Learning to differentiate between emotions can be a challenge for the Empath. We all know we can feel them in those around us, but we don’t always grasp their meaning.
I often get asked questions like: ‘I don’t know how to define what I feel in another person,’ or ‘I can feel strong emotive sensations but I do not understand what they signify.’
Not understanding what others’ emotions represent is more common than you might think in the Empath world.
When I was younger, teens and twenties, I could not differentiate what emotion I was sensing in others. In fact, I didn’t realize I was feeling other people’s emotions/energy. I thought it was my own insecurity that made me uneasy with certain people. When someone had any hidden pain, negative energy, anger issues or inauthenticity, it all seemed much the same: uncomfortable. I felt the sensation of their emotions around the solar plexus area and the vibration was similar to a muted sense of dread or what a bad decision feels like. This energy would have a knock-on-effect on my body and mind; affecting my thoughts and the way I operated.
Before I knew or heard of the term “Empath” I was already working on myself: mind, body and spirit. When I started developing a spiritual practise and striving for balance, I began feeling other people’s energy/emotions more intensely. This became more unpleasant and all-consuming. It still hadn’t dawned on me that I was sensing the energy from those around me.
When I entered a public place, I immediately became aware of an overwhelming rush of emotional energy. Early on, I believed those emotions belonged to me, because they were so familiar. When you’ve felt other people’s emotions all your life, but not known it, it is normal to shape them to fit in with your fears and emotive responses.
Looking back to childhood I can now see I converted what I felt off others into fear. Fear was an emotion I was acquainted with as a child and this is how I unknowingly translated the emotional energy I picked up.
After much searching I eventually got my answers as to why I felt the way I did. Back then there was not much information available about Empaths. Luckily, I came across an interview with Judith Orloff, on the World Puja network. Instantly, I understood every aspect of myself that related to being an Empath; without her having to mention any more than feeling people’s emotions. But still, at this point I could not differentiate what I felt in others; I just identified the times it was happening.
Fast forward some years and the more I developed my intuition and life skills, the more I came to understand what I felt in others. I came to recognize the energy of an untruth and inauthenticity, insecurity, angst and grief. But although I became more adept at differentiating the subtleties between emotions and energy, I could not lay claim to knowing the cause behind the emotions. That would require deeper contemplation and is something I would only do if I had to.
The point I am making is: just by being an Empath does not mean we will understand the energy we feel off others or be able to interpret its meaning. But by developing our intuition, quietening our mind and striving for balance, it will go a long way to opening our awareness for reading emotional energy. It is not an overnight process. We have to put the work in if we want to understand what we sense.
[I must add at this point that Empaths also pick up on good vibrational energy off others. But when the energy feels good we tend not to focus on it or its origins.]
Other people’s energy can leave the Empath scratching their head and frustrated. Not knowing why others’ vibes rouse such unpleasant sensations can be confusing.
When we pick up emotional energy off others we often interpret it into the emotion we chiefly experience or what we most dislike…
It is common for people’s energy to stoke up anger within the Empath, and the other does not have to be experiencing this emotion for it to happen.
If you are one who does not like people in your “personal bubble” you will not welcome their emotional energy either. Other’s energy suddenly showing up, uninvited, in your energy field can feel invasive and claustrophobic. The energy we experience does not have to be negative to stir up negativity; being unsolicited is enough to ignite a torrent of disagreeable feelings.
Also, another reason anger is a typical response is because every human has had this emotion at some point. It is powerfully consuming and commonly suffered. When we sense dark energy in another our brain may interpret it as anger because it is a familiar negative reaction. We have not consciously chosen this response but the part of the brain responsible for triggering emotion has chosen it for us.
We all react to anger differently. Some will have an anger flare-up that quickly comes and goes; others may tend to stew for a while. Whether it has been incited by another or not, the duration of energy-activated-emotion will depend on your nature and reactivity.
An Empath will always feel other people’s emotions at some level. Depending where we are on our Empath journey will determine how we, or our brain, interprets or accepts them. It is possible to get a better understanding of what we feel if that is what we want, by working on ourselves. But it is important to note we should not punish ourselves or be ashamed if another person’s energy sparks a negative reaction within. As already pointed out, these reactions are mostly determined by our brain and not by personal choice.
When we work on ourselves, build our Empath awareness and take steps to re-balance, the way other people’s energy affects us changes in a big way. We come to accept emotional energy and it no longer controls or weakens us the way it did. But no matter how far you come in your self development, we are still human and we will all still have those days when another person’s emotional energy will fry our circuits.
Hope this helps give you a better understanding of how we experience other people’s energy.
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©Diane Kathrine at Empaths Empowered
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