Do you feel sadness in your heart when you see a child crying, a homeless person or an abandoned puppy? That makes you an empath– and a human. In this episode, I share my opinion that we are ALL empaths, not just some of us, and the closing of our hearts is what has led to us feeling lonely, disconnected and isolated. Tune in.
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Episode 165 – How To Handle Being an Empath with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast. A place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. And before we get started, check out these brands that make “Highest Self” podcast possible.
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I was just watching a movie, and I was watching this guy cry on the screen, and instantly this feeling of sadness came over me. And though I wasn’t even paying attention to the whole synapsis of the movie and what it was about, just seeing that guy in a state of sadness made me feel super sad. And it made me realize how with my spiritual growth I’ve become more of an empath. And a lot of us hear this word empathy, especially in the spiritual community, it’s a very buzz word, we say, “Oh, are you an empath or are you not?” As if it’s this thing that some of us are born with and some of us aren’t.
And there are books like “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” which is an awesome book, but it makes it seem like you’re either this empath that’s totally unable to decipher between your emotions and other people’s, or you are a stone cold bitch. And I have an opinion that is different than the customary opinion, and that is that I don’t believe that some people are naturally born empaths. I don’t believe that that’s something that you’re either born with or not. I don’t believe there’s like a gene that says, “You’re gonna feel other people’s emotions, and you’re totally not.” I believe that we are all naturally born empaths.
You see, empathy is our natural state of being. We are designed to feel the emotions of others. We are interconnected communal beings that have always lived in tribes. And the idea that we are individuals is actually very, very new, and not totally based in the truth. I was just sitting with my friend Teal Swan, interviewing her for “Highest Self” podcast, and she gave a really great analogy that when a deer is born, within hours that deer can walk, graze, and essentially live on its own. But as humans, we require, you know, in our society it’s 18 years, but let’s say it’s at least 12 years of being raised by someone else. So that shows that we were designed to depend on each other. We need to feel the support of other people, we cannot isolate ourselves because isolation results in loneliness, and loneliness is the cause of most suffering in this day and age.
So we were meant to be empaths, but the thing is, most of us have become desensitized. We’ve let go of our ability to tune into the feelings of others simply because it’s jus too painful to. You see, before there was just our tribe, we had our people around us, our friends, our family, and we could handle, you know, our sister over here is dealing with the grief of losing her husband, or our mother over there is getting old, and we’re dealing with that. It’s people that we know, and I mean we only knew several dozen people at max when we lived in tribes.
However, now, we are exposed to the entire planet’s sadness, grief, anguish, poverty, wars, chaos, violence. It’s like our heart can’t handle all that is happening in this world. I mean, every time you open up your Facebook, which is essentially where most of us get our news these days. It’s like a school shooting, a massacre, another country’s been invaded, this person’s rights were taken away, #MeToo movement, there’s always something. And it can be unbearable, especially when you’re someone that feels things.
And we’re all people that feel things, the only difference is most of us, as children, consciously decided to build up walls to protect our hearts. These walls were necessary for survival. It is simply too much to deal with the pain that we are exposed to. So we’ve built up these walls to essentially separate ourselves from others around us, and that takes us away from the truth that is oneness, that we are all interconnected.
So when we’ve built these walls to protect our hearts, at the same time, they’ve prevented us from truly connecting to other people. It’s impossible to really connect with someone when you’re not willing to feel them. When someone’s sitting in front of you, and just the littlest movement you can tell there’s some grief, there’s some sadness, there’s something there. But you don’t want to go there cause it’s just too much, you’re creating a wall of separation.
And we’ve all been there, we’ve all noticed, you know, a friend or someone who clearly is having a rough day, and sometimes we don’t ask, we don’t want to go there because we feel like if we really go there, we’re not going to be able to carry the burden of getting out. So we’d rather keep a tree’s leg distance, a tree branch’s distance, you know, some space, a buffer. Because if you’re over here and you feel sad, if I create this buffer between you and I, then I can remain good over here. But really, I end up going down to where you are because I’m disassociated with the world around me.
So what we need is not just to open up our hearts, but rather a balance. We need to be able to open up our hearts to truly feel another person’s emotions, but also have that awareness to separate them from our own. Because the reason why there are books like “The Empath’s Survival Guide” are because when you don’t have those boundaries, when you don’t have that awareness to separate what’s going on in your state with someone else’s, things become really blurry and we’re exposed to too many different sets of emotions, different sets of tragedies, lifestyles, et ceteras to be able to hold it all ourselves.
And that’s when the kapha imbalance builds. The kapha is the earth energy, the earth dosha, which is heaviness, it’s the sturdiness of the earth. And people who have a lot of kapha, they’re natural-born empaths, they can really feel people, hold space for people. But the shadow side is they’re holding so much space, letting that person cry in their arms that sometimes it’s hard for them to step into the light. They can get so deep into the despair that they’re the most likely to become depressed.
So it’s really important for us to also be able to hold our own because we can’t really operate in this society as this totally opened beam of light. I remember when I left Bali after living there for several months and really immersing myself with Malaika, studying shamanism with her, and living in the jungle for a while. And I remember I came back from the airport and I was singing, and I forgot my carry-on bag on the plane, and I had to like go back and pick up my carry-on bag. And I was like, “Oh, it’s okay,” I’m singing, and I’m like, you know, in this jolly vibe. And like really quickly I realized I can’t stay here and be in this surrounding, it’s too much. In Bali, where I’m surrounded by other people who are also singing, and ecstatic dancing, it’s really easy for me to remain here, but not in Boston, where people are honking, and you know, it’s very individualistic.
So I quickly learned I have to adapt to being where I am. It’s gonna be too much for me to stay in this open-hearted space. In fact, what could happen is I could get taken advantage of. So I had to consciously close my heart, which is a very difficult thing to do. But I was still allowing myself the opportunity to have totally heart immersive experiences. So ecstatic dance is a really big one that has really changed my life for the better, and that’s a space where you go, they have them all around the world that you can go. There’s one rule, which is no talking, and everyone just dances. And not just dances like they’re at a club, like cathartic movement. I mean sometimes it’s not even dance moves, you’re shaking, you’re flailing your arms, you’re crying, anything is coming through.
So I would go to the Boston ecstatic dance, which had like four other people in it, and just allow myself that space to be totally open-hearted, or at a yoga studio, or at some sort of event that had that safe space for me to be there. And then I knew once I was on the street, and you know, people are honking at me, or whatever’s happening, that I can’t take it so personally. I can’t start crying every time I see a homeless person. I have to be able to adjust to this world.
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Now most of us are coming from that opposite spectrum, which is we’ve so adjusted to this role that we don’t even know what it’s like to be open-hearted anymore. Especially if you live in a big city like New York or Chicago, Boston as well, it’s almost like if you make eye contact with someone a little too long, you’re really creepy. So you’re taught to just, you know, stay in your own bubble, to not connect with others, that you’re gonna get unsolicited attention if you connect with other people. That people are gonna think you’re flirting with them, or hitting on them if you look at them for too long. So you shut yourself off.
I remember going back to India where you very much cannot make eye contact with people, they think you like them. That suddenly in Bali where I’m like eye gazing with everyone, in India I’m like staring at the ground, trying to make no one look at me with like a shawl on my head, trying to be totally separated from those outside of me. Because frankly, it’s not safe to be in this totally open-hearted space, so I understand where it comes from, but the other side of it is that, you know, we become like those stereotypical New Yorkers who are maybe a little bit cold, a little bit insensitive, they say things that aren’t posed in the nicest way, and we don’t want to be like that either.
So as we’re moving into this multi-dimensional paradigm, which I speak about a lot on this podcast, but essentially that’s moving to the 5D, moving to the ability to use our intuition as one of our essential senses. So right now we have been in the 3D paradigm, which is very like survival-based, you have to see it to believe it, you need scientific information that’s very analytical. That now we’re moving through the fourth dimension into the fifth dimension, which is much more energetic, much more intuitive, feeling-based, allowing yourself to receive information. And knowing that science actually is spirit, and there’s no separation between the two, and that things that we consider science were once considered crazy.
Such as, electricity, people would have thought you were a witch to even talk about there’s some spark that’s gonna light up our room. They would have thought you’re crazy, or laser beams, or infrared. Those things we didn’t even know existed, and now we know our common science. So we’re seeing that science is ever-changing, even things that we consider facts are ever-changing. Even things that we learn in history textbooks we’re now gaining deeper truth and deeper insight.
So moving into the fifth dimensional is letting go of this need to control and to understand, and to formulate, and allowing energy and emotional fluency to come through. So the 5D is going to require us to be able to sit with our emotions—whether they are light or whether they are dark. So these emotions may be ecstatic joy, pleasure, which a lot of us can’t even cope with, we feel guilty about having, or they can be really dark. I’m feeling pointless, I don’t even know why I’m here, because we all have that spectrum of emotions.
So to be willing to sit with it, not take an anxiety medication, not take an anti-depressant, not smoke some weed, not have a drink, not do whatever it is you’re doing to cope with your emotional state, but to sit with it, to recognize its roots, dissect its triggers, to ask what is your origin story? And guys, that requires going into some murky water. It’s gonna require going into experiences in your childhood you may never have wanted to think about again, that you may not even consciously be aware of.
Things that have been embedded into your body that are causing you to behave a certain way. That again, is in your subconscious living somatically in your system, changing your conscious actions. That’s why the body work is essential for this, and embodiment is the yoga and spirituality of the new paradigm. Embodiment is going to be side-by-side with these.
So this is our ability to not run away from our emotions, not even phone a friend, to sit with it. To say, “Who are you? Why are you here? What are you trying to teach me?” And it’s only then when you can sit with your emotions that you can sit with the emotions of others and not be overcome by their heaviness, but see that theirs too are just as temporary. Because really, all emotions are fleeting, you cannot fully experience an emotion for more than 90 seconds.
So most of us, we feel sad, or depressed, or anxious our whole lives, but if we took 90 seconds to fully feel it, to fully go into what it is that is causing that, and maybe that is terror, maybe that is anguish, maybe that’s gonna make you scream, and cry, and yell, and go into some really dark, creepy, shit. But if you can go into that for 90 seconds, then you can see that underneath that emotion is just another emotion, underneath that anger is just sadness, underneath that sadness is just fear, underneath that fear is just loneliness.
It’s the spiral, it’s this onion, and underneath that loneliness is just a desire for a connection. And underneath that desire for connection is an opportunity for connection, and that opportunity for connection is an opportunity for joy. And that opportunity for joy is an opportunity for union. And that opportunity for union is an opportunity for tribe, and then we move into the light.
So really the darkness and the light are not separate, they’re interconnected. When you go deep into the darkness you come out into the light, and you go really deep into the light you come into the darkness. This is why the yin and the yang are connected. When you go into the yang you find the yin, you go into the yin, you find the yang. They are always connected, this is tantra—tantra.
So again, we must sit with our own emotions and not be overcome by their heaviness. So we can see that they are just temporary, as are the emotions of others. Because the way that we’ve been coping with it, escaping from other people’s emotions has only left us dry, parched, yearning for emotional intimacy. And that emotional intimacy, guys, it’s not just in romantic partnership.
We are so craving emotional intimacy from everyone that we meet. What would it look like if your relationship with your colleagues had, you know, a little bit of personality in it. You really knew what is it that they’re going through, you really saw them as the multi-dimensional being that they were, not just what do they bring to the table. Imagine with all of your friendships, it’s not just that friend you, you know, go out to the bar to, but you really sit with that person. You know, you see what is underneath us all.
We are so parched for emotional intimacy, and that is why we go straight after sexual intimacy because it’s the closest thing that we know. It’s the only time that we feel that we can be vulnerable, naked, with someone else. But if we can allow ourselves, and sometimes it takes us being that first person to open the door to say, “Hey, this is how I feel right now.” And you know what, that person may meet you there, and that person may be afraid to because they haven’t met themselves there, and that in no way is a reflection of you, but only a reflection of them.
And I think most of us at some point in our lives have tried to vocalize what we need from someone, and that person has not been able to meet us there, that person has maybe brushed us off, and then that’s made us feel like it’s unsafe to speak our emotions so we cut ourselves of. But really, just that person hadn’t gone there, or maybe that person did not have the ability to hold that kind of space for you. And that doesn’t mean that someone else won’t, but it also should not prevent you from speaking your truth, and speaking your truth, guys, also has an art to it. I’m not telling you to like go up to a total stranger or someone that you have like no connection to at all and to tell your deepest darkest emotions, unless it is some sort of process where you’re doing that.
What I’m advising you is for the relationships that you already have to become more emotionally fluid, to not just talk about the same things, and you know, “Oh, how are the sports doing? What movie is? What about this TV show?” Like that’s cool, but also say, like, “How do you really feel?” And just that there allows us to meet ourselves at a deeper level. And then we don’t feel like we’re these helpless empaths that the moment someone says something emotional to us we just can’t handle it. We’re able to navigate the world of emotions. We’re able to see, “Oh yeah, I really can feel that you feel sad. I really can feel that your heart is broken. I can feel that for you. I remember when I felt that too.” And know that that person is feeling that temporarily, and you’re feeling that temporarily, and that there’s always light in the dark. So really, you guys, it’s time for us to upgrade our capacity to hold space for others and for ourselves, and this is the path for all of our evolvements.
So I would love if you shared with me how do you handle being empathic in today’s world? What is that like for you? Do you consider yourself an empath? Did you consider yourself one before this episode? How is your ability to hold space for others? So come and join me in the “Mind Body Balancers” Facebook group. This is my free, open Facebook group for all podcast listeners. You can just go on Facebook, look up “Mind Body Balancers,” it says, “Highest Self Podcast group.” Join the group, join the discussion, would love to connect with you all.
And if you loved this episode, I would love to share with you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type,” which is different from my book, “Eat Feel Fresh.” It is my unreleased, never to be released book because it is now part of my “Eat Right For Your Mind body Type” Program, I would love to send it to you absolutely free. All you gotta do is leave me a review in the iTunes store, take a screenshot, and email it over to me at [email protected]. Again, take a screenshot of the review and email it to me at [email protected] and I will send you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.” Namaste.