Are You An EMPATH?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been deeply empathic. I had no idea how deep until one day I had one of those realizations that really hit me. This one felt like a baseball bat. This realization changed my life and deeply challenged my entire belief system.

Many years ago, a student arrived for his guitar lesson, saying that he had suffered from a stomach ache all day. After making sure that he did not need medical attention, and that his parents knew about this, we enjoyed playing his favourite music and he left feeling better. But now, I had the stomach ache. And I knew for certain, it wasn’t mine! And I also knew that this wasn’t the first time I had taken on someone else’s pain.

How on earth had that happened? There was nothing in anything I had learned up to this point that explained how such a thing was possible. I also realized that I had probably always been doing this, but was completely unaware of it. Now I was aware! And I had a big problem. I had to figure out what was my own stuff and what I had soaked up from someone else. Some days I felt like a sponge!


My curiosity was ignited. My trail to the library and bookstore deepened and I signed up for Reiki and yoga classes to learn to become more aware of my body and energy systems.

As I began to accept the reality of the human energy system, I started to collect some skills and tools to figure out what was my stomach ache and what was somebody else’s stomach ache; and to figure out how to release anything that didn’t belong to me. As I expanded my curiosity into finding out more about energy and vibrational medicine, my belief system expanded.

Did I stop being a sponge? No. Actually, I became more of a sponge. The empathy deepened as I learned more about it. I found out that I am a physical empath, which means that I can easily take on the symptoms of those around me. The understanding, skills and tools that I have been learning usually keep things in balance. That it is one of my greatest gifts in my service to others.

What I Learned

The Calgary Herald published an article July 21, 2008 by Albert Nerenberg, which was all about empathy and the scientific discovery of what is believed to be the physical basis of empathy – mirror cells, and that the energy system is measured by frequency. The whole system responds to, heals and comes into balance, with sound and frequency.

A large percentage of the human population is born with or is developing deep empathic abilities. Like it or not, there can be serious physical, emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms to this ‘ability.’

So, fast-forward to March 2011. A devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency in Japan captured most of the world’s attention and emotions because of the immediacy of the information. Especially that sent over social media. This event had many of the sensitive empaths around the world reeling. A few days after the earthquake and tsunami, as I was getting ready to go to bed, I felt a huge explosion in my body. This was followed by an unbelievable wave of deep sadness. It shook me to my core. I wrote down the time and when I checked the newspaper the next morning. There had been a major explosion at the nuclear plant at Fukushima-at the same time I felt the explosion in my body!! It took days of my own personal emotional meltdown to process that experience out of my body.

I am not the only one

Many people these days are having difficulty in managing a deepening sensitivity to what is going on not only in their own lives and community but to what is going on in the world in general. Since my baseball bat ‘realization’ many years ago, I have been collecting as many tools as I can get my hands on to help me manage this empathic sensitivity. Since I know that I am not the only one struggling with this, I am sure that many others are also trying to figure out how to deal with this.

There has been a lot of information flowing lately about humanity’s growth in consciousness. What few people seem to be addressing is that there are physical symptoms associated with the expansion of awareness. With the deep connection that has been created through the internet and social media, we really see and feel what others are experiencing. We are deepening our sense of connection with each other. And our empathic response.

Growth in awareness or consciousness expands empathic ability among other things. Some of the accompanying symptoms are puzzling and some of them downright distressing. The medical community even has a term for this sensitivity – compassion fatigue. Deeply empathic nurses and doctors who serve people with traumatic and serious injuries, will take their patients’ conditions on, creating symptoms not unlike post-traumatic stress disorder.

Here are a few other characteristics or symptoms:

  • Uncomfortable or overwhelmed in crowded places like the mall.
  • Pick up on other people’s feelings like they are your own. Sometimes it is really hard to tell what is yours and what is theirs.
  • Suffer from fatigue often.
  • Drawn to holistic therapies or healing.
  • Can be overwhelmed by negativity.
  • Highly intuitive.
  • Sometimes take on the symptoms of those around you.
  • Sense of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing, etc. is acute.

Sound is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help manage a deep empathic sensitivity. I use it daily to help keep me centered and clear.

Here are a few tips:

  • Put on some lively music and move or dance. Move out any energy that is not yours.
  • Stand in the grass in your bare feet. Ground into the earth and let any energy that is not yours drain out through your feet.
  • Listen to nature sounds. They bring you back into balance so gently.
  • If you have a Himalayan or Crystal Singing Bowl, play it. The sound is a wonderful way to bring you into the present moment and the vibration allows emotional energy to release.
  • Laugh! Laughter is great medicine that returns you back to harmony in a wonderfully fun way.

If you feel or know that you may be an empath, I encourage you to explore the depth of your sensitivity. It is one of your greatest gifts and will serve you well as you serve others.

Find out more about Sharon Carne

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