Do you ever feel like you are suddenly drained, disoriented, or depressed for no apparent reason? Have you been labeled by coworkers or family members as “too sensitive” or “overly emotional?” Do you often feel overwhelmed when working with certain people or being in groups, and then need time alone to revive?
Many times we may not understand why we are feeling so overwhelmed by things that don’t’ seem to impact other people. If that describes you, chances are you may be what some are now calling a Highly Sensitive Person and/or an empath. What is more, you may be picking up and feeling emotions and thoughts that might not even be yours!
Dr. Elaine Aron has coined the term Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and states that they make up 15 to 20 percent of the population, both human and animal. You can check out the full Self-Test at www.hsperson.com, but here are some key features:
- easily overwhelmed and stressed by outer stimuli, like loud noises, strong smells, and chaotic environments
- extremely perceptive
- very sensitive to pain
- have rich and often intense internal lives
- need plenty of quiet time to maintain their equilibrium
Oh how I wish Dr. Aron was around when I was growing up! I certainly fit the category, to a tee. And it has been a blessing and a curse. Growing up, I often was labeled as too sensitive, too emotional, and too introverted or “shy” as I needed lots of alone time. I even took to hiding in the bathroom so I could lock the door!
I quickly learned to stuff my emotions and toughen up my skin. I was so good at repressing emotions, once in an argument with a boyfriend years ago, he demanded I tell him how I felt and I couldn’t even respond! The feelings were so buried I had no clue how to unearth them. Unraveling this pattern of trying to manage my overwhelming emotions and inexplicable sensitivity has been the focus of much of my personal healing journey, and it is very often the main (and often hidden) struggle for many of my clients.
On the positive side, my own personal challenges in learning how to manage being a highly sensitive empath has led me to develop and refine energy tools to help many healers, bodyworkers, therapists, coaches, and intuitives stay balanced and centered. Through my own trials, I have learned many great ways to decipher what is happening, and then manage and clear energy so we can become more detached when other people’s thoughts and emotions are bombarding us.
The good news—you can do this without shutting down your own feelings, or cutting off your connections and relationships. I am now able to clearly identify and voice my feelings as they are happening in present time—quite an achievement for me.
But now comes the tricky part. Are HSPs experiencing heightened sensitivity or heightened awareness, or both?
Now that we have defined what a “highly sensitive person” is, you need to distinguish that not everything you are feeling is yours! As your awareness grows, so does your sensitivity, and this can be both very helpful and extremely challenging.
Several times in my spiritual journey I have been in extreme states that were marked first by tremendous expansion or opening to higher states of awareness and consciousness. It is as if an old cloudy layer peels away, and everything seems to scintillate with a diamond-like clarity, and then a great sense of deep peace, overflowing love and enormous well-being engulfs me.
Then the other shoe falls quickly afterward. My already extreme sensitivity climbs to a new high—everyday happenings feel like nails on a chalkboard. I feel like one big raw nerve, and everyone is on it with broken glass. I am unusually exhausted and want to be hiding out in a cave. Even worse, some people feel like vampires, draining my energy.
The last time I experienced this transition was at a fire ceremony, about nine years ago. We were chanting and I felt something like a peeling of plastic wrap from my skin. Then everything felt exquisite—like I could “see with new eyes and hear with new ears.”
Only a few moments later, however, someone left the circle and sang separately, with a bit of attitude. I literally felt his energy like a butcher knife in my heart! I had to leave the circle and walk away as I could barely breathe. I even knew it was nothing aimed at me personally, but it didn’t matter. The energy was unbelievably sharp and cutting and took a while to soften and release.
Later on I queried my spiritual teacher about it and she explained: “Whenever you reach a new level of awareness, you have heightened sensitivity to both positive and negative experiences, until you acclimate.” While it took several weeks to “acclimate,” it helped to know that ultimately I would learn to breathe easier in the upper stratospheres.
How to recognize when you are being affected by other peoples energies:
Why would anyone feel other people’s energy and emotions? Well, several reasons come to mind. My first response would be my favorite teaching:
Everything is Energy: Even thoughts and emotions have a signature frequency and can be discerned by many people, and all animals. As you grow in awareness, the subtler realms of sensation and feeling energies become more heightened, and you become more feeling and empathic.
Compassion: You have chosen to help/feel/heal others.
Protection: You wish to have a heads-up of what is coming your way so you can prepare/protect yourself.
How do we feel other people’s energy and emotions?
It is actually quite natural to feel others’ energies. All life forms have a subtle energy field, also known as the aura or bio-field, which picks up many stimuli in the environment. Our personal energy field acts as a communications device, transmitting and receiving energy and information about our surroundings.
The natural distance for our personal energy field is approximately an arm’s length out in a circle all around us. However, it is not static and can be extended much farther than that, or retracted very tightly right up to the skin. We can learn how to play with our energy field and make it more appropriate for different situations.
How do we know what we are feeling is not ours?
This may take some practice. For me, an extreme empath, it has taken many years of consistent application of techniques to first become more aware, then to manage and clear my energy and my field, and ultimately to reset my energy boundaries and spiritual agreements on how I choose to be an empathic healer in a physical body.
Accept that everything you feel is not about you. Some people may have trouble with this, but it is essential to begin to have more discernment and detachment.
Gain awareness. Notice the circumstances. If a feeling comes on quite suddenly, without any supporting reason, that could be a clue. Of course, our mental/emotional bodies are quite changeable, and the reasons we feel things are not always rational and logical. If you are serious about your personal and spiritual growth, you do need to honor what you feel, as that can be a signpost that something is amiss and you need to explore a bit deeper.
Ask for clarity: Many years ago I noticed I was getting depressed quite suddenly and often after visiting a supermarket or other public place. As a dedicated spiritual warrior/healer, I thought my purpose was to diligently unearth more layers of stuff I felt I had to “work on.”
Then I had a major “aha”—what if all this sadness wasn’t even mine? I sat and meditated on the question and got a very clear message that much of it, in fact, was not. I was often feeling someone else, and as a healer felt compelled to take responsibility and begin clearing it. What a relief! I was working overtime on everyone else—and it was such a comfort to have the understanding that I was not so sad after all!
Use energy clearing techniques to begin to sort out what is you, and what is not you. There are many modalities to choose from, and whatever works to help you feel more centered, balanced, stable, clear, and lighter is extraordinarily useful. This makes up the bulk of my energy alchemy practice. These techniques are a daily self-care practice, not a one-time deal. It is not unlike needing to change air filters regularly. We are all impacted by all energy all the time, even from our animals, and it is necessary to find practices that you can do regularly to support filtering out the toxic energies.
Have intention. A great place to start shifting your experience is always to set a clear intention. Try this for a simple yet very potent energy clearing: “I release any energies that are not mine, and are no longer for my Highest Good.”
Strengthen Your Energy Boundaries
Now let’s address some tools to help you better manage your boundaries and energy so you don’t get “slimed’ with other people’s heavy sticky emotional sludge in the first place.
Our personal energy field acts as a communications device, transmitting and receiving energy and information about our surroundings. Remember, the natural distance for our personal energy field is approximately an arm’s length out in a circle all around us. It is what defines where you end and someone else begins.
Many people, especially “sensitives,” have unknowingly extended their personal energy field much farther than that, usually for several reasons: to be compassionate and feel/heal/help others, to feel more in control of their space; or protectively to want a heads-up about what may be coming their way so they can anticipate and better defend themselves.
Wild animals often have very large energy fields, and prey animals like horses often do as well. When I work with animals, I am very sensitive to entering their “space.” It helps tremendously to more quickly establish a good rapport as they appreciate the chance to adjust to my presence and feel safer before I expect them to receive my touch or healing energy.
How it impacts you to have large extended open personal energy field.
As I stated earlier, our personal energy field (aka aura or bio-field) is not static and can be extended to encompass a large room or retracted very tightly right up to the skin. You might prefer a large open energy field, as it feels more welcoming and less rigid than a tighter, close field. However, when your bio-field is quite large and far-flung, it means that you are running everyone else’s energy through your own field. Translation—everyone is in your space, and you are experiencing their thoughts and emotions running through your body and aura directly!!!
This is a major reason why so many sensitive people are overwhelmed with other people’s emotions and feel zapped and emotionally drained when around others, especially in larger crowds and public places.
The great news: We can learn how to play with our energy field and make it more appropriate for different situations. For example, when you live in a rural place, there may be no need to contract your field in the way that you might choose to do when living in city and riding on a packed subway.
Four Energy Alchemy Techniques to Clear other People’s Emotions and Thoughts
Remember, thoughts are things, and what you think about expands. “As you think, so shall you be.” So when you intend and visualize the following tools, know that you are instantly impacting your own energy and experience.
NOTE: You do not need to know “how” any of this takes place. You are the captain and are taking charge of your Being and leaving the details of how that happens to the same Source that manages how you breathe.
1) Call in your Personal Energy Field: Though you may not have consciously extended your field, you can consciously retract it. You are in command of your being. So command your field to come in toward you as tightly as you desire—all the way to the edge of your body if you are right up against someone. This does take a bit of practice to perfect and hold, but you will become more skilled at this in time. It is especially helpful when attending large meetings or going to public places, but can be used anytime you want to gather up your personal field so others are not energetically in your space.
2) Grounding or Earthing: Just like electrical appliances need grounding, the human body can be stabilized by consciously connecting your energy to the earth. While you can ground using the visual of roots growing from your feet, I find it most effective grounding from the first (root) chakra at the base of the spine into the center of the earth, using the image of a tube to add potency.
3) Release: Make the intention to release all energy that is no longer serving you, and is not for your Highest Good. You can send it right down your Grounding Tube for recycling and transmuting! The time needed here could be a few moments or up to 20 minutes or more; it depends on how often you take out the garbage!
4) Clearing with a Rose: A rose is a perfect tool here, as it has the highest frequency on the planet; also, many people are using the rose and therefore empowering this popular image for energy clearing. Additionally, it has a built-in grounding line in the long stem! The image of a rose can be used to make separations and clear negative or challenging energy in specific circumstances like conversations.
Visualize a long-stem rose midway between you and the other person. Now command the rose to harmonize your energies and to absorb or clear any energy that is in disharmony with you.
For example, for a long time I did not realize the extent that I had been feeling both my own emotions and those of others, especially those close to me. My husband and I were slipping quickly into an argument one night and I thought it was potentially a real deal-breaker. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 9.5 doozy!
Luckily, I had just learned the rose technique to make separations and, unbeknownst to him, I “inserted” a rose between us on the couch and began clearing. Instantly I could feel most of the upset was on his side of the rose, and I was now down to a 2. While I could “feel” all his emotions, I had been doubling his strong emotions plus my own, and thought we were really on thin ice. Within a few moments, I was able to easily detach and step quickly out of his story, and diffuse my own upset, possibly saving our marriage.
Claiming Your Super-Power
Now that you have some great techniques to more easily manage your energy and your super sensitivity, it is time to fully claim your Super-Power. For truly, heightened sensitivity is the hallmark of greater awareness and higher consciousness.
The many benefits are being Highly Sensitive:
In the Workplace: This gift allows you to know/sense/feel what other people are thinking or feeling without being told. They may not even realize what they are experiencing!
So with your boss, coworkers, or clients, when you pick up something energetically you can address it directly or indirectly to help that person feel safe and let him or her know that you understand his/her unique feelings or perspective.
When making presentations or sales calls, you can more fluidly handle objections that have not even been raised; and anticipate reactions as you may actually feel the energy shift before others even acknowledge it mentally.
In decision-making, your sensitivity can serve you very well as you begin to navigate how you feel when something is aligned with you or not. You have a much better navigation system as a result, and can avoid costly mistakes and time wasted going down a path that is not in your or your business’ best interests.
Many successful business leaders have channeled their sensitivity and “follow their gut” in hiring, market trends, whom to partner with, and decision-making.
Benefits in Relationships: Your sensitivity allows you to be more skillful at sorting out what is yours and also what is not yours. You can speak more clearly about what you feel is going on under the surface, both for you and others, which can totally break open a pattern that perhaps was never seen or understood with that depth of clarity before.
When you use the rose visualization tool to make separations, and realize that what you are feeling may not be yours, it is easier to be more detached and therefore not so reactive. Many arguments have been dissipated in this way, and have led to major personal breakthroughs and much happier relationships.
Benefits with Animals: When you are with animals, your high sensitivity will allow you to feel with more clarity what is going. While it takes some practice to listen to animals on a telepathic level, being sensitive to energy and emotion will give you a heads-up when something is brewing with your beloved companion well before there are more obvious symptoms. This gives you the opportunity to begin addressing any upsets or imbalances before they progress into illness or behavior problems.
Benefits as a Healer, Bodyworker, Therapist or Health Practitioner: Increased intuition about the underlying issues and root causes of your clients’ upsets and illnesses are invaluable for their awareness of the deeper reasons they are out of balance, and may offer great insight for them to more quickly and directly deal with the problems.
Each one of these energy alchemy tools has been priceless for transforming my personal life and relationships—and I use them daily. I also teach them to all my clients, and have created a more in-depth audio training program entitled “Transform your Super-Sensitivity into Your SUPER-POWER…So You Can Stop Energy Drains, Strengthen Your Personal Boundaries and Take Back Your Power!”
So the first thing I want you to do to consciously claim your “Sensitivity Super Power” is become aware of how you think about yourself. Do you complain that you are cursed being so sensitive? It may be a good time to restate this self-limiting concept and begin to unwrap the precious gifts of increased clarity, empowerment, and connectedness that are awaiting you.
Kumari is an internationally acclaimed intuitive coach, master healer, best-selling author, spiritual evolutionary, and animal mystic. Her deepest joy is empowering others to unwrap their innate intuitive, manifesting, and healing gifts. Kumari hosted “Co-Creation Activations” radio show on World Puja Network and the Internet TV program “How to Heal Anything Live.” She is coauthor of the bestselling book Empowering Transformations for Womenand just released her new eBook Animal Communication Magic & Miracles: 13 Keys to Deepen Your Bond with Your Pets, Improve Health & Change Behavior Immediately.Kumari is a catalyst for spiritual evolution. Through energy alchemy and unveiling the human/animal spiritual interconnectedness, she has helped thousands around the globe experience bliss, our true divinity and Oneness. For more information visit www.kumarihealing.com.