Saturday, May 11, 2013

Can You Feel What I Feel? - A Glimpse into Being an Empath

I’ve hinted around a few times on my blog that I’m “highly sensitive” or I get these “feelings”. What I truly meant was that I’m an Empath.  Yes an Empath – like the character, Counselor Deanna Troy, on Star Trek, the Next Generation.  I remember how excited I became when first watching that show and seeing her character because even though I knew she played a fictional character, the fact that it showed an Empath meant I wasn’t alone, and that there were others like me.  It may sound odd but that gave me great comfort because I didn't talk about my abilities or share them because I didn't know if anyone would truly understand. It took me years to unravel what my ability was much less share my skills with others. 

What is an Empath?  Empaths are people with heightened feeling capabilities. We feel and experience feelings more intensely than others.  That’s a general description.  Each Empath like any other person who has a talent manifests that talent in hers or his particular way.  What I can say about my ability is that I pick up on energy -  positive or negative - being emitted in the world. To me, feelings are energy vibrations and I can tune into that vibration. And with that ability to tune in, I can feel other people’s feelings, an animal’s feelings, as well as tune into the emotional vibration of a space.

I wasn’t always comfortable with this ability. For one, even though I knew I had this ability, I didn’t share it because I wasn’t sure if I’d be believed. But I had a sense with some people that they could pick up on it. In fact, I had one boss that recognized it and he at times would ask how he should approach a particular person because he could see that I could tune into that person and figure out the best approach with that individual.

Then there were others that didn’t believe me. Well, just one (* see note at bottom ) She fiercely contended that there was no way I could feel people’s feelings. Honestly, I had doubts that this person and I could be true friends and part of me sharing my ability was a test - a test she didn’t pass & I distanced myself from her after that. I did so because I didn’t want to hide who I truly was around people who couldn’t understand this kind of ability. After that, well, a long while after I licked my wound from that event clean, I started to become more open about my gift. And in doing so, I began to connect with more people who had empathic ability. Life seems to work that way.  

Recently, I’ve begun to open up more around people I’ve known awhile. And in that, any doubts I may have had about my own perceptions of my ability were nullified. “Yes, Jen”, they said, “We know. You really can feel people’s feelings.” And then I had to laugh and say, “Okay, really, it’s just not me that perceives it that way.”

I’ve been cultivating a new friendship and in getting to know a new friend I’ve wondered how much do I want to share with this person about my empath ability before she thinks I’m totally weird.  But she’s been very open-minded and delightfully curious about the whole thing.  Prior to meeting me, she’d never heard of an Empath. She knew of people being sensitive or intuitive but she never knew of the depth of the Empath ability. Because of her curiosity, while we were taking a walk, I rambled on about how I could feel people’s feelings and at times take on their energy.  With compassion she said it must be hard to feel other people’s pain. “Well, honestly,” I said “it’s hard but there are good things too, like, I wish you could feel what I feel when I feel the energy of trees.” Then I had to say to myself, “Did I really say that out loud? Did I really just confess that I feel my communication with trees?” “I know it’s weird,” I told her, “but I feel trees and honestly, the loving vibrations I feel from trees are probably some of the most awesome feelings I’ve experienced.”

Here’s the really amazing part, my friend totally believed me. And we continued to talk about what it’s like to communicate with trees. Then I finally switched topics and we talked about something else I’m sure - I think running shoes.

Last week my friend and I were hiking on a trail. I don’t know who spotted them first, but a glowing bush of gorgeous purple flowers shot off the trail. I bent down to the plant and told it how beautiful it was. As I sent out loving vibrations to the plant it responded (of course) with loving vibrations in return. “I felt that,” blurted my friend. “I felt that plant responding to you.” ‘YOU DID?!,” I yelped excitedly. I asked what it felt like. As she began to put together her thoughts I interjected how it felt to me and she said that wasn’t how she felt it. Then she described her reaction (not that I can remember now what she said) but her description felt far more accurate than the words I had put together.  And in hearing what she said, I knew, she really had felt it too.  

I don’t know if my friend will continue to feel plants or start feeling trees. I hope she will. I hope she’ll be able to feel what I feel because feeling matters. If you ask me if I like being an Empath what I can say is this: maybe I don’t always want to pick up things, and there are times where I am blocking what I receive and feel - but not always. Often, I do like feeling the connection, or know that I can connect in a way to the world that although it may be hard, it might be necessary. There’s a lot of feeling out there -  a lot that’s not said because some people don’t know how. And maybe there are people like me that have to feel those feelings and express them. I don’t know. All I know is what I feel and if I can help others connect in a deeper way to the world, then that’s all that matters.

* Note - I recently saw my friend who made the comment "You can't feel how other people feel". I haven't seen her in years and we reconnected at a mutual friend's party.  I had decided prior to the party that I would let her know if the subject came up about how her comment made me feel. We used to work together in the same field so when she and a couple of other work acquaintances asked me what I was up to, I honestly told them that I was pursuing being an Intuitive Healer. Being a radical change to what I used to do, the subject opened up to what an Intuitive Healer is and me being an empath. They all seemed interested and respectful of this new career path for me. Later in the evening I told my friend about the 1st time I told her and her reaction. Her response was, "well that was rude." I said, laughing, "Yea, I thought so but I also thought maybe you weren't ready to hear that about me." So she apologized and I accepted and I felt really good about the interaction. Feels good to be accepted by friends. 


Katie Doyle said...

That must be pretty cool. I wish I could feel my dogs. Trees would be pretty neat, too, but not if you could feel the ones cut down. :(

Jen Pearlman said...

When I "communicate" to trees I basically send a message out with my thoughts. The trees pick it up & send back their own vibration. I don't reach out my energy to things that have been cut like flowers or trees. At that point, their energy is in survival mode. As far as animals, I can feel if they are happy or sad, especially when I'm petting them. But animals are good communicators with their tails ;0