Co-Piloting an Empath: Understanding
Whether it’s a packed movie theatre, store, or even familiar environment, being surrounded by a lot of people has an intense effect. Picking up on current moods and troubles, and receiving thoughts on those near me, is the majority of my experience while trying to go about my day. Depending on the setting, this can be completely unavoidable and unwelcome at times, which can throw me off my own focus (and sometimes put me in defence mode momentarily). As this is just the nature of how things can be for people like me, we find our own way to manage it.
Being a significant other to one that experiences this, it can sometimes be of help to understand these situations. If given the choice, I avoid crowded situations, but otherwise mentally prepare myself to focus on whatever experience I go for. More times than not, its usually routine tasks such as working and shopping that throw me through emotional roller coasters and potentially cause some anxiety – due to not being able to escape from the person/environment and not being able to directly deal with what I’ve picked up. Similar to picking up on one’s secrets, picking up on one’s judgments (towards others, and me) sometimes sets a tone that has me careful to get out of the situation as soon as possible.
When going out in public, I arm myself with some crystals and divine support so as to take everything on confidently. But even with my development and confidence, I still find I can only take so much… and need to find a retreat from a handful of certain situations. Having this happen while working can be challenging, but a lifelong lesson of mine is being able to adopt a face and mood and hang tight. Doing this in settings that don’t require my presence makes me wonder why I’m in that situation to begin with, and thus I don’t have the will or energy to pretend and get grumpy... sometimes backing out.
My hope in describing the experiences is to help others to try and understand what it’s like to be in our shoes. We can manage, and we’re usually not complaining about who we are, but we all have our limits and our days. Some days we just need to retreat into ourselves for self-care reasons, and sometimes we just have a lower limit than usual for being exposed to outside energies. On our own, this allows the rare occasion to unintentionally alienate oneself depending on the retreat taken (where we feel we needed to). If we have someone with us on the other hand, it could be a different story. Understanding friends can help in the forms of distraction (change the subject or the activity), or leading (us out of) the situation; given they are equipped, and willing, to do so for us. Our significant other, where available and willing, can be a great help.
Whether we tell you or not, the amount we pick up on when we go out with you on a simple outing can be vast – and you do catch a bit of it, if you look for it. Between observing our body language (when we tense up; when we suddenly look at someone with intent; when we look like we suddenly feel sick), and paying attention to muttered comments (“Really?!”, “Watch, this person’s gonna..”), you can get an idea by watching us in busy surroundings. Should you ever discover us in a frozen, or frantic, state then you should probably be aware of what that could mean. What causes this reaction in us can vary from person to person, but generally stems from feeling unsafe. It doesn’t necessarily mean something terrible is about to happen, but in some occasions, we do feel overwhelmed by the thought/person that caused it. In the rare instances that this really throws us off, having a supportive hand is appreciated.
It takes recognizing the messages, and disclosing your concerns (what situations you want personal support with) to determine how you and your partner would want to go about this. Personally (as an example:), my husband offers a form of comfort in the few occasions where we’re stuck standing in a large crowd of people – if I ever start to feel anxious (usually when waiting and/or in a line and everyone around me is frustrated), he’ll grab my hand and do his best to distract me with humour. At first, it was merely a sweet gesture that sometimes got off to a rocky start, but my appreciation of his offer/concern grew into a small “practice” of my own – I allow myself to be calmed by the comfort, and focus on him in intent of blocking everything else out… which helps! It is just an easy suggestion if I do say so myself, but you’ll know what best helps you in uncomfortable situations.
Not matter what though, understanding how it all works and effects you can be really insightful for your partner. I’m not just talking about in terms of understanding the effects, but in terms of how they see you as a person. Most of us hate to admit it as we’ve naturally put ourselves last for a good part of our lives, but because of our intuition, we carry heavy hearts. We care about the smallest issues, being able to see what difference each effort makes, and care about the world as a whole - whether it’s the environment, equality, justice and any problem we see as evil. As draining as it is to carry these thoughts as well as our own, we still believe things can be made better. Knowing most people would give up on certain things as opposed to having that thought, we can only hope to continue to be pure person every day – a trait not common!
Accompanied with what seems like odd new activities, some significant others may feel uncertain or even intimidated (if you’ve recently awakened). I personally found it helpful to explain the simple facts and philosophy behind my new practices, throwing in some light-heartedness by cracking jokes and using sci-fi metaphors. Even if this isn't something in belief of the other person, I've seen how it can help build a bridge over the gap of uncertainty. Making light of things, having open-book conversations, and being patient, helps create a better understanding; which can, sometimes, create a more solid relationship.
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