Updated: Nov 16, 2022
People who are extremely sensitive or empathic have a difficult time discerning what is their stuff and what is someone else’s. They feel so deeply that it can affect their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
I consider it a gift to be able to feel one’s own and other people’s emotions. Many of my clients have the opposite struggle. They can’t feel their emotions because they learned early on they weren’t allowed to have big emotions in their family, so they shut them down. I find it is harder for people who have shut down their emotions to name, feel, and express their emotions.
However, I can’t discount that it is just as difficult for people who are sensitive and empathic. The flood of information they receive doesn’t allow for a differentiation between themselves and the people around them. For sensitive people who are also psychically attuned, it is so inundating they can’t shut off the onslaught of other people’s feelings and sensations. They can read that person and know their wounds, hurts, pain, and negative self-talk. They are receiving information they don’t want to know.
Whether you are sensitive, empathic, or psychically gifted, how can you start to decipher what is yours and what is someone else’s, and how do you protect yourself and shut down the onslaught of energy and information?
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First, start to have some self-awareness around your own experience and naming your own emotions. Check in with yourself by asking what you are feeling. Then ask if this is truly your emotion or are you picking up on someone else’s emotions. You do this by closing your eyes and feeling into your body. Then ask if it is your emotion, and if it is, you will intuitively get a yes response; either as a silent yes in your mind or a knowing in your body. If it is your emotion, great, feel it and let it go. If it isn’t your emotion, do something to clear it from your body. You can do this either by smudging or washing your hands and wiping down your body with your hands to remove the energy. You can also visualize the emotions and sensations being drawn out of your body and going down the drain with the water.
It’s important to have strong boundaries with people and to say no to things that aren’t right for you.
You can ground yourself to feel more solid in your body. Plant your feet on the ground and imagine you are growing roots from the bottom of your feet deep into Mother Earth. Feel the weight of being anchored to the earth.
Go out into nature to connect, release, feel more at ease, relax, and recharge. Nature is very soothing and healing.
Visualize having a glass wall around you when you go out into the world. You can see people’s emotions, but it doesn’t penetrate the wall. Instead, it bounces off the wall and back to the other person. You can see and acknowledge their feelings with curiosity, but you don’t absorb them.
Practice mindfulness and meditation to quiet your mind, center yourself, and connect with your body and whatever emotions and sensations are arising in you with no judgment.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself. It’s not easy experiencing so much emotion and sensations from people and your environment. Don’t also be critical and judgmental. Find ways to support and self-soothe your body with love and kind words. What would you say to the person you love the most that was experiencing what you experience? That’s what you say to yourself!
If you can support what your body is going through due to being sensitive and empathic, and discern what is yours and what is someone else’s, you will ease your own physiology and start to see the gifts in feeling so deeply.
Find out more about emotions, mindfulness, grounding, smudging, and connecting with your body and Mother Earth in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.