but didn’t understand its true impact. I had NO idea the significant role it played in my own emotional and physical wellbeing. I had seen a rollercoaster decline in my health and happiness but had no idea my empathic gift was the culprit. And truly it wasn’t the culprit at ALL now that I understand my gift. The cause of my health decline was my lack of understanding and preparation to live with my special gift. After all we may be born empathic but the cultivation of a deep connection with Your Inner Strength takes time. It was my lack of knowledge that caused me to fail at meeting my own basic human needs. It was a lack of self-loving, self-care practices that was my downfall. It was my lack of knowledge about self-protection that truly opened my eyes.
Imagine a person that is so open and willing to help others every second of everyday. They are so willing that they do this subconsciously all day long, 365 days a year, over and over again. And I mean in the moment and every moment. It could be a text message, phone call, face to face conversation or care-giver relationship. You name the situation and my body was ready to tackle it. And I had no idea it was happening for almost 38 years. I was effortlessly absorbing feelings, thoughts, emotions, pain and experiences of those around me. I absolutely mean absorb because that is what empaths do. And that is exactly what I used to do every day. I was completely oblivious and unaware it was happening. I did it with patients, complete stranger, friends, family members, co-worker, etc. It didn’t matter who it was if they were in pain I was ready to fix them or give them a little relief. The true awakening began when I noticed TV shows and movies triggered intense feelings.
Hypersensitive people are extremely sensitive to the energetic vibrations, emotions, thoughts and feelings of others. This weird phenomena can actually allow them to absorb the feelings, thoughts and emotions of others into their bodies. I know it sounds crazy because until I experienced it for myself I thought it was a crazy too. Then I started to feel intense emotions during movies and TV shows. The most significant experiences I had were watching Game of Thrones or other violent shows. And the most traumatic scenes in the first few episodes of Game of Thrones were the hardest for me to handle. I could feel the good, the bad and the ugly. I could feel everything as if it was happening to me. I could see the pain in Kalisi’s eyes as her new husband raped her. I could feel her pain when her brother treated her like garbage. It wasn’t always negative or bad. I felt the good ones too. I could feel her love transform into something new for her husband. And when I say feel, I mean my heart would race, my blood would boil, the emotions would pop into my head and fill my entire body. I could feel her fear; her shame and it took a lot of work to be able to watch the few episodes that I did. We tried to watch it years ago but it was too violent and at that point I hadn’t established a self-love routine. This past year we tried to watch it again and every time those rough and tough emotions came up I practiced my own routine on the couch amidst the chaotic show. Yep, I changed my breathing pattern, I chanted affirmations in my mind, I practiced my stretching and relaxation techniques to release those emotions that had entered me. It was an exhausting process and eventually we stopped watching the show. I truly thought it was an amazing show but it was a lot of work to stay relaxed and calm because I hadn’t learned how to protect myself yet.
After this phenomena, I was more aware of feelings and emotions in my body. I started to feel weird sensations in my body during conversations with friends, coworkers and family members. I began experiencing pain in areas that had been pain free for years. Random pains would emerge once again. Sometimes the pain would vanish after some self-love routines and others would last for days or even weeks. You see I still hadn’t learned a crucial element to prevent or limit this phenomenon. And truly this little crucial element is beneficial to everyone not only empaths because it promotes your own resiliency by building your own inner strength.
Have you ever had a conversation and suddenly your head hurts? Or Your shoulders tense up? or You get a sharp pain in your stomach? Once, I started to put things together and realize this was my reality I began to ask myself questions. Why does my back hurt? What is the message my body is sending? Suddenly, I started to ask myself a lot of questions. This little practice began several months ago. I began to see patterns with friends, family and strangers. I realized that many pains that arouse in my body were not mine: back pain, shoulder pain or headache. I’m not sure if they experienced any relief but suddenly after the conversation ended, I had their pain too. Some might say its psychological, you are imagining it but I wasn’t. They didn’t tell me they were in pain, I wasn’t assessing them as a nurse does, yet boom it came. Then later on in the day they would mention they had a headache or their right shoulder hurt and it confirmed what my intuition had already told me. And when I say I had pain I mean it. My muscles were tight and tender, I was less flexible. My muscles would making popping and snapping noises and activities became harder to perform. Let’s just say the things I had worked so hard to relieve started pilling back up again. My arm pain or back pain would be debilitating once again.
It would happen suddenly in the middle of a conversation, my neck suddenly tightened and tensed up causing a radiating pain. Then I would take some time to meditate, breath and relax. I would ask myself. Is this my pain mine or someone else’s? Boom, a name would pop into my head. Then I would think about the conversation and any visual cues I had received. Maybe the person was rubbing their neck or told me they had a headache. I usually didn’t know they were in pain during the conversation. Mysteriously symptoms would arise all the time out of absolutely thin air. It helped me understand a little more why working bedside in the Pediatric Emergency Room was so difficult for me. Being such a loving person and trying to heal the pain of those beautiful little children had eventually taken a toll so huge that I had to leave them behind. But I hadn’t figured this out until now. And I left bedside nursing more than 9 years ago because I left when my oldest was little. You see I have been taking care of myself for years already and my chronic pain is pretty much non-existent. I literally had to give up bedside care because my body couldn’t take it and my doctor was worried I was going to die if it continued. Fast forward to this year, I am aware that I can feel these intense emotions and am creating a routine to relax and calm but I’m still missing a key element protection. I get flare ups here and there but the extent of my pain is never close to what it was 6 or 7 years ago. Then I travel to Hawaii with my family. People that I love more than anything in the world. People that I would give my life for and obviously if I absorb the pain of strangers my body was open and ready to take on their pain too. Traveling in a group is always stressful. We all know that it’s hard to please everyone and I always try to please everyone. So I did, I used my ho’oponopono and my self-loving practices blessing everyone in my family. I blessed them all every single one of them all day long. If there was a family argument I blessed them. If the kids were fighting I blessed them. If we couldn’t agree on a tour, I blessed them. If we were in a car for a long time and tension was running high, I blessed them. I thought I was helping myself in the process that the blessings would help me remain peaceful, calm and protected. They helped me stay peaceful and calm but I definitely wasn’t protected. Each day I was exhausted and drained. I would fall asleep early and wake up exhausted. I didn’t realize I was missing some crucial steps in my process until I returned from Hawaii and read a book that arrived as a gift from my Publisher. Ramses Rodriguez’s book “Stop Pressing Your Own Panic Button” opened my eyes to my gift. It also brought to light a doctor that has my special gift. She has dedicated her career to help people understand their gift and protect themselves. Dr. Judith Orloff wrote the “The Empath’s Survival Guide” really opened my eyes. I began to listen to her book on audible and them progressed to purchasing her program for additional insight. And suddenly it all made sense, the exhaustion and the desire to rush home early from Paradise. By the end of my trip to Hawaii, I was exhausted, drained and overwhelmed. The lack of protection for myself caused me to feel completely overwhelmed and snappy. I was snapping at people, grumpy and making hasty decisions because I just couldn’t take any more stress. I had spent the entire trip blessing everyone around me and had lost myself. I had lost my happy, positive attitude and upbeat personality. I was at complete exhaustion and the only thing I could think about was getting home. I still oblivious of my true gifts and the impact it was having on my own health. I hadn’t developed a protection routine for myself because I didn’t know I needed one. I was still taking on the emotions, thoughts, pains and energies of everyone around me even though I didn’t want to. And thus my Empath awakening happened. It has been a few weeks since we returned from that spectacular trip that enlightened me to the true powers of my gifts. It also helped me realize the importance of creating a routine for myself that truly gave me resilience and happiness. The funny thing I learned along the way is these little routines that I have are not only beneficial to me but everyone around me. This week a course came into my email at Baptist called “Highly Resilient Nurses” that cemented this little fact in my mind. The course spoke of some of the practices I have developed for myself over the past few years. My practice is still significantly different than anything I have encountered out in the world. But I realize now that I am on the right path and that Hawaii was the trip that brought my true awakening to light. After all we all need to fall to stand up again. We all need to crawl to walk. We all need to hurt to heal. So now it’s time to write the Transformation book I was born to write.
So Here is a little gift. I created it for all those empath’s out there. Those Special people like me that feel more than the rest. Those people that have a unique gift and were born to help the world around them. And maybe even live in the health care world like I do. Take time for yourself to listen and relax before you begin your day. Create a sense of protection for yourself every morning. This practice of self-love will make your day Fabulous. Blessings and Joy to all of you. Click the image below to list to the Meditation.