The last few years of my life have been eye-opening spiritually, for me. I am coming to an understanding as to why I have felt so deeply about so many things in my life and how I have to honor those emotions and allow them to exist harmoniously within me. At the same time, I acknowledge how society views me as a man, and as a black man; the two are similar and very different. A feeling man is no less of a man. With the inherent physical strength of a man, an empath also vibrates with his emotions at their purest and highest form.
In my adult relationships with women, I have been told to “Man up! You’re too sensitive! Stop being a Pussy!” (Yes, that was said to me.) I have spent some time with a woman who is seeking her own spirituality and most recently while in her company, I realized that I am an Empath. I now have clarity in a way I never have before in that I feel, I feel deeply and there is nothing wrong with that. The feeling is transmitted when I come into contact with people when people are very close to me. All of the senses are heightened the happiness and the sadness. Hence, being an Empath.
When you first hear the word “Empath” some people think spooky mystical individual lurking behind a cauldron with a long nose and a crystal ball anxious to tell the future. No, that ain’t necessarily so. I like this definition of an Empath: a person who absorbs other people’s emotions and experiences these emotions as if they were their own. Empathic people are highly sensitive to the emotional climates around them and often take on the psychological baggage of other people.
Judith Orloff, M.D. is the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People(link is external), In her Psychology Today blog, Emotional Freedom, she posted an excerpt of her book: “The trademark of an empath is feeling and absorbing other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities. These people filter the world through their intuition and have a difficult time intellectualizing their feelings”. She lists the traits as follows:
1. Empaths are highly sensitive.
2. Empaths absorb other people’s emotions.
3. Many empaths are introverted.
4. Empaths are highly intuitive.
5. Empaths need alone time.
6. Empaths can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships.
7. Empaths are targets for energy vampires.
8. Empaths become replenished in nature.
9. Empaths have highly tuned senses.
10. Empaths have huge hearts but sometimes give too much.
Given what many men face today—loss of income, loss of self, loss of love and family because of the loss of income, self-doubt, confusion—if you add being empathic to that equation without understanding the full scope of what it is you are living through, you can start to hear the wrong voices in your head speak too loudly. You need to trust yourself, embrace yourself and understand why you feel so deeply in a world that makes you feel “less than” because you do.
I spent a significant amount of time in a relationship with a narcissistic woman who was a sociopath (even being able to say this now honestly, is freeing). When an empath and a narcissist enter into a relationship, a magnetic, dysfunctional and destructive vortex is created because the empath gives to the point where there is nothing left of them emotionally. Not to be dramatic, but to tell my truth an empath can die (literally) in a relationship like that by developing very destructive behaviors. If the empath can remove themselves from the relationship, they awaken…while the narcissist remains the same. In my case, the narcissist had nothing left to destroy when I left, so it destroyed itself. She died. I lived because I was presented with an angel on earth whose purpose was to help me love myself.
Empaths need to guard their hearts, and their spirits like Fort Knox guards the gold reserves. They know if someone is in pain, they know if someone feels a sense of loss, they know when someone has lost hope. If the empath is in love and they sense a “crack” in that safe place…they know when someone they love has closed their heart to them because they feel it to the depth of their soul. They feel it to their inner eternity and usually, cannot express the turmoil that is ripping through them like glass shards moving through a person’s veins.
The writer Victoria Erickson said it far better than I ever could “When you’re deeply sensitive, love is ecstasy. Music is godlike. Heartache is a wide, somatic wound. Natural beauty is jewel-drenched, wild bliss. Tension and conflict are muscle tightening and toxic, straight down to the cells.” Thats me in a nutshell. I own that one completely and without apologies.
Today, the world is in extreme pain. Species of animals and the earth itself is in danger of extinction because of our addictions to technology, plastic and profits; People are at war and terrorizing each other in the name of religion and territory; The bodies of innocent children washed ashore or shot in urban communities is a numbing daily occurrence; racists are pretending to be nationalists; and women are demeaned and demoralized daily by men in power.
I am now on the crux of the most peaceful mental state that I have ever achieved in my life (and I desire more). I step away from the noise around me and empty my mind through meditation; I listen to healing, soothing music that cleanses the space I am inhabiting; I am slowly breaking my addiction to news and try to ensure that I transmit only positive, uplifting news; I don’t accept any drama; I eat less, I eat better; I am trying to give up sugar; I am getting more exercise; I stay far away from narcissists; I wear mala beads that remind me of my obligation to myself and how my presence should be used to uplift those who come into contact with me and not tear down anyone; I pause and think about what I say to everyone: I raise my personal vibration by reading, writing and by responding to everything with love. And when I can’t respond in love, I stay silent and pray. I am a work in progress, a work that seeks to get better every day.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I am no longer insulted when I am called sensitive. Feeling things deeply is my super power; I am an empathic badass. Stand back while I fly away…watch the cape. (Italicized quote snatched from Pinterest, previously snatched from http://sweatpantsandcoffee.com/ and further embellished by me.)
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