Friday, January 29, 2010

Envy: Through The Eyes Of An Empath (Quiz)

Envy, jealousy, resentment. We've all coveted what other people had at one time in our lives or another. We've all competed with someone, in the hopes of coming out above the other person. We've all compared what we had to what other people have, and thought they were the lucky ones by comparison. I don't think that there is one person out there that can say otherwise, despite admissions to the contrary. It's almost as if its human nature to compare ourselves to others and covet what we do not have ~ to always want something just out of reach that seems bigger and better than what we possess.

So lets look at some definitions and traits, and then look at one such person, whose own insecurities and fears brought them to covet what others had and compare themselves, almost constantly to others, as well. But please understand that this is a fictional person and scenario, and in no way reflects on any one person personally.


Definitions

1. Envy (also called invidiousness) may be defined as an emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."

Envy can also derive from a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been he or she who had the desired object.


2. Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, such as a relationship, friendship, or love. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust.

3.
Insecurity is a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving oneself to be unloved, inadequate or worthless (whether in a rational or an irrational manner).

A person who is insecure lacks confidence in their own value and capability, lacks trust in themselves or others, or has fears that a present positive state is temporary and will let them down and cause them loss or distress by "going wrong" in the future.


4.
Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.

Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent-incompetent") and emotions (for example, triumph-despair, pride-shame). Behavior may reflect self-esteem (for example, assertiveness-shyness, confidence-caution).


Characteristics Of Envy

1. Malice:
Feelings of envy can often evoke malicious behaviors toward others, be it through rumor and gossip or physical harm. The point is that the envious person is attempting to bring the person being envied down to their own level of misery in order to make themselves feel better. It is a compensatory behavior brought on by insecurity.

2. Jealousy:
Feelings of jealousy tend to occur between peers who stand at about the same level. And it can be emboldened, when one of those peers is seen to be getting ahead of the other person, particularly if the person experiencing jealousy is already insecure and has a competitive nature.

3. Dejection:
Feelings of envy can often bring on feelings of self pity, depression, and dejection for a two fold reason. The first is because of someone else's perceived good fortune. The second is because of the envious person's own assumed lack of good fortune by comparison, even if they lead a relatively good life.

4. Emulation:
Often times those who experience envy will attempt to emulate, or mimic, those who they are envious of. This can be as simple as a style of dress to something more complex like behavior patterns. This can become unhealthy because the person who is envious can potentially lose themselves as unique individuals in the pursuit of emulating another.

5. Hypocrisy:
Often those who experience envy will say one thing to a person's face and then turn around and say another thing behind that person's back. Often this is an attempt to disparage the person being envied through rumor, innuendo, and subtle insult.

6. Lovelessness:
Often envy begins in wishing to better oneself, but as it blossoms within a person it can turn into self loathing and self contempt. And when we hate ourselves in such a way, we are unable to love others appropriately, if at all.

7. Cynicism:
Envy breeds bitterness and resentment, which in turn can become cynicism toward the world around them, the people within it, and the life in general. Apathy has a tendency to set in, because of insecurity and envy.

8. Lose Of Control:
Often one who is excessively envious of others can be left feeling as though they have lost control of their own lives. In focusing on others achievements, which they can not control, and comparing themselves and their own accomplishments to it, joy, love, and happiness tend to dissipate, fading into resentment, bitterness, and anger.

9. Anger/Resentment:
Anger and Resentment, as we've noted in other parts of this list, are often byproducts of envy. When one person seems to easily achieve something, while others must work hard for it and still do not stand as equals, both resentment and anger can occur.

A Case Study


Now that we've seen some definitions and signs of envy and jealously, lets bring it to life with a case study, shall we? Try to spot some of the signs listed above within this story. And, if you are not to uncomfortable doing it, try to liken it to experiences you've had in the past. Because, despite how we might deny it, we've all had one or two moments like this person (despite the particular experience, gender and other differentiating factors).


A Case Study In Envy

A young girl, at the age of 5, is told by her mother constantly, "Why can't you be more like your sister, who is sweet and makes good grades? Why do you have to be such a bad child all the time?" These constant reminders assail her consciousness, reverberating through her mind as she grows up, causing her to be insecure and doubt her own abilities.


In high school, she makes moderately good grades and even makes honor roll. But she does not make straight A's as her 'best' friend does. And she does not get a much coveted award for those efforts. And even though she is friends with this person, she can not be happy for her. Silently she seethes with jealousy. And secretly thinks she is going to have to work doublely hard to beat her next time around.


Prom comes around and the electing of a Prom Queen, and though she is beautiful and popular in her own right, she loses to another girl. Instead, she becomes part of the royal court, which is made up of he runner-ups. Outwardly she stands proudly in her beautiful gown, with her date, smiling and happy for the other girl. While inwardly she seethes with jealously at having lost to such a 'bimbo', 'slut', or 'back-stabbing idiot'.


She is dating one of the more popular guys in school who comes from a modest background and is an all around good guy who is good looking, but not gorgeous. And she believes she really cares for him. And another of her friends is dating a football player who is handsome, popular, makes excellent grades and even comes from a wealthy family. They seem blissfully happy together.


As she focuses on her friend's lovey dovey relationship, and how happy they seem together, she begins to focus on the negative things in her own relationship ~ the things she perceives are missing from it. She begins to notice all the little things that annoy her about her boyfriend, which seemed inconsequential before. And then her eyes begin to wander to other potentially better matches for her to date. So she starts getting more and more frustrated in her own relationship, and they begin to fight more and more, until they end up breaking up. Free at last, she begins to flirt with other men, who are deemed better choices, almost immediately.


As she gets older, these small issues become a pattern in her life. She begins to talk about the people who she calls 'friend' behind their back. She jumps from relationship to relationship. And internally, she feels insecure because everyone seems to have more than her, is better at things than her, has achieved more than her, and so on. Insecurity turns to jealousy and envy, which in turn becomes resentment and hypocrisy which are enacted through her behavior and sly attitudes toward those around her.


She gets a job she loves, after she graduates from college. And she believes she is happy. She makes friends in her workplace and grows particularly close to a female coworker who holds the same position as her. When this friend is eventually promoted to a higher position, the woman's insecurities begin to rise up again, as she wonders why her 'friend' was chosen and not her. So, she begins to talk about her friend behind her back, disparaging the other woman's ability to lead and even insinuating she might have had an untoward relationship in order to get ahead of everyone else.


The woman's friend eventually is forced to leave her position in shame, because the rumors reach the higher up people in charge. But even when the position becomes open again, this woman is still overlooked. And she becomes bitter and resentful toward those in charge. She is angry.


This anger and resentment carry over into her outside relationships. She has relationship after relationship and it never lasts for more than 6 months. And friends seem to stop calling after a while and avoid her. And yet, she still can not understand why all of these people seem to be pushing away from her. And again, it makes her angry, bitter, and resentful which in turn fuels her insecurities.

The Analysis

Did you spot the envy, resentment, bitterness, anger, confusion, self loathing, self doubt, and insecurity? Could you relate and did you find it reminded you of experiences you had in the past? Whether you recognized them in yourself or not, all of those things were present within the case study. So, lets break it down a bit to make it a little more obvious.

This woman, since early on, was conditioned to compare herself to others. And because one of her primary care givers (her mother), thus her primary role models, always found her lacking by comparing her to her sister, she eventually began to do this in herself, as well, as she emulated her mother's behaviors.

She found that everyone in her life, from those in her youth to those in her adult life, were always doing better than her in some way, despite what she had achieved on her own. And by comparing herself to others, of whom she saw as doing better than her, she began to devalue herself.

This self doubt based on comparison brought on anger, bitterness, malicious behaviors toward others, and emboldened her own innate insecurities. So it became a continuous cycle self loathing, which was acted out through her attitudes and behaviors toward others, in order to make her feel more secure in her own skin. This is done with the idea that if other people are suffering as she does, then she is equal to them.

This, in the long run, leaves her life full of broken relationships, both romantic and friend wise and devoid of anyone to support her. It also leaves her feeling dejected, depressed and alone, with a life devoid of joy and happiness.

Envy & The Empath

An Empath is an individual with the ability to sense & feel the emotions and energies of people, animals or objects at a distance. Another way to think of it is that an Empath has the ability to be highly in tune with other people's emotions and emotional states.

But this does not necessarily mean that an Empath will automatically show empathy toward others, particularly if they are bogged down with their own insecurities, self doubt and/or low self esteem. Because above being an Empath, who is highly sensitive to others, they are also human beings who are prone to the same emotions and predilections as other people. Being an Empath, in other words, does not necessarily mean that it will allow you to rise above such things as envy and jealousy.

So, despite this not being directly connected with being an Empath, it is important to recognize the this is an emotion, like all of the others, in which we are all prone to experience at some time in our lives. As well, it is important to recognize the characteristics of this emotion within others and within ourselves, so that it can be dealt with appropriately.

Healing Envy & Jealousy

There are a number of steps one can take in order to help overcome and heal the feelings one has of envy and jealously. Here are but a few of them.
1. The first step to healing envy is becoming aware that you possess those feelings and acknowledging them, even if it causes you discomfort to do so.

2.
Build your envy understanding, by learning more about yourself. Try taking a Jealousy Quiz.

3. Get in touch with what you are feeling. Stop what you are doing when those jealous feelings come up and just sit and allow them to surface without judging them. Whether there is any truth to what you are feeling or not, allow your feelings to be there. If you sit long enough with jealousy, you'll probably find that underneath is anger and/or fear. When you can address either anger or fear in your life, you will be on your way to healing. (Taken from Here)

4.
Have the courage to address what's happening in your life. If there is truth to what you fear is happening, then formulate a plan to hit the problem with honesty. Quit guessing and have the courage to find out. If there isn't any truth to your fears, then bring yourself into the present moment each time those fears come up. Remind yourself that you are only making up untrue stories. If the actions that you fear are actually happening, then you may need to decide if want to continue in this situation if your partner refuses to change his/her behavior. If you know that you are making up stories that are untrue about what you are feeling, then you can decide to change what you believe. (Taken From
Here)
There are many more ways to help heal the feelings of envy and jealousy. But the most important ones are acknowledgment, understanding of why you feel that way, and the addressing of those issues. So think about it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Magic vs Prayer

When it comes to prayer and magic, there are many similarities, and many differences. I could talk all day about the history of magic and religion, and how the two have influenced eachother, how they have fought battles, and how they have changed the world around us.
But, I am not interested in that for right now. For right now, I am interested in the foundations of both. The actual actions one does.

Let's start with prayer.

When one prays, they offer their requests to a higher being, whether it is a god, multiple gods, or even the universe itself. The main point of the movie The Secret is prayer. Offering your requests to the universe, under the principle of "like attracts like". With prayer, it is like asking a parent to do something for you. Like, if a child asks his/her parent to go out and buy them a certain toy. The child has no direct influence over what the parent does in performing this action, and the parent may even bring back a toy which was not what the child wanted, or, the parent may not even bring a toy back at all.

Magic, on the other hand, is like grabbing the car keys and buying the toy yourself. With magic, you take the force of creation and use it yourself. With every action you create and destroy, and manipulate the potential of the universe to fit your desires, whatever they may be. You send your energy and will out to the universe and shape it to your specifications.

This raises and interesting view. It appears to reflect human development and maturity. Think about it. In the beginning, all children depend entirely upon their parents. Anything they need, they must ask for it. As the child grows, they take more control over their life, manifesting things in their life as they see fit. They are given an allowance, to spend as they so choose. Eventually, they are set free into the world, manifesting every aspect of their lives.

But the key here, is to remember that it doesn't really matter. Not at all. It makes no difference whether you ask a higher force than yourself to create a world you see, or whether you take that power into your own hands and shape the world as you see fit. The key here, is that in both situations, you are still taking that force into your own hands. You are still seeing something in the world that is worthy of being changed, and so you see fit to change it. Whoever actually does the changing is irrelevant.

In both cases, you live in a changing world. A world that shifts and flows; constantly in motion. Things and people enter and exit your world. Forces change and shape it. However, the key here, is that all change is directed by you. You live in your world, and you create it at the same time. And whenever we see fit to change something, we choose to act, and therefore change our world. Whether you're practicing magic to make someone fall in love, bring you money, or wisdom, or get revenge on another, or whether you pray for enlightenment, money, salvation, or the health of someone in a disaster, you never practice magic or pray without something in your mind that you wish to change.

But, if we are given the power through prayer and magic to change our lives, this also means we are ultimately responsible for everything that occurs in our lives. Does this mean that we are ultimately responsible for all the bad things that we cannot control? What about the car that ran over your dog, or the man who broke in and stole your prized necklace? To this, I ask two questions,

1) What is control? How much control do you have over your life? How much control do you want?

and

2) Does it really matter?

If we have infinite control over every aspect of our lives, then that means some part of use chooses to let bad things happen. Why? Why would anybody want to choose to be victimized, abused, hurt, or even killed?

And some might say, "Everything has a purpose, everything happens for a reason." Is this true? Does it really matter? If nothing happens for any reason at all, then ultimately, everything must also have a purpose.

This is because no matter what happens in our lives, we learn. Every single second of our lives is a moment to be learned from. Because every event that takes place in life can be learned from, that means it also has a purpose: to teach.

This must be, then, why we allow negative and horrible things to take place in life. Because those moments have something to teach. Some part of us knows that there is something to be learned from those moments.

We look for the reasons behind all the negative and suffering in life, but we never think to look for the reasons behind happiness and pleasure. I have never heard the question,
"Why is there so much happiness in the world?"

This is quite simple. If darkness is a teacher, then so too must happiness be a teacher.

Every moment has a purpose.

Every life has a purpose.

Every world has a purpose.

To teach.

And sometimes, that lesson can be as simple as,

You are the creator of your world, and at the same time, the product of your creative force.

You are the artist, and the painting.

You are the musician, and the song.

The creator, and the created.

Codependency & The Empath (Quizzes)

Perhaps when you think of Empaths, who by their very nature are people who share other people's emotions and emotional states as though they were their own, and codependency, you don't see an obvious connection. Or perhaps you do. So, in this discussion we are going to take a look at Empaths and Codependency.

First, we are going to look at the different types of Codependents, some of the symptoms of codependency, and some important key terms which will be used in this discussion. Then we will delve further into this topic.

The Lists
Three Types Of Codependents
1. Caretakers
--relate to others primarily through roles that put them in a position of the giver, helper, supporter, nurturer, etc. “Everyone’s needs are more important than my own.”
2. Romance~relationship addiction
--must be in a “relationship” and be “special” to someone in order to be OK with oneself; may use caretaking and sexuality to gain approval/acceptance; goes from relationship to relationship.
“You’re no one unless someone loves you.”
3. Messiah complex
--savior of the family, church, world; over-responsible, doesn’t ask for help, tries to make self indispensable.
“If I don’t do it. it won’t get done.”

Symptoms Of Codependency
1. External-referenced on other person or people.
2. Tries to control behavior of others through approval-seeking and people-pleasing behavior.
3. Experiences intimacy by discounting own feelings, and empathizing with feelings of others.
4. Loss of healthy boundaries, generally resulting from doing things for others that violate one’s values, and from accepting unacceptable behavior from others.
5. Frozen feelings, numbness with regard to one’s own feelings. Depression may also result from repressed anger.
6. Low self-esteem. Self is valued according to others’ opinions. Uses martyr, victim, and messiah role to bolster self-esteem.
7. Generalized anxiety, related to lack of control of one’s life.
8. Mental preoccupation. Racing thoughts. Inability to enjoy mental silence and serenity.
9. Lack of assertiveness.: inability to ask directly for one’s true needs. Inability to confront unhealthy behavior in others.
10. Narcissism. In the absence of healthy, legitimate boundaries, others are seen as for or against self.
The Definitions

Codependency or Codependence : a pattern of detrimental behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship, most commonly a relationship with an alcohol or drug abuser. In general, the codependent is understood to be a person who perpetuates the addiction or pathological condition of someone close to them in a way that hampers recovery. This can be done through direct control over the dependent, by making excuses for their dysfunctional behavior, or by blunting negative consequences. These actions are described as enabling.

Codependency: is a condition that results in a dysfunctional relationship between the codependent and other people. A codependent is addicted to helping someone. They need to be needed. This addiction is sometimes so strong, the codependent will cause the other person to continue to be needy. This behavior is called enabling. The enabler will purposefully overlook someone abusing a child, will call in sick for someone suffering from addiction, will put roadblocks to prevent their child from becoming independent, or even keep a sick family member from getting the treatment that would make them well.

Caretaker: 1. Someone who takes care of a place or thing; someone looking after somewhere, or with responsibility for keeping a place in good repair. 2. Someone who takes care of a person; a parent, carer or other guardian.

Love Addiction is defined when love addicts go through life with desperate hopes and constant fears. Fearing rejection, pain, unfamiliar experiences, and having little faith in their ability or right to inspire love, they wait and wish for love, perhaps their least familiar real experience.

Messiah: One who is anticipated as, regarded as, or professes to be a savior or liberator.

Messiah Complex: A state of mind in which the individual believes he/she is, or is destined to become, a savior.

Self Esteem: It refers to an individual's sense of his or her value or worth, or the extent to which a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself.

Codependent Types

1. The Caretaker
This type of person tends to sacrifice their own personal wants and needs in order to take care of the wants and needs of other people, even when they are capable of doing it themselves. And this is often done out of fear, rather than love and compassion. They are giving with an agenda by taking responsibility for another person's actions.

The reason this is done out of fear, instead of love, is because there is an ulterior motive in the offering of support. The Caretaker needs the validation of their worth that comes with the thanks and praise for all they do, in order to sustain their fragile ego. And because of this need, a Caretaker will sometimes take on more responsibility than they can handle or take responsiblity for someone who is completely capable of standing on their own, thus enabling negative and/or bad behaviors.

And because their worth is derived from the praise and adulation of others, beneath this mask is a person with low self esteem who is driven to such lengths in order to find value in themselves in an unhealthy and codependent way.

2. The Love Addict
This type of person needs to be loved in order to feel they have any value and/or worth. At the same time, they also tend to hold the beliefs that they are incapable of inspiring real love in others and are truly not worthy of such ardent emotions directed at them.

Because of this, one who is a Love Addict will go from relationship to relationship, with unrealistic expectations and come away disappointed. Or, they will find themselves in relationships that are unhealthy and/or abusive in some way.

Abusive relationships will often reinforce a Love Addicts beliefs that they are worthless and not worthy of love. And this can make them cling to their partner, as though they were their savior for having loved them at all, even in an abusive way.

For Information On Love Addiction & Codependency go here: Love & Codependency: Through The Eyes Of An Empath

3. The Messiah

This type of person attempts to make themselves indispensable to others, even to their own detriment. They are even willing to go so far as to martyr themselves for others. This type of person sees problems with everyone and believes he/she is the only person who can help them and/or heal them. But again, like the other two above, The Messiah, is extremely reliant on other people's praise and adulation for their validation, worth, and value.

Sometimes this can be very mild, where in the person becomes a people pleaser or a makeshift counselor for those around them. Other times, it can be more severe, particularly when it is coupled with any kind of religious zealotry.

When the latter occurs, the would be Messiah, believes he/she is not only the only one who can help/heal others, but that they have a divine right to do so. So it becomes a purpose and a mission for them, to shape the world in the way they believe it should be. Examples of these extreme cases can be found in many cult leaders: David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, Jim Jones of People's Temple and Jonestown, and Marshall Applewhite of Heaven's Gate.

Self Esteem & Codependence

Codependence is often based on low self esteem and low self worth. It tends to be the underlying cause which drives people to these types of behaviors. So even while someone who is codependent appears strong on the surface, as a Caretaker or a Messiah, the driving need for validation hides just beneath the surface. These masks and behaviors are an act of compensation for what is missing within the person.

Let's look at some symptoms of low self esteem. And I will offer you two quizzes to help you figure out if you might suffer from low self esteem and/or codependence.
Characteristics of Genuinely Low Self Esteem

1. Social withdrawal
2. Anxiety and emotional turmoil
3. Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
4. Less social conformity
5. Eating disorders
6. Inability to accept compliments
7. An Inability to see yourself 'squarely' - to be fair to yourself
8. Accentuating the negative
9. Exaggerated concern over what they imagine other people think
10. Self neglect
11. Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
12. Worrying whether you have treated others badly
13. Reluctance to take on challenges
14. Reluctance to trust your own opinion
15. Expect little out of life for yourself
Try these Quizzes to help you ascertain where you stand:
Self Esteem Test
The Codependency Self Test

How To Promote And Develop Self Esteem



Codependency & The Empath

Empaths, like everyone else in the world, are prone to these issues. In fact, it could be said that they are more prone to these issues than others due to their generally hypersensitive nature and the weight of emotions they carry around with them all the time. So it is extremely important to understand what codependency is and how it can affect you, your relationships, and your life. So think about it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Personal Journey of an Empath

I spent many hours crying for something that didn't belong to me, feeling guilt for something I didn't do...

As a child I had a wonderful relationship with my parents and grandparents. Nothing particularly tramatic other than the death of an aunt that I loved dearly and often felt her near me even after her death. The one I grew up to look like and to be so much like.

Teen years I spent being curious about magic and often felt there was something that bound me to that curiosity. I had the same boyfriend for a lot of years and always seemed to know what he was thinking and when he was unfaithful...yet nothing ever made me think I was different than anyone else around me. I figured the curiosity was a natural thing for everyone. That boyfriend and I spent 5 years together in my teens until I went away to college. We broke up over his lies and my knowing he was lying...he always seemed eventually to get caught in them with a little tripping up from me!

I met a man at 21 that literally swept me off my feet. First man in my life to not let me always have my way and I was hooked. I loved that he was independent and could function on his own. His only goal in this life was not just to make me happy. Man was that ever a stupid reason to get involved and fall in love. I paid for that when I married the man and soon discovered the abuse that I would suffer at his hands both physical and mental. I knew as I had with the boyfriend the lies he would tell me and I would think and often say to him "do you honestly think I believe this for one minute?" At one point it became more about pleasing him. He had me so sure that I was not worth wasting time on that I even attempted suicide when he left me once. Each time it would be over (I thought) I would let him back in (now I know thats because he would play on my empathy). We spent several years together until I grew a backbone to stand up to him. He nearly choked me to death that day...but I survived and I left.

This again played into the direction I was headed with my life. I had been pretty confident most of my life and now had to try and rebuild that confidence. That day I walked away started me on the journey. I knew there was something different about me I knew things others didn't know...I felt things others didn't feel but how in this world was I going to build a life with this knowledge.

Again I went through another stage of being attracted to the occult. I found myself feeling energies that I couldn't explain the ability to concentrate and make things happen. I tried this many times over the next few months. Each time was successful. I wasn't casting spells or even dabbling in the arts...it was strictly concentration.

I made those things go to the back of my mind when I met my husband. I wanted to do everything right this time. I loved this man beyond words. We were married short of two years when my son was born. The greatest blessing in my life ever for as he grew up I knew he too had the same things I had and I felt that his abilities were a blessings from God. I had never looked at mine in that respect and even after his birth I didn't look at them that way. I walked to a different beat than most around me but he knew...he understood I was or he was just like me. Through years of marriage I could again feel the lies that were not there before. The deceit was overwhelming at times. I found solice in a friendship online. It was nothing more than a friendship for a long time and then as he started to invade my dreams and most of my though I knew there was more to if for me but had no idea he felt the same way.

I felt and still feel that my husband was my soulmate. I believe he was in my life to open me up to seeing and believing in myself again. It took a lot of things to get to that point. He died suddenly in a horrific auto accident but this soulmate had given me what I needed to start again on the path that I had struggled so hard to find. I lost him, we lost our home and had no place to go with no money to get another place to live. We finally managed to find a home before we had to be completely out of our foreclosed home. Losing our home I felt that I had lost all that I had left of the thing that we shared other than our son. But even in losing the only home my son had ever known I found that this too was the best thing that could have happened we were forced to leave where I had spent most of my sons life with his father. We left behind the physical home and carried with us only the wonderful memories that were made not the painful ones in the end.

When I first went to EC I knew there was something going on or I was going insane. I found that community and started to study. I was a person who relished the reponses that I got and loved helping others. Then a few really nasty people felt that I was like a fluffy little bunny and that everything I did was covered with sugar in my responses to those I gave advice I also was very caring and loving. I allowed them to drive me away from that community for three months. During that time I did a lot of soul searching, researching and yes even healing. My time was mostly spent in solitude away from anything that I didn't HAVE to do. One day there was a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel and suddenly I had found my path, my journey had meaning and my life actually had joy, a new meaning to life and a clear vision finally.

I returned to the place that started to reveal my journey to me and this time I wasn't going to be pushed around, if I helped with love and fluff that was who I was. If people had to be hateful and hurtful it was their problem for it was their own anger that made them be that way.

I returned to cliques that thought they had all the answers and created a following of nothing more than sheeple who took everything they said as gospel. Those come and go in this life. The one thing that an empath needs to learn on this journey is that there are so many different ways to follow the path meant for us and it isnt the same for any one of us. Each empath has their own truth and their own path and in order to really grow in the ability and gift it has to be discovered for themselves...not told to them by someone else.

Today I stroll through the pages of EC and here on my own site. I respond to those who just need the encouragement to achieve on their own...not to those who want it done for them. I am here for I know who will work to achieve their own truth. I am but a mere vessel offering up but one opinion.

I have learned on this journey...I have learned that as a christian I live my life to the best of my ability being the best that I can be. To not take those for granted that are around me but to remind them how important they are to me. I have learned to not judge those who are different from me for I am but one individual in this world of many. I prefer to listen and learn than to label and turn. I won't turn away from someone who is different from me for we are all the same under the skin and in our hearts.

This change in me has allowed me to defend who I am yet still appreciate those who can also treat me with respect.

I hope that each of you learn to find your own path, live your journey and learn from each thing you encounter...it is my belief that for every action in a life there is a lesson to be learned.

There is pain and joy in each...the pain and bruises create who we are as does the joy...learn to relish in both for no matter the pain we can almost always be assured that it will diminish given time. I have shared this with you not out of a need for sympathy or even for the empathy but so you know that through all the things one endures there is and always be a light at the end of the tunnel...search for your own light, don't ask someone to point it for you. It is like someone telling you that fire is hot...if you don't or can't feel the heat off it how will you ever learn?

Life is precious with all its joys and sorrows its a wonderful place to be, to live, to love and to share.

Blessings, peace and light on your journey my fellow empaths...

Maddy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Wounded Healer: A Journey Into Empathy

What is the Wounded Healer? What does it have to do with being an Empath? Let's take a closer look at it, shall we?

The Wounded Healer

One website says this about the Wounded Healer Archetype:

The Wounded Healer is initiated into the art of healing through some form of personal hardship--anything from an actual physical injury or illness to the loss of all one's earthly possessions. Regardless of the shape of the wound, the challenge inherent in this initiation process is that one is unable to turn to others for help beyond a certain degree of support. Only the initiate can ultimately heal the wound; if it is an illness or accident, it will frequently be one for which there is no conventional cure. The Wounded Healer archetype emerges in your psyche with the demand that you push yourself to a level of inner effort that becomes more a process of transformation than an attempt to heal an illness. If you have successfully completed the initiation, you inevitably experience an exceptional healing, and a path of service seems to be divinely provided shortly after the initiation is complete.
This brief synopsis of what a Wounded Healer is, only gives a very limited understanding of how one truly becomes a Wounded Healer. It says, through suffering (of different kinds) one first becomes deeply wounded and then over time learns to heal their own wounds, and in part, this is through the act of healing others. So it eventually becomes a path of service, based in the empathy of shared pain and experience. But there is more to it than that.

So let's take this one step further and personalize it, to understand the process by which one becomes the archetype of the Wounded Healer.

1. A young man, from the time he is around the age of 10 to the time he is in his late adolescence, watches helplessly as his ailing mother suffers from a long term illness. As the years pass slowly by, her health degenerates. And he watches as her pain limits her mobility and his own access to her. And then finally, after falling into a coma, she passes away. And he is left to mourn her passing.

This young man, for having suffered right along with his mother, decides to go into the field of medicine and work as a Doctor or a Nurse. His motivation is the hope of helping alleviate other people's suffering, of both the patient and the families involved.

2 A young woman, from the time she is very young, suffers from multiple types of abuse at the hands of an adult. As she grows older, she becomes deeply depressed, even to the point of attempting suicide. Through long term therapy, she is able to come to terms with what has happened to her, but it does not remove the scar on her heart.

So, she begins working with others who have been abused. This takes on the form of a volunteer at a suicide hotline or a woman's shelter. Finding empowerment in helping others who have suffered, much as she has, she decides to make this her life's career. And she works toward such jobs as a Victim's Advocate, a Social Worker, or a Therapist.
Even these examples, though, do not detail the level of suffering one tends to go through on the path of the Wounded Healer. To understand that, one must understand another concept called The Dark Night Of The Soul.

The Dark Night Of The Soul

The Dark Night Of The Soul is considered by some to be an initiation of sorts, where in a person goes through great suffering to attain a higher form of consciousness and awareness. For a Wounded Healer, this often times leads the person into a state of internal healing that reaches out into the world, where they seek to be of service to others.

But calling the Dark Night an initiation, does not speak to the depths of suffering one may encounter upon the journey into it. This is because the heights to which the human spirit may soar are equal to the depths to which it can fall. And often, one may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.

The Dark Night causes the human spirit to falter and doubt everything it has placed its faith in. Walls begin to crumble around the spirit, that once supported them and held them steadfast. Depression can set in, so deep and so painful that it can bring a person to their knees. And through it all, they feel completely and utterly alone, while those that care for them look on helpless to do anything about it, as they fall into a downward spiral of sorrow, anguish, confusion, and doubt.

This is the place where the fragile human ego potentially dies. But it is also a place where in some choose a physical death over a psychic one, because the suffering can be so powerful and so overwhelming. But when one has a psychic death, or a death of the human ego, they have fallen as far as they can go, without actually attaining physical death. And there, in that place, they have learned to surrender.

What brings a person to this point? Sometimes, its general pressures from the world around a person. Sometimes, its unacknowledged issues from the past (like any type of abuse, trauma, or suffering) resurfacing and demanding to be dealt with. Sometimes its current patterns or cycles of on going abuse. Sometimes its addictive behaviors. But beyond the reason that brings the person to that point, each Wounded Healer finds themselves standing in the same place eventually, deep within the Dark Night Of The Soul.

Some choose to run from it, and find themselves there again and again. Some step into it and give up completely. And then others step into it and struggle with it to the end.

The reason this is so harrowing is because the Dark Night is like looking into the mirror of your soul and seeing your true self reflected back at you. And this means seeing both the good and the bad. It means acknowledging even the things you have insecurities about, are ashamed of, regret, fear, hate, anger you, and resent. It means taking responsibility for your part in the cumulative events that make up your life, instead of pushing the blame on others and being a victim. And it means coming to terms with the pain you have suffered at the hands of others. It means looking at yourself in totality, to see the whole of who you really are.

And then, it means coming to terms with those things. Making peace with them, because the past can not be changed or rewritten, so that you can move forward with your life without the heavy burden of the past weighing you down.

Does this mean you have to love everything about you, even when you intentionally hurt someone else, were petty, or did something horrible? Does it mean you have to forgive those that have hurt you horribly and offer them a great big hug? No, it doesn't. What it does mean, when you acknowledge these things and accept them as part of who you are, is that they become lessons for you to learn from and to grow from, in the long run. They can become the guide showing you the way you want to live your life, as opposed to how you used to when you knew regret, guilt, and fear.

Learning to forgive, yourself and others, for a past that can not be changed, can rewrite the destiny of your future ~ the future of a Wounded Healer.



Soul Retrieval

Within the practices of Shamanism, there is a ritual called Soul Retrieval. This practice is utilized when a piece or pieces of a person's spirit have seemingly departed from the body as a means of protection during traumatic events that occur in life. The act of Soul Retrieval is the retrieval and reintegration of those missing pieces of the person's soul.

When a Wounded Healer goes through the Dark Night, they are in essence preforming their own form of Soul Retrieval on themselves. This can act can take days, weeks or even years to complete. It all depending on how fragmented the soul is, how much suffering the person has gone through in their life, and how willing they are to delve inside themselves to find those pieces again.

To put it another way, have you ever felt an unknown longing inside you that pulls incessantly at you? Its like an empty void that you try to fill with different things like relationships, busy activities, religion or altruistic offerings of help to others? Perhaps you've tried to numb that gnawing feeling deep within your heart with drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors? And some of these things might fill it up a little bit for a time, but eventually, after a while, you come back to the same place you started at because nothing gets rid of it totally.

The problem here is that you are looking everywhere but the one place you should be for the missing thing to fill that void. And the more you search, while avoiding that one place, the more fragmented you become. Until there is no place left to look, but into that mirror, because nothing works anymore and you feel your life coming to a halting standstill....stagnating. And you are left feeling impotent and powerless.

Soul Retrieval is the act of looking into the mirror and seeing all of those seemingly fragmented parts of yourself that you have pushed away from you. In reality, they are all still there and you have only dissociated yourself from them, possibly to the point where they seem like separate entities all together. Soul Retrieval is the integration of the fragmented spirit of a wounded soul.

When done by you for you, it is an act of intense and powerful healing. And it is a process that builds faith in one's own innate worth. This is because you are showing yourself, as a person worthy of healing (like you might show another person in offering them compassion and empathy) by acting as your own healer, teacher and guide. It speaks to the value you place upon yourself, by taking the first steps into a journey of healing and recovery, instead of hiding in the darkness, ashamed of who you are with the belief that you have no value other than what you can do for others.

The Innate Potential Of The Wounded Healer

All of this, which in any singular moment, might seem as though it was pointless suffering and anguish, can lead the Wounded Healer to a much greater awareness of spirit. It can potentially open this person up to great empathy and compassion for those around them who are suffering in much the same way, despite the differences in situations and experiences.
Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?
~~Thomas Jefferson
The Wounded Healer walks a path of empathy, where in they have the ability to help other people heal and grow at depths others might not be able to aspire to. This is because they have walked the same path and suffered the same wounds. And having come out on the other side, from darkness into light, they are capable of walking back into that darkness to help others do the same.



What Does This Say About Other Paths?

Does this say you have to be a Wounded Healer to be an Empath? No. Does this say that one has to be a Wounded Healer to empathize with others or to share in their pain? No. This is just one type of person on one particular journey. And there are many others of equal and worthy measure.


For More Information On The Wounded Healer, Check Out:
The Wounded Healer: Archetyping Of an Empath


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Empaths: Depression & Self Confidence

Let me tell you a story about an Empath. It's a common story you might be able to relate to in some way.
An Empath, by the name of Emily, had a hypersensitive personality. She was a people pleaser, in that she loved to be needed by others and to help them in any way she could. It brought her joy. And it also brought her validation, like it was her sole purpose in the world.

In her youth, she had a succession of relationships that didn't seem to last long. One even turned violent at one point. And always, it was the other party that left her with parting words like "You just don't seem to be fully committed in this relationship." or "You spend more time with your friends than me, so I'm moving on.". As time progressed, the parting comments became worse as did the type of men she chose to date.

In friendships, she was the type of person who, as we said, loved to be needed. So she found herself playing counselor to many people. And she would call these people friends. But strangely, they only came to her, wanting to spend time with her, when they were in need of advice, a willing ear, or a shoulder to cry on. And afterward, they would leave with empty promises of getting together again soon.

Somehow, amongst all of those people around her that she tried ardently to fit in with, a piece of her always felt alone and empty. This was because there was no one there to see her cry, no one to console her, and no one to see beyond the mask she wore for the world.

Compounding all of these things, was the constant weight she carried around with her from all of those she had helped and had interaction with; the problems, the emotions (sorrow, anger, fear, pain). They mingled with her own emotions, often casting her into internal confusion and chaos.

And slowly, it began to erode or chip away the fragile self esteem she had built for herself based on the help she gave to others. Until one day she found herself in a state of depression, where in, she felt worthless. And she felt her life stagnating.
The Analysis

This is not a story of abuse, in particular. It is one most of us can relate to at some level, because we've all had moments when we doubt ourselves and/or have been depressed for a myriad of differing reasons, be it relationships, friendships, failures, etc.

It forces one to stop, question and begin to doubt themselves as they look at their lives. And it makes questions like "What am I doing with my life?" and "Was all of this for nothing?" prevalent.

And it can be caused by the slow procession of life, as much as severe traumas, abuse, and issues. This is because the subtle negative and/or derogatory comments of others (even when there isn't intent to do harm to you) can chip away at one's self confidence over time, causing it to erode. And being overlooked, except when you are useful, can take its toll, as well.

When this happens, depression can set in very easily. And the reasons for it will not necessarily be as obvious as being sad after someone you care for dies or you have escaped being abused. This is because there is no one single cause, but a string of events over a long period of time which have brought you to that point.

This can change how you perceive yourself, when you find that your only value, in other people's eyes, is when you find yourself being useful, helpful, and a willing shoulder for others. If this is the only validation you receive, then you will build your identity around it. And that identity is extremely fragile, because it is based on continuation of praise and gratitude of others.

The Definitions

An Empath is a person who is "sensitive" to energies, and often finds themselves feeling the emotions and sometimes physical sensations of the people, places, things and animals around them.

Another definition of an Empath is one who has an acute or highly developed sensitivity to the emotions and emotional states of themselves and others.

Depression is defined as a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.

Self Esteem is defined as self-pride or a feeling of pride in yourself.

Another site defines Self Esteem thusly: Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.

Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent-incompetent") and emotions (for example, triumph-despair, pride-shame). Behavior may reflect self-esteem (for example, assertiveness-shyness, confidence-caution).

Self Confidence is defined as freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities.

One site defines Self-Worth as the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.

Another site defines Self-Worth as the value one assigns to oneself or one's abilities in self assessment.

The Empath's Eroding Self Confidence

If you take what we discussed in the above analysis of our case study, and you compound those issues with a hypersensitive personality (such as in Empaths and HSPs), where in the person takes on the emotions and issues of other people as though they were their own, what you get is much like a soda can that has been shaken and is under extreme pressure.

The added weight of other people's problems and emotions, on top of one's own unresolved issues and eroding self image, can quite literally cripple an Empath/HSP emotionally. And the longer the problem is ignored or avoided (the combination of these two issues), the worse it can become for the person in question, until finally they are left drowning in a turbulent ocean of confusion and chaos where it is easy to get lost.

One can very easily be swept away in this kind of storm, losing any sense of themselves in the undercurrents of the emotional issues of other people. And it is frightening, because it leaves one feeling utterly vulnerable and open to a world which would think nothing of stepping on them.

Self Worth & Self Confidence

Whether you are an Empath/HSP or not, if you suffer from low self worth and low self confidence, even to the point of depression, how does one counter balance that? What are small steps that can be taken to help reclaim those things which slowly slip away from us without our notice?

I'm going to give you some resources here that of offer assistance (for free) in helping to recapture self esteem and self confidence. I hope it helps. ^_^

The Confidence Manual
How To Build Self Confidence: 6 Essential & Timeless Tips
Building Self Confidence
Building Self Esteem & Confidence
Life With Confidence: A Positive Way Of Thinking
25 Killer Actions To Boost Your Self Confidence
Building Self Esteem & Self Confidence

Beyond these things, remember there is no shame in seeking help through counseling and therapy. We all need someone to talk to, who is impartial and understanding, once in a while. This is not a mark of weakness and it doesn't say that you are crazy. It just says you are in need. ^_^

Friday, January 15, 2010

Empath or Clairsentient?

What is an Empath?

An Empath is an individual with the ability to sense & feel the emotions and energies of people, animals or objects at a distance.

What is a Clairsentient?

A Clairsentient person is able to perceive energy fields (through physical sensations), including a person's aura and vibrations (such as voice and how words are strung together). This may also explain the ability to "sense" the presence of non-corporeal entities, such as ghosts.

More to the point, Clairsentience is also known as 'Clear Feeling' or 'Clear Sensing'. This ability encompasses an Empath's gift of sensing and feeling another person's or animal's emotions and energies. It also encompasses the ability of Psychometry, which is the ability to read the residual emotions and energies imprinted on inanimate objects.

This can be accompanied by other Clair Abilities, which fall under the category of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), such as Claircognizance (clear knowing), Clairvoyance (clear seeing), Clairaudience (clear hearing), Clairscentist (clear smelling), and Clairgustant (clear tasting). But, as with every Clair ability, it can also stand alone. What this means is that, if one is Clairsentient, they will feel or sense energies, whether from a corporeal or non-corporeal source. And it might be accompanied with the ability to see or hear such things as spirits and energies, within the mind's eye, or it might not be. Each Clair ability can work in cooperation with others, or stand alone.

What's the difference?

Empathy and Clairsentience are within the same spectrum of gifts, which are those of feeling or sensing the emotions and energies of the world around them. But Clairsentience is a broadened form of Empathy which encompasses a wider field of sensitivities ~ expanding beyond just the emotions and/or energies of other people and/or animals.

How do I determine which one I am?

First, look at some basic information about the two: Empathy and Clairsentience.

Information About Clairsentience:

The Clairsentient Body
Clairsentience

Information About Empaths:

16 Empath Traits
About Empaths & Empathy

Beyond looking at definitions and trait lists of each type, you should begin to look at the experiences you have with your 'feeling' or 'sensing' gift. As you go over those incidences, you will discover the extent of your abilities.

Have you had experiences of overwhelming emotions and/or energies, from people and/or animals alone? Does it expand beyond that to objects and non-corporeal entities? Some basic questions, like the ones above, will help you ascertain what your ability is right now.

But remember, over time, as with any gift, it always has the potential to expand and grow. This is because, as you grow and develop as a person, so to will your gifts.

Now that I know what I am, what do I do with it?

Well, that's really up to you. You can do nothing with it. Or you can begin to understand it better and develop it. Neither choice is wrong or right, because it's all based on where you want to go and what you want to do with this gift, and with your life in general.

For basic coping techniques and immediate help, try this:

The Empath Survival Program, By Elise Lebeau ~ A free online resource for Empaths

For Communities of like minded people to share you experiences and questions with, try these:

Empath Community
Empathsalike.com
I am an Empath ~Forum & Chat

A thing to remember is that even though these seem oriented to Empaths alone, they are all based in the 'feeling' or 'sensing' abilities. And there is a shared need, whether you believe you are an Empath or a Clairsentient person. So do not turn away from these resources because you choose to call yourself by another title. Be open minded.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Defining The Potential Of Empathy

What is empathy? Where does it end? What is its potential? And what would motivate someone to feel and utilize it in the world today, when most people are more concerned about money, status, and power or just surviving till tomorrow?

Let's go on a journey into the depths of Empathy. It might seem like a long boring journey, but to reach the end, you must go through several layers to truly grasp and understand what we are talking about.....this gift called empathy. So bear with it.

Defining Empathy

This is the portion of this discussion where it gets very technical. You might get bored. You might stop reading. But it will get better once we are done with this explanation.

One site defines Empathy as: The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.

Another site defines Empathy as: A sense of shared experience, including emotional and physical feelings, with someone or something other than oneself.

Because of these definitions, the gift of empathy spans several different areas of human intelligence: that of cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence. And thus can be broken down into two different sections: cognitive and emotional empathy, which are defined as:

Emotional Empathy occurs when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This kind of Empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world.

Cognitive Empathy is having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief.

This can further be broken down into 6 different parts, which span both of the two types listed above:

Theory Of Mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own. In a 2001 research paper, Simon Baron-Cohen describes Theory of Mind as "...being able to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that cause action. In brief, having a theory of mind is to be able to reflect on the contents of one's own and other's minds."

Perspective Taking is the ability to see things from a point of view other than one’s own. In this description, there are a number of different traits. The first is a person recognizing that the self and others can have different thoughts and feelings. The second is a person understanding that different perspectives may occur because individual people are privy to different information. The third is when a person can see through another person's eyes and view their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from the other person's perspective. They also recognize that others can do the same. The fourth is when a person can step away from a one on one situation and imagine how both parties are viewed from a third party perspective. And the last occurs when a person understands that third-party perspective taking can be manipulated by a system of cultural and/or social values.

Cognitive Empathy is having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also correlates with the willingness to remember occasions when we were wrong in the past despite an intense conviction that we were right, and with the ability to imagine our being similarly deceived in a case-at-hand.

Emotional Identification is defined as a heightened form of emotional contagion in which the another person's emotions are taken as one's own. Empathic identification is defined as the process to predict people's behavior by using faculty of empathy.

True Empathy is basically another name for Emotional Empathy, in that it occurs when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious. This kind of Empathy makes someone well-attuned to another person’s inner emotional world.

Emotional Contagion is the tendency to catch and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by those of others. It is a process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioral attitudes.

Beneath The Surface Of Empathy

Now, I can presuppose what some of you think of Empathy. Its a psychic gift. Its something everyone is capable of (except in cases of sociopathy, narcissism, or perhaps autism). Its ingrained in us because of something called Mirror Neuron (which is defined as: a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another animal (especially by another animal of the same species). Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of another animal, as though the observer were itself acting. And is based on some recent studies.)

And is it based in all of these things? Is it psychic? Is it something everyone can do? Is it something based in hard science, like Mirror Neurons? Yes, to all of the above. This is because it can be viewed and understood from many different angles. And none of those angles is particularly wrong. But it's not a complete overview of what this gift is either. It's simply bits and pieces of something much larger than that.

On the surface and by its definition, empathy seems to be about shared emotions and experiences. It's someone understanding another person's feelings and situations, which is the opposite of apathy and indifference. But beneath the surface, where one describes it as psychic phenomena or explains it with science, traits, and definitions, there is more to it.

Empathy is a form of instinctive communication which is derived from emotion. This can be observed even in animals when a mother protects its young or (where there is a pack mentality or a social structure) one animal helps another. It is based in knowing, through intuitively feeling those that surround you (with or without verbal communication) what they need, how they feel, and how to help, if it is possible ~ even if its just a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold.

Empathy is a social ability where in, no verbal communication is needed. This is because the whole of the person, even without words, speaks through body language, microexpressions of the face, and the energy which surrounds the person (being around a depressed person might feel like you are being weighted down because the air feels so heavy and anger might be felt as if you are being punched in the gut, even if they aren't angry with you in particular).

All of these things blend together to give an image of what is going on inside the other person. When you add words to this, the experiences is broadened into new depths. So when the two are joined together, emotion (instinct) and cognition (imagination), you wind up with a truly empathic experience of sharing both emotions and experience.

But Empathy is also more than just an instinct or how you emotionally relate and react to people, based on shared experience, body language, and what not. So lets take it deeper.

The Potential Of Empathy

The potential of Empathy expands far beyond the seemingly limitless scope of the emotional arena, because it is quite literally, a shift in personal perspective which allows a broadening of one's limited perception (point of view) in order to accommodate the perceptions of others and understand them. This practice, while quite obvious within interaction one has with others in the emotional realm, is also available in day to day life, in a much more subtle form that expands beyond the walls of the emotional. So lets look at it a little bit closer, to help you understand what I'm talking about.

Emotional Empathy

You see a woman sitting on a bus as you get on, staring blankly out the window. She clutches her bag to her chest, with her arms crossed over them....as though she is clinging to it for dear life. She does not seem to realize she is grasping the purse so tightly that her hands are in fists. Her shoulders are slumped and she gives an overall feeling of being depressed, dejected, and lost in her own pain.

You go to take your seat, across the aisle from her and you can not help but reach out to her in some small way. You catch her eye as you move toward the seat and you smile at her, even though there seems to be no reaction to it. And when you finally sit down, you reach over and touch her. And then you ask, "Are you alright?"

She looks at you, as thought pondering whether or not to blow you off by ignoring you or by saying "Yeah" and going back to her blank stare, and she does not speak at first. But after a moment she begins to speak, "Yeah, I guess I'm alright. Its just that.....". From which she begins to tell you a story that is the cause of her dejected mood.

And all you do in the space of that moment as she talks is listen. Then, when she is done, seemingly out of no where, just the right words to comfort her begin to pour out of your mouth. And you are as stunned as she is to see the relief and hope which kindle in her eyes. And by the time you get off the bus, you have left her with one pivotal message....."You are not alone." and she does not wear the same face she did when you got on the bus. Replacing it is one of hope.

This is but one example of Emotional Empathy. They take all kinds of shapes and forms, and can be as simple as a smile at someone or a nod of hello to allowing someone to lean on you when they are sorrowful and suffering. But more important than the method of which one uses Emotional Empathy, is the underlying message which runs through all of them. It is a message of hope and validation....of another person's emotions, experiences and even their very existence in this world. And that is a powerful thing to be sure.

In this scenario the person who is being empathetic/empathic is opening themselves to hear what the other person is going through, which in turn broadens their own perspective enough to help the other person find solace, even if what is offered up are simply words of comfort.

But Empathy doesn't end there, nor should it, because Empathy can be applied to everything in life from music....



to images...



to movies....



But even these examples play on the more obvious emotional aspects of Empathy. So lets look at things that are more abstract but still apply to the shift in perspective that is associated with Empathy.

Abstract Empathy

An optical illusion is a visual tool which allows one to shift their perspective in order to perceive different things about a single image.


Do you see a young lady or an old lady?
(Hint: The old lady's eye is the young lady's ear)


A dream is much like an optical illusion, in that it allows one to go over events, issues or problems which arise in daily life, from a new perspective (which is more complex than a simple visual shift in perspective as one does with an optical illusion). This perspective is one based in metaphor, which means that even though one sees one thing within a dream, in reality it has a whole different meaning based on what the subconscious mind associates with that particular image.

A Common Dream

"I'm Naked!"

So you are going about your normal routine - going to work, waiting for the bus, or just walking down the street - when you suddenly realize that you are stark naked. Dreaming that you are completely or partially naked is very common. Nudity symbolizes a variety of things depending on your real life situation.

Becoming mortified at the realization that you are naked in public, reflects your vulnerability or feelings of shamefulness. You may be hiding something and are afraid that others can see right through you. Metaphorically, clothes are a means of concealment. Depending on the type of clothes you wear, you can hide your identity or be someone else. But without them, everything is hanging out for all to see. You are exposed and left without any defenses. Thus your naked dream may be telling you that you are trying to be something that you really are not. Or you are fearful of being ridiculed and disgraced. Such anxieties are elevated especially in situations where you are trying to impress others. Perhaps you are in a new work environment or in a new relationship. You may be expressing fears or apprehension in revealing your true feelings in such situations.

Nudity also symbolizes being caught off guard. Finding yourself naked at work or in a classroom, suggests that you are unprepared for a project at work or school. You may be unprepared in making a well informed decision. With all eyes on you, you fear that some flaw will be brought to public attention. You fear that people will see through your true self and you will be exposed as a fraud or a phony.

Often times, when you realize that you are naked in your dream, no one else seems to notice. Everyone else in the dream is going about their business without giving a second look at your nakedness. If this happens in your dream, then it implies that your fears are unfounded; no one will notice except you. You may be magnifying the situation and making an issue of nothing.

If you dream that you are proud of your nakedness and show no embarrassment or shame, then it symbolizes your unrestricted freedom. You have nothing to hide and are proud of who you are. The dream is about a new sense of honesty, openness, and a carefree nature. Perhaps you are trying to get to the "bare facts". Alternatively, the dream may be telling you that you are drawing the wrong kind of attention to yourself. You want to get noticed, but are going about it the wrong way.


From dreams we go from the internal workings of the mind to those things that occur outside of the mind and in the outer world. This is called Synchronicity, which is defined as: the experience of two or more events that are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

Examples of Synchronicity

* You are suffering with financial difficulties, yet money for basic expenses such as rent, food, and utilities, always manifests. You begin to trust this. At first you thank the universe or god, then you realize you create this abundance. You are learning to watch how you manifest and why, watching yourself from outside the box.

* You have just received your last check from unemployment when suddenly a job comes along.

* You walk into a book store not knowing what to buy, and the book you need falls from a shelf and practically hits you over the head.

* You have been feeling ill with no clear diagnosis. You meet someone who knows a doctor or healer with the answers. All physical problems stem from emotional issues. Your soul will point out the patterns and hopefully the solutions. When the person is ready to heal, the doctor will be there. That person will often show up by synchronicity. This all stems from various levels of depression and self-sabotage stemming from one's DNA or life experiences that have worn them down. When you are confused and in emotional pain, you either have trouble manifesting synchronicities or they are major learning lessons.

* There is a sudden relocation which seems to be for one reason, but later you find much more than you bargained for as the synchronicities rapid occur as if a domino effect. For example, you relocate for a new job, then, as if by synchronicity, someone 'special' comes into your life. You and that person have attracted each other for experience, as all life is nothing more than that. In another case, the energies of the area hold something transformational for you, which is perhaps the reason your soul created the move in the first place.

* You finally end a bad relationship and immediately another partner comes into your life as if by synchronicity.

* You drive to a place where parking is "next to impossible" and someone pulls out of a parking spot or it is waiting for you.
All of these things, which are abstract empathy, in that they do not have a direct connection to the emotional realm which is most often associated with Empathy, all lead one to a specific gift which Empaths (and many other people) generally have in abundance.....Intuition. This can be defined as: the act by which the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas or understanding without apparent effort. Intuition is quite literally the language of Empathy, within the emotional/social realm, as well as, beyond that realm. And it is the truest potential of Empathy.

Now you've seen certain examples and you might be wondering how this directly applies to you. But all of this is something you probably do already without realizing it....when you reach out to someone in need and the words simply flow out of no where to comfort them, when you sit down to balance your check book, when you dream and wake up with a sense of purpose or foreboding, when you look at pieces of art, read stories/poetry, and listen to music of all kinds, and in other ways to numerous to account for. This is your life, whether you realize it or not, and whether you're an Empath or not.

Empathy is a pervasive and subtle language of the mind and heart which can be seen and felt in everything you do and say. It permeates every aspect of life and how you relate to it. It's just a matter of recognizing it, instead of wondering "how did I do that?". And its a powerful gift, that simple shifting of perspective to broaden and expand your view point, whether its in the emotional arena or elsewhere in your life. So think about it and discover more about yourself and what you are capable of than you know right now. What an amazing journey that is. ^_^