I recently discovered that I’m an empath. I always thought something was wrong with me, how my mood changes when someone walks in the room..no matter where I am and how water calms me, I can feel others moods and the list goes on. How can I stay centered, be less emotional?
Dear Whirling Emotions,
I’m so glad to answer this question. I’m not sure an empath can actually be less emotional, but we can grow in our understanding of what we are experiencing and why. We learn to tell the difference between what we are feeling (the important stuff) and what other’s are feeling (the not so essential stuff to us). That understanding alone can help us to feel less emotionally reactive to all the external stuff. And there is a a lot more external stuff that will trigger us.
First off, I want to explain that if we begin reacting to another’s emotions, it’s because we have already received some kind of information from them, either through body language, intuitions, or sheer empathic connection. Part of understanding the information comes from recognizing that we empath’s have a natural tendency to “read” everything that comes into our field of vision or awareness. We seem to be naturally curious, whether it’s for reasons of compassion or self-preservation, and so we by default and without real conscious thought read…and there for pick on, anything that comes our way. So the first step to getting a bit of control is to being to be aware of when you are reading into someone or something.
The goal understanding our “reading into” ability is to become proficient enough in knowing when you are reading and picking something up to make the conscious choice to continue or not. If you realize you are reading into something, you will be able to come to a point where you can say, “It’s not my business, this person isn’t confiding in me simply by walking into the room.” I can almost guarantee that this person never consented or wanted to be read, just because they walked into a space you were in. This simple technique can cut out most unintentional re-activeness. “This is not my business” is an excellent mantra for this stage of empathic awareness. You and the other person will definitely know when the read should happen, so that means you don’t actually NEED to delve into the energy of others on a daily basis. Only when it was meant to be!
Do not for an instant, believe that using “not my business” makes you less caring or mean. To the averagely sensitive person, we are almost always over-caring. So learning to mind our own empathic business, simply allows us to have some sort of normalcy. This, in part, is what people mean when they say you need to work on your boundaries. Additional boundary work might include being able to say “no”, and learning different ways to disengage when you are pressed for something.
The other thing that sensitives and empaths do when they read into another’s energy and emotional state is they mirror what they perceive. Most times for the beginner, it happens so fast and naturally that we assume a negative or angry personal spread their negativity to us! As if it were some kind of plague! But our mood shift happened because saw something we recognized in the other person’s state of being, like how we start speaking with an accent when we hear it. While our mind might come up some good reasons as why we should be angry once we feel it, the original emotion we mirrored really isn’t authentic to us.
Most times I can recognize an emotion I’m mirroring by stopping and asking myself “who do I sound like?” and “Do I really, actually believe all that?” A mirrored emotion isn’t something we can process and deal with, like our own emotions. It’s a patterning we picked up from an external source, and the energy and emotions ricochet around your system until you can release it. I still pick up panic-worry patterns from my mom. A few days after I see her when she’s worrying, my mind has concocted a bazillion reasons why I should feel panicked or worried….”what did I miss??” But when I catch something in my mind that sounds like it came from my mom, I can release it and re-center back into what I actually think and feel.
Dealing with just my own emotions is challenging enough. Having to try to deal with emotions triggered by mirroring or reading into things, makes emotional mastery seem impossible. It’s time to cut down the amount of work and pressure we’re putting on ourselves. But the cultural “rule” that we HAVE to care and know what everyone is feeling and thinking or we’re mean, bad, or insensitive is a modern concept. It’s not something we can actually accomplish either. There is no way to prevent someone from getting upset or insulted, no matter how sensitive we are. It’s their choice. Their emotional reaction and reflection of their beliefs and blocks. It’s not our job to heal everyone, and if we are getting hung up on that “rule”, it’s more guilt and ego talking than soul guidance. It’s our job to heal ourselves, tend our light, and shine brightly.
Here are some of questions I use to help get back into emotional center