How to Inspire Intellectuals, Insensitives & Knuckleheads to Grow Empathy

grow empathy
Some folks are not tapped into reality. A Shutterstock Licensed Image

As a hyper-sensitive person (in a good way), I sometimes struggle when I’m in intimate relationships with brainiacs, tough-guys, robots, and those who place feelings on the bottom shelf. If I’m not careful, I can become quite the whiny little needy weenie. Or an unreasonable, self-righteous dick. This article is for how to grow empathy.

I’m hitting this one hard because I’m done with the pattern.

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Now, instead of succumbing to a victim-mind, when I sense the other person is demonstrating an “under-empathy”, I educate them, doubling-down on compassion, with the hope that a tiny percentage will trickle into the heart of the other person. This method is working!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you might be one of those folks I’ve struggled with in the past. Or you might be an empath who bumps into the same walls and repeats the same responses. Either way, people who do not understand the value of empathy are challenging, right?

Here’s an example of a dialogue that, formerly, would have crushed my spirit and rendered me lethargic and wing-clipped for weeks:

During a lovely hike with a friend:

Paul: I feel deeply connected to these beautiful trees. And there’s such light and sweetness in the air! Can you feel it?!

Brainiac-Robot: Um, nope. You hungry?

While there’s no harm in her response, my desire to be understood, and to have a mutual experience with the other person is what has most often tripped me up.

I used to feel justified in my hurt feelings because “isn’t being more open and loving and magical what it’s all about?” Um, no. It’s about respecting that the universe is complex and it has a wide variety of intertwined agendas and aspects in play.

I used to respond to these types of disconnects by saying things like, “Well, can’t you just try to have some empathy here? I mean, aren’t I worth it?” But that’s a form of manipulation and oppression, which is what weak, uncreative, controlling people conjure when they feel out of control and without power.

Let’s face it. It’s downright silly for me to expect someone else to have the exact same perspectives and experiences as me. Even if I feel disappointed, it’s unreasonable for me to expect another person to be empathic. Who knows what they’re going through. Who knows what value the universe places on their gifts.

My job is to have empathy for myself and creation, but that’s not everybody’s job. I just feel better when I’m being empathic. I feel better when I let my heart pour out to others. I more whole when I live this way. This way of living is not meant for everyone.

Empathy is different from compassion. Empathy is embodying the other person’s feelings. Tasting them and finding ways to improve them. Compassion is being aware (and respectful) when someone is in pain. Compassion has better boundaries.

My new approach has inspired me to change my egoistic responses. For example, instead of expecting someone to feel the tree’s heartbeat like I do, now I say, “Hold my hand and let’s touch this tree together. Imagine the tree breathing and singing. Maybe we can both open our hearts together and share a moment of love with the tree. Just a tiny moment!”

This approach is effective because I’m empathizing with the other person rather than judging them or demanding that they “get me” upon every new-age whimper that comes out of my mouth. If they reject the offer, at least I arrived at empathy, rather than reaction.

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Clearly, just because I feel connected to every green, fluffy pile of moss, every gnome spirit and light-orb, and the multitudes of crackling twigs in all the universes, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only conscious way to live. Other people might be more focused on the things that I tend to miss, for example, forgetting to lock the car or “HOLY CRAP! THAT’S A BEAR! RUN!”

A recent exchange:

Paul: I was working with a client this morning and I could feel their pain from early childhood trauma. It was overwhelming, yet it was such an honor. We walked through it together. Do you know what I mean?

Brain-Robot: Dude, I’m not set-up for this kinda conversation.

Paul: Cool. You hungry?

Maybe I’m evolving. Then again, let’s not jump to conclusions.

Empath Self Care and Protection

Self-Care and Protection

Empaths often require better self-care and self-protection. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

An Empath is a highly sensitive person, often referred to as HSP, but the HSP label is not entirely correct. HSPs are sensitive to light, sound, experiences, and emotions, while Empaths will embody the emotions, experiences, and relational energy of others. This means that Empaths not only feel what you are feeling, but often have intel on how you can untangle your mess and improve your life. When Empaths heal themselves and get beyond their egos, they can become emotional superheroes.​

Many Empaths must learn how to set clear boundaries with family members and friends. They have to adopt practices, habits, and rituals that help them clear the emotional debris they often collect through everyday experiences. Empaths are big-hearted, intuitive sponges. It’s not complicated; if you feel it, they feel it.​

Because Empaths tend to live with one foot other realms, they sometimes find it difficult living in the real world. To be grounded and happy, Empaths often need:

  • Time to consider, embrace and integrate personal and work relationships
  • Healthy food and helpful supplements
  • Meditation and prayer
  • Leisure activities that don’t involve crowds. For example, most Empaths might avoid shopping at Walmart and wild parties on the 4th of July.

Empaths need space and solitude to allow for careful introspection. Empaths also need to regularly express their emotions, which is most often, sadness. If you’re an Empath, you might be shy, spiritually inclined, a lover of solitude, and clairvoyant. You might also love to write, paint, sculpt or dance more than most artists. The fiercest Empaths will cut a relationship cord in the blink of an eye.​

If you’re like me, you might be so sensitive and attuned to other people’s emotions and lives, you sometimes experience temporary, physical manifestations of other people’s pain and trauma. This, too, shall pass.

When you finally come to terms with being an Empath, life tends to invite some dramatic, yet overall positive changes. You begin to set better boundaries. You learn what is right for you and what is hurtful. You learn what types of people diminish your quality of life, and you learn how to maneuver through society without losing hope.​

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Empaths hoping to become spiritual warriors can process the emotions and experiences of everybody around them at such a rate, they can burn through lifetimes of karma in one thrust of emotional expression.

To help me in this process emotions, I watch movies that center around love, complex and deep relationships, and oppression. Because an Empath will naturally embody the feelings of the main characters in movies, I’ll cry from beginning to end. As strange as that might sound, doing so, I shed lots of emotional and psychological debris, and up-level my vibration and awareness. In every instance, crying produces indescribable feelings of freedom.

How to Protect Yourself

​If you’re an Empath, you most likely have one or two unique gifts. You can use them to serve yourself and those you love, or you can share your gifts with the world. Whether you’re a full-time psychic or healer, or you just want to keep yourself whole and happy, here are a few tips that might help you:

  • Seek ways to nurture your heart every day.
  • Keep things simple in relationships, work, and life in general.
  • Eat less meat, and only if it’s organic.
  • Eat only pasture-raised, non-GMO, happy eggs.
  • Eat lots of organic, non-GMO vegetables.
  • Eat spoonfuls of pure sunlight powder like Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley grass, Wheatgrass, and Moringa
  • Be decisive so that you have flow in your life.
  • Let go of the people and things that consistently burn you or trip you up.
  • Be less impulsive so that you can better serve and heal yourself. If you’re not whole, it’s difficult to help others do the same.
  • Don’t let solitude swallow you whole. Step into the light, often!
  • Don’t allow another person’s momentum or conviction sway you from your truth and peacefulness.
  • When in the throes of conflict, don’t allow yourself to be manipulated or coerced into becoming someone you are not.
  • If you’ve absorbed another person’s energy, dance around the room and try to release it through prayerful movement.
  • Don’t take on too many projects, tasks, or relationships at once. If you have too many pockets of energy swirling around you, you might become confused.
  • Learn to continually love yourself, even amid the worst mistakes and challenges. When you fall short of this, always try to nudge yourself back to self-love.
  • To become resilient, turn to nature, meditation, prayer, and rituals.
  • Stay away from people who tell you that you’re too sensitive. They will never fully understand you, and they might fail you at vital junctures in your life.
  • Be a little less generous, especially when you know your energy is depleted.
  • Seek love and adventures with people who honor your role as an Empath.
  • Set firm boundaries with the people who believe that Empaths and other sensitives are weak.
  • Confide in at least one loving, caring person every day.
  • Dig a little deeper into your faith by seeking the most love-based and light-filled aspects within your religion and spiritual practices.
  • Watch movies that make you feel love and provoke your tears.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for affection when you need it.
  • Spend lots of time in the water. Whether it’s hot baths, cold showers, lakes, streams or oceans, Empaths tend to revitalize around water.
  • See your heart as a beautiful, fragile, and powerful light-being. Love and protect your heart, and seek to express the feelings that live there.

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Remember that you are a bundle of electricity, a complex vibration, a spark born from the eternal consciousness’s love of life. Even amid the worst circumstances, be open to the possibilities, embody hope, and seek light and love. These things are your birthright.​

The world needs healthy, positive Empaths. If you’re so inclined, you can make a living as an intuitive reader, healer, or psychic. With more healers and Empaths serving creation, our planet stands the best chance of infusing itself with light and love.

I love being an Intuitive-Empath and serving others. Over time, I learned to exit stifling situations and protect myself. I also learned to stop apologizing for my gifts. Now, I can wholeheartedly be myself without judgment. I hope you can, too.

In all things, dig deeply to find your clarity, express your emotions, and honor what you know to be true. Being an Empath is a wonderful thing.

Empaths: Intuitive, Emotional Warriors

Emotional

Empaths can be warriors – if they choose. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

As an open-hearted and whimsical little boy, I wish this question had dawned on me sooner, “What is an Empath?” Given all the experiences that sensitive children tend to endure, I wish someone had taught me about my nature during childhood, instead of plopping it into my lap when I was a meandering adult. My boyhood battles were hard fought and rarely won. The lessons throughout the years seemed to point to one thing: I had no idea I was an Empath.

Are You An Empath?

I remember the day someone asked me that question. I was 30 years old, sitting on a beach in California, holding a friend’s hand. I felt so badly for her broken heart that I cried with her. When she asked me that very potent question, my tears turned inward, where I immediately found a beautiful and profound clarity. At that moment, I knew I was an Empath. I was free.

In the years to come, I could not only feel the feelings of others; I could see the possible trajectories in their lives. On several occasions, I took on my client’s physical attributes, including the temporary appearance of track marks on my arms when doing a session for a former heroin addict.

Yes, being an Empath can be intense.

Check out Paul’s EMPATH OATH.

What Is A True Empath?

Over the years, I’ve seen the definition of Empath morph. It used to refer to being able to imagine feeling what other people are feeling. It grew from there to reference people who are deeply and actively compassionate, and in the face of danger or drama, can readily extend warmth and kindness to those in need.

As factions of society became more conscious, the definition of an Empath narrowed and crystalized. It’s clear now. An Empath is someone uniquely open and highly sensitive, to the point of being able to embody and process the emotions that someone else is experiencing. It turns out that Empathy is the older, wiser brother to compassion.

Not only do Empaths grow and heal by processing the emotions of other people, but they can also learn to be inspiring advisors and powerful healers. They can build schools of thought and heal nations. Nelson Mandela was an Empath.

What Does It Mean To Be An Empath?

If you can feel, from head to toe, what others are feeling when they are having a tough day, you might be an Empath. If you feel overwhelmed and personally afflicted when someone else is hurt or broken, there’s a good chance you’re an Empath.

It all starts with a traumatic event for another person and the immediate feeling of being completely overwhelmed, yet unable to describe it. Somehow your voice is shackled, and your energy is restricted. You don’t feel depleted, but you feel limited, maybe oppressed. As your mind fails to land on a clear thought, deep in your heart, you realize something’s wrong. But, what is it?

At first, you try meditation, exercise, therapy, dance, essential oils, crystals, herbs, jogging, sex, tantra, mountaineering and adventure travel, plus every other modality that might help you shed inhibition or come back to life. While some of these things help you find yourself again some of the time, most of them don’t work most of the time. Empaths tend to spend 50-70% of their lives somewhat emotionally restricted, confused, or depressed.

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While most now agree that an Empath is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) who feels and absorbs what other people are feeling, there are different degrees of Empathic abilities.

Some Empaths can feel what an object is carrying, and possibly the energy of the person who once held it. The most intensely intuitive Empaths not only feel emotions and energy from most of the people in a room, but they also feel the residual energy and can intuit the personal circumstances surrounding the people who recently inhabited that room. Some Empaths are downright spooky. I’m one of those Empaths, and I love it.

Types Of Empaths

As you can tell, there are varying levels of Empaths. Some can carry collected energy their entire lives, without ever being able to relinquish it. The reason that an Empath might be stuck in this way is that they never learned how to set boundaries, release collected energies, and reinvigorate themselves. This points to one painful fact: most Empaths have no idea how to care for themselves.

An Empath doesn’t have to be a professional clairvoyant, intuitive reader, or life coach. Some Empaths are artists, politicians, or teachers. You can even find Empaths in the military.

We tend to be bright, compassionate, and proactive, although there is also a slight tendency to over-dramatize emotional situations and events. Empaths are not perfect; we’re just open-hearted and absorbent.

Empath Traits

You might be an Emotional, Medical, Intellectual, or Spiritual Empath. Regardless, the traits of an Empath can vary. Here is a list of potential characteristics, according to the newly emerging category of Empath psychology:

  • Often considered a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
  • Materially, energetically and spiritually generous
  • Absorbent to the point of having to shed the emotions collected from others
  • Highly intuitive, telepathic or clairvoyant
  • Sleep is filled with potent dreams that are easily remembered and interpreted
  • Appear to be slightly sad or depressed, more than most
  • Come off as mystical or spiritual
  • Tend to be shy, introverted or avoidant of conversation
  • Able to heal others of physical, intellectual and emotional challenges
  • Easily manipulated or coerced
  • Easily overwhelmed
  • Can quickly become the dumpster for every else’s negativity
  • Energy can be rapidly drained
  • Equally helpful to friends and strangers
  • Often feel better in solitude
  • Feel as though they can deeply and genuinely relate with trees, plants, and animals as if they are kin to human beings
  • Able to pick up the disease and physical symptoms of the sick
  • Able to quickly parse the emotions and thoughts of others
  • Attractive to narcissists and energy vampires
  • Attuned to the moment someone is lies
  • Tend to give far more than is required or necessary
  • Tend to have a tipping point where the individual cuts cords with others
  • Might temporarily hate themselves, and as a result, get stuck for a while
  • Might be seen as a doormat or sucker
  • Sensitive to smells, sounds, and tastes to the point of being immobilized
  • Feel full of love and light when they are surrounded by nature
  • Feel replenished during thunderstorms and snowstorms
  • Shocked by event crowds, cocktail parties, and busy department stores
  • Loves to write, paint, sculpt, color, dance or play music

Empath And Narcissist Romances

If you’re an Empath, you’ve probably spent some time in a relationship with an extremely needy person or a narcissist. The Empath-narcissist pairing is alluring because the Empath is always absorbing something palpable from the emotion-addicted narcissist. With their hearts full of light and love, this can be exciting or energizing for an Empath.

With each projection that extends from the vampire-like partner, the Empath will find ways to reflect healthier versions of the projection, with the hope he or she might save the narcissist from yet one more drastic rise or fall.

It’s the Empaths throughout the world that tend to act as the psychic receptacles of emotional and dramatic events. Yes, Empaths can save the universe.

Are Empaths Real?

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Once in a while, I bump into people who reject the notion that Empaths are different from others. They say things like, “You’re too sensitive” or “Why do you choose to feel that way.” As an Empath, you eventually learn to tolerate these statements, without reacting to them. I will often respond, “If I wasn’t feeling things so deeply, I might never have seen your immense value.” Or “If I wasn’t truly Empathic, how could I have seen that subtle event that broke your heart and told you what it felt like.”

It’s an honor to be an Empath, yet it takes time to learn how to maneuver through all the emotional and energetic fascia throughout the environments and relationships that we encounter.

Famous Empaths

There are millions of Empaths around the world. If you’re on the Meyers-Briggs scale as an INFP or INFJ, you might be one, too.

Here is a list of a few of the more popular Empaths throughout history. There are many more.

Look around at your family and friends. Chances are that 10% of them are empathic in some way. Be gentle with these folks and nurture these relationships. At some point in the future, you might need a deeply loving friend to come to your rescue.

Check out Paul’s EMPATH OATH.