WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS TO GET RIGHT ABOUT EMPATHS

It may be that there’s the teeniest, tiniest tinge of frustration behind this title.

I’m throwing my hands up in the air as I write.

As a psychotherapist, energy worker and empath—one who’s served a long apprenticeship, learned the ropes, and is now teaching other empaths to do the same—I reckon that “The World” could do with a bit of a shaking up of all the assumptions it makes.

The world makes a lot of assumptions about those that it chooses—often with a bit of an eye roll and a barely disguised sneer—to call empaths.

See, we empaths never did choose that word, “The World” did—kind of like it used to call wise women with gifts of healing “witches” in years gone by.

Does that seem a preposterous comparison? Oh, but I’m deadly serious here. Don’t get my empath’s hackles up too much or I might just turn you into a frog!

The other day, I read a piece by someone who said they felt like throwing up every time they read the word “empath” in the title of any article. Wow, strong words. Strong reaction. Hey, I wonder, do we have another group of people being discriminated against here? A subtle undercover bit of scapegoating going on?

See, that’s how it starts, discrimination. We start to rubbish, to mock, to think it’s okay to diminish and ignore. To ridicule. To make a certain kind of person a figure of fun.

We stop listening. Instead, we put our hands over our ears and go blah blah blah. And, in that way that we unconsciously scapegoat those who are different to us, we then start to make assumptions instead. We stop being open to what they have to say.

Once you’ve made someone ridiculous, it’s a bit of a slippery slope after that.

So I’m here to try to right the balance a bit. I’m here to say to anyone who feels that way about those the world calls “empaths” that they’re missing the point.

And I want to tell you why.

As a psychotherapist, I can say without any shadow of a doubt that the one thing that we all need—yes, the ‘N’ word, “need”—is to be listened to and understood. For someone to really get what we’re feeling. Note: feeling. Those of us who are more comfortable living in our heads rather than our hearts don’t like the ‘N’ word very much. It makes us feel weak, vulnerable. And we don’t like vulnerable. We feel way more in control with “strong.”

But we do, of-course, secretly envy those who can let themselves actually be vulnerable. Scapegoating is always double-edged!

That, of course, is part of what we don’t like about empaths: they do feelings. Whoa, how scary is that! They make us face what we’re frightened of.

Those bits of us we don’t go near. Ever!

The other reason Empaths scare us is because they see stuff. They see into us and through us. You can’t pull the wool over an Empath’s eyes.

They know it straight away. Witches all over again, right?

Okay, okay, I know we can be irritating at times, and over-sensitive, some of us are unbearably self-pitying, even, before we learn the ropes. Sure, we have lots to work out and learn. Mostly, how to hold, contain and transmute low vibrational energy into that of a higher vibration.

And we can become amazingly, awesomely good at that!

I get fed up just as much as the next person when I read articles that tell empaths to stay away from people and take to their bed every time there’s a full moon! But these people aren’t empaths yet: they’re what I’d call “Identifiers.” They’re busy soaking everything up as if it belongs to them, when actually most of it belongs to everyone else!

But once we empaths have done the work, we’re unstoppable! Trust me! We’re utterly mind-blowing!

So bear with me just a while? Let me explain a few things that only empaths start out knowing. Things that would make the world a far easier place for us all to exist in if only everyone else could try learning them too.

Can I give it a go?

First, we know that this is an emotional Universe, one that feels. You can’t talk about a loving Universe in one breath, and then talk about a Universe that responds purely to thoughts. It’s a contradiction.

And if you don’t see why it’s a contradiction, that’s why the world needs empaths!

Let me say it again. This is an emotional Universe. A Universe which responds to the vibration of emotion. Emotion which emanates from our unconscious feelings and beliefs. Why else do you think we have ended up living in a reality where everyone’s busy trying hard to think and project the “right thoughts” yet we have managed to create a reality that reflects anything but!

Ever stop to think about that one? We’re so caught up in thoughts and thinking here if the West, busy rationalizing and intellectualizing everything, we tend to forget that important fact. Why is it that the planet doesn’t particularly reflect the positive thoughts and intentions that people reckon they’re putting out there?

I’ll tell you why: it’s because it isn’t about our thoughts. It’s about what we’re projecting out there that we’re often completely unaware of.

By the way, know who can help with that? Best of all?

The empath that the world reckons deserves to be ridiculed for being over-sensitive!

See, empaths pick up everyone else’s stuff. The stuff that everyone else is busy trying to deny and push away? Know where it gets pushed? Into empaths.

Yep!

And then the world blames them for it. All the while, that empath is actually doing what everyone else could helpfully be taking responsibility for doing: tuning in properly to what’s really going on!

Starting to hear any of this yet? Let’s push on.

Let’s consider a bit further what the world could learn from empaths if it could get past its iron-clad defences against feelings.

The world could try to do what empaths have no choice about:

1) It could start understanding that to be fully conscious is to feel, not just think.

2) It could start taking responsibility for working through its own feelings instead of making empaths carry them.

3) It could start living more in the Heart instead of in the Head.

4) It could re-instate empaths as being worthy of respect and appreciation—after all, they’ve carried the world’s disavowed mess for a long time.

5) It could learn how to be mindful and aware, open and emotionally intelligent.

And if only the world would start taking its personal responsibility more seriously, it might free up empaths to do what they’re really good at!

How does that sound? How about we all give it a go?

Who knows…it could even make the world a better place!

 

@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket

FROM EMPATH TO LIGHTWORKER

A few days ago I wrote a piece about empaths called “How to be an Empath with Muscle,” and I’ve been inundated since by requests for more information on just how to do that.

So, here it is!

What follows is based on my own experience of being an empath, and years of making sense of, and honing, this amazing gift.

It’s also based on my years of sitting with others’ energy in my psychotherapy room, and of teaching and supervising young therapists in training to receive, hold, understand, process and contain their clients’ feelings and then give them back to the client in a manageable or transmuted form.

Let’s start with a few fundamentals:

1. We are all empaths; it varies only by degree. If we think about how large our energy fields actually are, around ten to twenty feet minimum, we get an idea of how frequently our energy fields touch and overlap. Think about that. We can’t escape each other’s energy even if we wanted to. In any case, since we’re all the same energy, separateness is an illusion of convenience, nothing more.

2. Let’s think about this spiritually for a few moments. We all seem to agree that fear-based thinking is unhelpful. So how come we start smudging ourselves from head to toe, and every room in the house, like we love-based creatures are directly under threat from something toxic? Think about it. Does that make it go away, or does that very focus make the “problem” even worse?

3. What do we all agree is the most powerful force in the universe? If the answer is Love, and I suspect it most likely is, then why aren’t we using that force in a circumstance such as this? Is it just words, or do we trust that to be true? Have a think on that one.

When I trained years ago, as a psychotherapist, it was a pretty rigorous training. Eight years in all, twice-weekly therapy, twice-weekly supervision, group therapy, the lot.

I didn’t know about energy then. However, we were taught to understand a phenomenon called Projective Identification. If you’re aware of being an empath, you might be surprised that psychotherapists have had a name for what I’m about to describe for a good hundred years or more.

Projective identification is a term that describes the receiving of another’s thoughts, feelings, memories, experiences and fantasies, as if they are your own. The therapist’s job—our job—is to work out what is theirs and what is not theirs, what belongs to the other person, and to use that to understand what the other is struggling to manage, tolerate, accept, allow into consciousness.

• Learning Point Number One: the feelings we receive from others are unconscious, not intentional. “They” are not “doing it to us” on purpose!

A good therapist has simply become highly skilled at using all their senses all the time, and processing what they are receiving intelligently and consciously. What we empaths receive—as fellow empaths will know—can be extremely complex. They can be bodily sensations, sounds, sudden emotions gripping us with a blast, voices, images, scenes replaying. We read the energy that comes with words, and we know when there is a dissonance between what’s being said and what’s actually being felt. And we feel how full silence is.

Pretty awesome skills we empaths possess, huh?

• Learning Point Number Two: we can learn to make sense of what we’re receiving as a communication from the other, rather than as an attack.

Which leads me on to the next important consideration: we don’t need to see feelings as dangerous.

We don’t need to be frightened of all this.

It’s the stuff of everyday work in the therapy room. One of the foundations of a good therapist. Therefore, in psychotherapy training, we’re not taught to fear projective identification; we’re taught to receive it willingly, but to separate out in our psyche what’s ours and what’s being received from the other. We have to do the work of exploring our own material and becoming familiar with it. Once we can work that out, we have a map to work with and we no longer get lost. If we don’t, we’re a loose canon. I’ve met a fair few in my time!

  • Learning Point Number Three: to be an effective transmuter of energy, we have to become self-aware, and mindful of our own material, so we can know what’s ours and what’s someone else’s.

So let’s move on to the actual mechanics. Let’s talk about the defense of “Splitting.”

Splitting—splitting off. Another useful psychotherapy term. It means we can’t allow what we’re feeling into our consciousness, for fear of how painful and unmanageable it is, so we send it away from ourselves energetically.

That usually means that it’s picked up by someone else’s energy field. And that’s the purpose. It’s no different from the way a baby in distress needs a grounded parent to receive, hold and contain that distress and soothe it before giving it back. It’s how babies learn to manage feelings. It’s also why some of us who didn’t get that struggle to do so.

  • Learning Point Number Four: all we’re doing is what grounded parents do for infants all the time.

Feelings that have been split off are immensely powerful because they’ve been stored in the unconscious in their original form: raw and unprocessed. They haven’t been felt since, or thought about, or talked about. They’re also likely to have been magnified hugely as a result of their time in the world of the unconscious mind. Therefore, their impact on us is particularly great. But that’s okay once we get what’s happening.

• Learning Point Number Five: the reason that the split off feelings we receive from other people feel so powerful is because they are coming from the unconscious, and are therefore still in their raw and unprocessed state.

When we see it like this, it doesn’t have to be frightening, or attacking, or evil, or threatening, does it? It doesn’t need to be smudged away. I don’t know any therapists whose therapy rooms smell of white sage smoke!

The crucial thing is this: Once we know about this as a phenomenon, and have learned that we can see it differently, it’s impossible for it to be so frightening. It’s no longer a threat; it’s a soul to soul communication.

So now, if we think this through again, we can start to see that projective identification isn’t malevolent at all. The other’s feelings or wishes might be, but projective identification is a communication of them, not a receiving of them. No one can create in our reality, and no one can put his or her intentions into us. It is an energetic communication only. Anything else is about our own fear.

• Learning Point Number Six: no-one can create in our reality. We’re receiving unconscious feelings only, simply an energetic communication from one soul to another, nothing more.

Once we’ve let go of fear, we can calmly allow ourselves to recognise that we have received a communication, and to work out what it is. Then we process it (do the work of understanding it mindfully) with compassion and understanding. And then, we act in whatever way we choose.

That might be to say something; it might be to breathe it in, make space around it for compassion a while, and then give it back to the other in that new form so that it need no longer be fearful (focused loving intention will do this); it might be to release it to the Universe with love; it might be to send love out into the world in an image or the power of your own feeling. Or something else entirely.

You don’t have to hold it forever, just long enough. And the idea is to hold it as separate from yourself, not to identify with it and merge with it. That’s when you drown rather than swim with the stream.

• Learning Point Number Seven: the key task is to empathise with the feeling, not identify with it. It’s not yours, so don’t own it, simply hold it awhile and transmute it.

Anyhow, that’s my take on it. It’s what all the great sages—excuse the pun—have said right down the ages. We are one energy, and that energy is Love.

Go within, do the work, and you will have become a lightworker of power and strength and love. And you will have let go of fear into the bargain.

Do we not all deserve this gift from one another?

 

@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket

 

HOW TO BE AN EMPATH WITH MUSCLE

It’s incredibly hard work being an empath, isn’t it?

Getting it all, feeling it all, absorbing it all? Picking up the pain of a stranger so deeply as they walk by that your entire body hurts? Feeling dizzy and sick in a crowd or café from the energy coming your way?

For several years, one of the most important tasks I had was to help young therapists in training to use their empathic skills differently. To build empathic muscle and emotional resilience. To transform a liability into a strength.

I thought it might be helpful to share some of the key secrets here.

So, first, here is the bad news. It’s where we have to start. It’s going to be a shock to some, but we need to begin at the beginning: empaths are not empathising at all; they are actually identifying.

I repeat, empaths are not empathising, they are identifying.

To explain what I mean, imagine you have someone drowning out in the middle of a lake. If you’re identifying, you’re so overcome by what it would be like if you were the person drowning that before you know it you’ve jumped in too, even though you can’t swim, and now there are two people drowning instead of one.

If you’re a tuned in, canny empath with muscle, you’re observing what’s going on with enormous understanding and compassion, you feel the other’s fear and panic, you hold it inside you long enough to transmute it through the sheer power of loving intention and you breathe out calm and your belief and strength and knowledge that this person can swim.

You don’t jump in; you stay on the shore, talking them through, hearing, noticing, showing you get it, making sure they know they’re not alone. And that these feelings threatening to drown them can be survived.

There’s nothing new or magical about this. It’s what tuned-in mothers and fathers do for their babies all the time. Watch carefully and you’ll see it happening. You’ll see a baby fraught with fear or rage or frustration become miraculously soothed because a parent is showing that these feeling can be survived and managed. The parent takes those feelings into their own body, holds them a while, and then gives them back to the baby in a processed and manageable form.

And this is the crucial bit for us to understand if we’re going to become true empaths rather than identifiers—if we’re going to become empaths with muscle who can make a difference.

See, those of us who grew up learning to be empaths without muscle (identifiers) usually grew up with either an over-anxious parent who couldn’t manage their own feelings very well, or a pretty shut down parent who could give us little or no help in managing our own feelings, because they simply did not do feelings.

In the first case—that of an over-anxious parent—we were required to become what is called, in my theoretical background, a “container” for that parent, because that parent could not act as a container for themselves.

We’re not talking blame here, just cause and effect. If you can’t contain your own feelings, you look for someone else to contain them for you. In this case, your child. You. Me.

Trouble is, a child does not have the resources to be a container for someone else’s feelings, because a child only learns how to contain their own feelings when a parent capable of managing their own feelings shows them how. You see how complicated this is getting?

In the second scenario—a parent who is emotionally shut down—the child has a parent who is also unable to show a child how to contain their feelings. Instead of knowing how to do this themselves, they have discovered what seems like a safe alternative, which is to push them all away out of sight and shut down. This is called splitting. Psychically, we split off our unwanted and unacknowledged feelings unconsciously, and put them into someone else.

Typically, these two parents often show up together, so that we have one parent who is emotionally overflowing and another who is emotionally shut down. Remember, we’re not allocating any blame here—these parents are the way they are because of the parenting they themselves received, which clearly also gave little help with how to manage feelings.

So now, back to the child.

Without help to either contain or process feelings—which are pretty big and frightening things to a child—this child is now exposed to feelings and images in the raw; wild feelings, if you like, with no help to know how to tame them.

As the child develops, feelings remain frightening, a threat rather than a friend, an attacker rather than an ally. Feelings and images continue to hold quite nightmarish proportions, and we have a fearful relationship with them, particularly those we receive from other people.

Instead of welcoming feeling as helpful information, we dread what feelings do to us. We dread the physical sensation of a feeling in our body. We don’t know how to receive and then process what is filling our senses; we are the ones who end up drowning.

So, the biggy: what do we do instead?

Here are my own thoughts on that. They are just my thoughts, and I make no claim that they are anything more than thoughts. Still, I hope they maybe have some use.

Supposing we were to do the following: we begin to process and transmute the energy we receive, rather than merely absorb it.

I would suggest that what the world needs, and I am talking spiritually here now, as well as emotionally and psychically, is not more “empaths,” but more “transmuters.”

I’m talking lightworker talk here.

We know, many of us, that everything is light, and that we are beings of light. We know that the only difference between one expression or manifestation of light and another is the frequency at which it vibrates.

Feelings are light energy vibrating. When we absorb, temporarily hold and process, and then re-release energy which has been soothed by our attention and empathic understanding, we change that energy’s vibration. And once you’ve discovered to bring calm attention to another’s out of control vibration, you can become amazingly effective at transmuting energy in that way.

It’s what tuned-in parents do, and what skillful therapists do.

It’s what empaths with muscle do when they have become lightworkers.

So, suppose we were to become what we were meant to be, what we came here to be: lightworkers who know their purpose. Lightworkers who transmute light vibrationally, who can take light that is vibrating at a low frequency and transmutes it into energy vibrating at the highest frequency possible: that of love. Exactly like the parent I described earlier soothing a distressed baby.

We might not have put it in those terms always, but that is what a lightworker does.

A lightworker is an empath with muscle.

In practice, that means we’d cease going around absorbing everyone’s unwanted emotion, and instead we’d start going round learning to tell what’s ours and what is not, and releasing what isn’t ours, with enormous love and understanding and compassion—with true empathy—to the Universe.

We would get smart, we would get knowing, we would become aware. We’d start noticing that feelings that belong to others have a different quality, bring shock and heat and are sudden. And that we can become practiced at knowing the difference.

We’d stop feeling fearful and start being loving instead. Radiating outward such love and compassion that any low vibrational energy with which we come into contact cannot fail to be transmuted into that same frequency of love.

Can you see what that could do? Can you catch the excitement of that? Can you see it? Can you see how a planet where loving souls were consciously transmuting energy they received, that others couldn’t deal with, but which they did know how to deal with, could become transformed?

We would no longer do it by accident, a bit hit and miss. We would do it consciously, in awareness, with purpose. And through that, we would bring enormous power to this planet, and we would keep the flow going.

This is the true gift of an empath, who has been transformed from an identifier into a lightworker.

We’ve served our apprenticeships. Now let’s show the world what we are made of!

@  Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket