Dealing With the Challenges of Being an Empath (or Highly Sensitive)

Dealing With the Challenges of Being an Empath (or Highly Sensitive) 1

By Open

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Let me begin by saying I am not an empath. I am a catalyst, but I do have empathic tendencies. The work here at Openhand draws plenty of empaths (and highly sensitive people) naturally, by the Law of Attraction. Perhaps then, there’s something an empath can learn about their gift from a catalyst? (and of course vice versa). Perhaps there’s something a catalyst naturally does, which is inherent to their nature, that an empath can develop inside themselves? And maybe this can make living in this complex and diverse world a whole lot easier?

That’s the purpose of this exploration which I invite you to join…

How the Catalyst Might Help The Empath

An empath is someone who can – and naturally does – take on the feelings and emotions of others as their own. It means they can literally feel what another is feeling. But this gift can sometimes become a helluva nightmare until it’s properly developed. In taking on the emotions, thoughts and feelings of those around you, and society, you become awash with convoluted energy that can batter you around like a small sailing boat in a storm. It raises enormous levels of anxiety and fear, a near constant fight/flight mechanism, which can drive the empath to despair – even sometimes suicidal tendencies.

But it needn’t be like this. There is a solution.
There is mastery of one’s gift, of one’s art.

I am a catalyst, but when I sit with people, where given to, I can literally feel what’s going on inside their field. I can feel their blockages and know their karma like reading a book; I can see entities and implants. The field is awash with this density – people’s fields are. And I can see that if I couldn’t switch this gift off, then I could potentially take the world upon my shoulders, have it tidal wave through my emotions.

You have to be able to always find your vibe, no matter what it going on.

The point is, I actually don’t have to switch these feelings off – that just happens. It’s like my consciousness hones in on what it’s supposed to, works with it, but then literally drops it like the proverbial hot coals. Once more, I find myself resting in the purity of my own vibration. So maybe there’s a clue here for an empath? If I could share how this works for me, then maybe it could help the catalysts divine complement – the empath?

Feeling Into Blockages

Let’s look at the beneficial nature of being an empath, or having empathic qualities, for a moment. Because to truly unleash beingness and shed distortion, is to express the truth in the distortion — you’re activating the distortion because the soul is trying to break through an area of limitation.

In having empathic tendencies as a spiritual catalyst, means that you can feel into and harmonise with the feelings of another – especially their density. In the Facilitator Work we do at Openhand, I get the group to practice expanding their field out to embrace their partner within, then to explore exactly what they’re feeling.

Then, as the catalyst, you bring attention – energy – to the places you feel are blocked. You literally direct your focus to these places. And it helps also to direct the partner to those feelings. You can use intuitive questioning to explore why the blockage is there… “tell me what the word ‘worthlessness’ means to you?” for example. In this alchemical cauldron, merely the use of such a word, delivered intuitively, can be enough to spike an outburst, an unwinding, a release.

It’s like you’re reaching inside your partner, harmonising with them, then resonating a frequency of realignment. The blockage unwinds and falls away, that blocked aspect of soul is reminded of itself; the soul then integrates; miraculous alchemical healing and transformation takes place.

None of this could have been possible without the empathic qualities. Paradoxically, a really good catalyst, also has really good empathic qualities.

The Canary in the Coalmine

But empaths have something much deeper than what a catalyst can truly express. They can take on all the nuances of another’s energy, which could even be the planetary system such as Gaia for example. Such a gift has the capacity to manifest the unseen – that which is repressed and hidden from clear sight. By revealing the density in this way, means that people – such as catalysts – can begin to work with it.

I’ve sat in many spiritual groups where somebody is sitting peacefully and in harmony, feeling very evolved, and yet the empath next to them is in emotional agony, expressing that which the other isn’t yet willing or able to express.

That’s why I often consider the empath like the proverbial canary in the coalmine. That’s what makes their gift so valuable to the world and the evolving group. That’s why we should cherish these people and their gifts and not see them as some kind of affliction.

Yet before they’re developed, they can indeed manifest as the most terrible affliction — fear of the world, reclusiveness, hyper sensitivity, listlessness and directionlessness, lack of motivation, stress and anxiety.

So how to deal with these challenges?

I’d say the key lies in the reflection the catalyst can offer.

Dealing With the Challenges of Being an Empath (or Highly Sensitive) - fb

The Vital Importance of Setting Effective Boundaries

A catalyst inherently sets boundaries effortlessly. For me, it just happens. You could sit me in the middle of an emotional hurricane, and I will still find my own vibration. So here’s the first key – knowing your own vibration.

You have to keep exploring your own vibration as much as possible and in your own space as much as possible – especially if you’re in partnership – especially if you’re in partnership with a catalyst (which by the Law of Attraction can tend to happen – opposites attract!).

So this will involve developing your own rituals and practices: your own spiritual practice like meditation, yoga or tai chi for example; what you eat, when you eat, what NOT to eat – you can easily override these boundaries with a partner when they’re less effected by the ‘microclimate’.

Sensitivity is the key here. An empath is highly sensitive, and in order to centre in your vibration, you have to focus on the things that truly serve you and those that don’t. Just because your loving partner ‘gets off on something’, and just because you feel a yearning to compromise behaviour, doesn’t mean you should compromise your soul!

You see that’s one of the other big hurdles for an empath to overcome — they have a highly active ray 4 — the diplomat aspect of the soul. They want to harmomise. But often overstretch the boundary so they dissolve into the other person’s/people’s vibration. And here’s where the tragedy so easily begins.

You’ve got to embrace the sense of focus of the catalyst. Not close down on the world no. But just be really clear about your boundaries.

When you know your boundaries, then you can start to have a positive effect on the world through the field. Less and less, you stop being washed around by all the flotsam and jetsam. You become increasingly centred.

Then when an inflow of negative energy begins to invade you, you can work with it. How?

Assert Yourself: Breathe In, Impart Your Energy, Breathe Out

The best way I have witnessed, is to breathe it in and relax, hold the breath, radiate it with light, then breathe it back out again, in the direction from whence it came.

You’re accepting the energy, feeling into it, but being really clear it’s not you. Then having a positive impact on it, by bringing your soul vibe to it, before breathing that back out again.

You’re not rejecting your gift in this way. But neither are you getting lost in the external vibration. You’re having a positive influence on it by asserting yourself. And in asserting yourself – your highest vibration of truth, love and light – then you’re breathing that back out into the world and having a positive impact on it.

There will be places where this incoming energy gets stuck first though – it happens where there’s (understandably, subtle judgment of the energy). Maybe slightly veiling your incredible discernment of the energy, is subtle judgment of the impact it has on you? This is where there might be some reaction to the world by an unrealised aspect of your soul. This is what you’ll first have to work with, by softening into the contractions you feel – the reactions. But softening into them doesn’t mean accepting them as you. It means surrendering to the truth of them, but then working to release them – by bringing light into them in the way I’ve described.

So feel your contractions, soften into them, unwind them, become as One in them, and then allow your higher self to infuse them with your own higher vibe. Then release them back out into the world from whence they came.

You might also have to raise the warrior in this experience, especially if the energy is particularly dense and clingy. I know this part is not always easy for a sensitive empath, but you have to be clear about your own vibe, the importance that you stand assertively in your own truth.

Keep Developing The Gift

I welcome the involvement of empaths in the Openhand healing work. It’s an amazing gift you have. We’ve been blessed thus far that so many of you have found your way to our shores. Long may it continue.

Remember to look at the reflection your divine counterpart – the spiritual catalyst – might be able to offer. The universe put us together for a reason!

Hopefully, this approach might help ease and integrate the wonderous gift that you empaths embody. I feel for you. My heart goes out to you. I encourage you to master your gift for the good of all people in these challenging times. You are truly special.


(on behalf of Openhand)

Previous articles by Open:

About the author:

OpenOpenhand is a unique approach to spiritual evolution: integrating enlightened wisdom of spiritual masters through the ages, it is a way of tapping into the Benevolent Guiding Consciousness of the Universe and aligning with it in your life. It helps you unveil your True Self, remove karmic blockages and unfold your Divine Destiny. It leads to authentic, resilient and truly successful living.

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  • Matthew Eric Gordon

    This was really, really helpful. Thank you, sincerely. Keep going x

  • gertrude van voorden

    I read decades ago that putting up boundaries blocks incoming cosmic energy. And why this advise. As an extreme empath i want to be a better empath, more effective. And yes at times it goes haywire, overwhelms, but then there are also the times when the effect of taking over, feeling someone elses emotions is lifesaving or protects innocent children. On a worldscale, as with the escalating conflict regarding Syria, and syrian refugees, it becomes harder to determine the feelings taken on and the flow of things, let alone the effect one has or might have. There is this one thing i recently discovered however that is puzzling me. Being with a person on psychiatric medication for bipolar disorder. It is clear she suppresses all her emotions and i took them on and home and fell into deep suicidal depression. Possibly she is like an emotional vampire seeking out individuals where she can dump these emotions she does not want to feel or process. Not meant in a negative way for she is kind and most likely this is sheer powerlessness stemming from deep prenatal trauma. I discovered during the next visit i could refuse to take on her emotions. For me there must be choice. Having dumped negative energy into one’s field feeling very different from willingly taking emotions on to transform them. My only question is What is the role of psychiatric medication in this exchange with this specific woman. and if any then what effect does it have on the collective that so many people, including children are on those drugs, those drugs ending in toilets and thus again in our drinkingwater as they cannot be filtered out by current technology. As this woman has no intention to process anything, there is no positive use in me taking on her emotions and transforming some, too much for her, for her. Again no boundaries, searching for a different option.

    • Karmaswatching

      With all due respect, as a Highly Sensitive Empath for over a half a
      Century I am dismayed at how easily people fit themselves into these
      ‘labels’ which were non-existent when I was growing up as a child 50 +
      years ago. You would not be considered by me as an Empath of any sort.
      We can not “CHOOSE” whose emotions we take on. We take on EVERYTHING
      even if it is to our detriment. The very fact that you stated you have
      the ability to “choose” tells me you are not a true Empath. That is not
      being mean to you, but that is me being truthful and honest as I’m sick
      and tired of truly being one and having others whom have no idea what it
      is truly like mis-lead and/or lie about us (intentionally or not). A
      true EMPATH has NO choice in what they feel. If they do they are NOT a
      true EMPATH!!! My guess is that the woman you are describing IS a true
      Empath and is overwhelmed with all the feelings and sensations that she
      CANNOT shut out! The fact that you can inherently means you are not one
      of us in the truest sense of the word. Sure, maybe you can feel some of
      the time. I would love to have that option. But I don’t!! I FEEL all of
      the TIME!!! Even for people whom I know are bad. EVEN for people whom I
      don’t LIKE and have hurt me and caused me great harm. So tell me why
      does my heart hurt for these Evil People when tragedy befalls them.
      Shouldn’t I be rejoicing? So unless there are different levels of
      Empaths, which I don’t choose to believe, you are or you aren’t. You
      feel no matter what and you can’t control it. Do you think I enjoyed
      over a half a century of others feelings and hurts? I had no control
      over them. I still don’t and never will unless I anesthesize myself like
      your woman friend does. For my beliefs I’m finally going to speak out
      and speak my truth. Nobody in their right mind would want to be an
      Empath and it is certainly not a choice or something you can control or
      choose which to have BOUNDARIES. Being an Empath and a Highly Sensitive
      one I would not wish it on anybody. That is why I take such offense at
      your post as you make it seem we have a choice and that we can set
      Boundaries. Anyone who says so is misguided or a liar purposely sent to
      mis-lead and/or belittle the true Empath experience. I don’t need
      anybody’s confirmation on what I wrote because a true Empath will
      already agree with me, but won’t say it. Those who argue it, in my mind,
      beliefs and experience, are not true Empaths and are going to do so
      anyway thereby proving it.

      • orioles833

        Could not have said it any better. We can’t just turn this off. We can choose how to react to it, but it’s always there.

        • arielmonserrat

          Exactly, we have choices about how we react to it; we don’t have to be at the mercy of other’s emotions, we CAN learn to take care of ourselves.

      • arielmonserrat

        Empaths who have mastered their empathy CAN choose what they allow themselves to feel. I’m in my 60s and have spent a lifetime learning how to work with the highly sensitive part of myself. Developing and keeping boundaries has been an important part of that work. Empaths who feel they have no choice over their feelings have probably not learned fully yet how to work with this part of themselves.

        • Karmaswatching

          Beg to differ. Your experience is yours. I do choose how to react. I do have boundaries, but I still take on those emotions. I would not be a true empath if I did not. That is my belief. It is nothing I like especially when it is negative. Many people choose not to honor others boundaries. I can choose how to react but that doesn’t mean I won’t take on the emotions. I know that there are those out there who know EXACTLY what I am talking about. True Empaths, I BELIEVE, have no choice even when we effect boundaries. Yes, we can choose how to react but we do not have a choice in how we feel. That is what by its very nature defines us as Empaths. It is not something we can turn on or off so we will just have to agree to disagree.

  • Caro

    Woow !! Thank you ? you’ve explained that marvelousely ! I’ ve just learned a helpfull lesson reading this and will work on it 🙂

  • Hydriem Da Patient

    This is a good analysis. Good.

  • Teye Mate-kole

    thank you so much!i used to struggle as a kid trying to understand this ability i have .u have shed a lot of light.

  • wisdom of the knowing

    Yes, thank you.
    BPD is not a disorder as such. It is the result of the abuse of the emotions/feelings by others who project their beliefs onto the sensitive soul.
    BPD is the result of psychic abuse.
    the ones who are abusing often are doing the best they can with the distorted ideas and feeling that they have with in them selves.

    It might be seen that most “mental illness” is actually created by those around the individual, they are trying to control and in this huge conflict can develop.
    It starts in child hood it appears when the energy of shame and anger can be ingrained into the neural pathways of the developing brain while the higher self is displaced by this insane desire to control.

    It might be said that “mental illness” is in the mind of the beholder and projected from this level upon the little child. Other people can make the child crazy methinks.
    think on this blessings

  • Maya

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Sherri Egeness

    After 51 years I just found out what I am, an Empath. I was 7 when I realized I was ‘different’. What is most difficult for me is the ‘knowing’ and how I’m ‘told’ things. I welcome the knowing but sometimes I’m given answers, information, at the worst times. Like driving, or at work. Not understanding what I am destroyed my marriage of 10 years. I told him from the start, I give back what I receive, which after time became nasty passive aggressive actions, being ignored, made to think and feel I was not important. I found out he is a narcissist. While learning what that was, is how I learned what I am. I wish I would have learned this 40 years ago, my life would have been so different.

  • Yogesh Khurana

    Hi I am an empath disturbed due to my own god gifted thing. Whatever you wrote is good to read but hard to implement. Can you help specifically for me regarding my problem?
    Thank you