Loving outside of yourself is a balancing act. You can love from a spectrum of close family members to those who you have never met. Being an empath means you are susceptible to placing your personal love and feelings in the hands of someone else if you do not stay self-aware. To say you are empathetic means you can share the feelings of another; however, it doesn't mean you must. Compassion for a person, animal, or situation can be conducted without accepting the energy as your own.
All human emotions and triggers have positives and negatives—the latter in which may quickly drain you if you are not vigilant. For example, you may want to practice escaping empathy in times of chaos in your workplace, school, and social fluctuations. Outside of your home there may be various forms of hurt, pain, complaining, suffering, and even death. You must keep your energy high to be your most contributing selves.
“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brown
If you find yourself in an emotional situation and feeling empathetic, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is getting upset helpful in this situation?
- Why am I empathetic toward what is currently happening?
- Do I relate due to a past similar experience?
- Do I currently feel like this as well?
- Do I have a fear of this happening to me?
- Do I wish I could take their pain away?
If the situation feels personal, you may consider writing down your thoughts, taking some reflection time, and working through challenges or trauma you have faced. Occasionally, your empathy for others may seem to cut you so deeply due to your personal lack of reconciliation.
Here are five tips to help you escape empathy.
1. Practice Detachment
Negative emotions can often interfere with a clear thought process, make you physically ill, and last hours after the other person has completely moved on. Feeling sad, afraid, angry, or disgusted are entirely too often the attributes that pull on an empath. Practising emotional detachment can help relieve the intensity of negative emotions. Note: You can emotionally detach from others while still caring about them.
Detachment from the outcome is also useful. The outcome will depend upon various factors, none of which you have control over. Remind yourself that the person who is upset has the power to choose their next words, thoughts, and actions—and that you cannot make them choose.
Your daily life puts you around the same people, or same type of people, on a regular basis (e.g., your job, work route, family members, etc.). One easy way to start practising detachment is with a few simple questions:
- Is this particular person trying to make a positive change?
- Do they just like to speak negatively?
- Does this person have karmic debt they are working through?
- Do they attempt to learn lessons from their challenges?
- Is the source of the continued negative discussion a lack of self-love? (If the answer is yes, detachment from their sadness and despair is easier with some talk about their positive traits)
Because you have no control over others, sometimes there is no choice but to detach. You can do this by spending as little time around them as possible, keeping discussions brief, and loving them from afar.
2. Develop Awareness
As with everything in your life, awareness is crucial. If you are just strolling through your day, soaking up the low vibrations of everyone and everything you interact with—the media that catches your eye or ear, the story your child shares with you about a child in their class, the deceased animals on the side of the road, etc.—you’ll easily and quickly become overwhelmed. It's just too much for one individual to take on in a true empathetic form.
What can you do? Choose your battles. What are your top priorities, people, and passions? Allow everything else to take its slot. Not every situation deserves a seat at your table and not everything needs or wants your empathy.
Also, remind yourself that you have your reasons for choosing to be here. Balance is a challenge for everyone and your lesson is to not just accept that you must take on the burdens of the world. Dig deeper. What is the lesson behind the pain and unease?
3. Leave It at the Door
Make a habit of sitting in your car for an extra 60 seconds when you arrive home. Turn off the radio (unless your favourite song is playing, then sing away and hit the off button when it’s over). Try these simple steps to release the foreign frequencies you have acquired.
- Visualise a cloud of fog flowing from your body. Pretend this is all the negativity you want to release.
- Decide what is important enough to give another thought and what is not.
- If someone is inside waiting on you, what type of vibrations do you want to greet them with? Make a conscious choice to turn that on. How you enter the home can set the tone for the entire evening, especially if two or more people are soaking in foreign emotional frequencies.
Many cultures outside of America as well as ancient belief systems agree that leaving your shoes at the door can also keep negative energy out of the home. It's more than dirt and oil.
4. Practice Smudging
Smudging is an ancient spiritual practice from around the globe. From Native Americans to Ancient Egypt, high vibrational herbs have been used to create a more positive environment and cleanse an area of germs and harmful thoughts. It’s recommended you smudge your home on every Equinox and Solstice. These traditional days of starting new serve as a good reminder to keep your space in alignment with your intentions.
Smudging is done by using dried smudging sticks or white sage. Sticks may also come with a mixture of sage and sweet grass. You can typically find these at your local health food store. Try the following steps to smudge your home, office, or car:
- Place the smudging stick in a fire-safe container, such as an ashtray or thick shell.
- Set one end on fire allowing it to smoke heavily but not have a visible flame. It will smolder for a long time once lit. If the smoke stops, relight as needed.
- Walk through your space allowing the smoke to touch walls, furniture, and other various items. The more the smoke comes in contact with, the better—even yourself.
- Open any windows while you are smudging. If you live in a cold climate and the smell or smoke becomes too much, spread the smudging over a few days, doing small areas at a time.
- Speak positive affirmations such as:
- “My home is a safe and healthy space.”
- “We (I) only accept positive energy.”
- “This home offers an abundance of comfort.”
Whatever you desire more of in the space, speak that with a firm thought and tone.
5. Soak Up Positivity
Considering that you're a pro at feeling the emotions of others (i.e., you’re an empath), decide how that can be used to your advantage. Try surrounding yourself with more happy, successful, self-aware humans and entertainment. This list may give you some ideas to get started:
- Watch shows or movies that make you feel good.
- Call the family member who makes you laugh more often.
- Switch your lunch routine if coworkers are not on the same page.
- Choose a male or female archetype that mirrors what you want more of.
Keep in mind that regardless of how you were born, what has shaped you, or what has programmed your reactions, you always have a choice. Being a kind, loving, thoughtful person with the ambition to change the world does not mean you must suffer through the process.