If taking on other people’s emotions, energies, and even problems is your M.O, then keep reading. This Q&A with Spiritual Coach + Energy Healer Patricia Clum, explains how to keep your own emotional state clear and free of energetic debris. You know, the kind of stuff you pick up when you’re taking on other people’s stuff.
There are a lot of conversations happening lately about how to become more energetically grounded and energetically intuitive. If you’re a sensitive person, like we are, read on. This Q&A offers some great boundary-setting help you can start to apply right away.
Head + Heart: How would you define “Empath”?
Patricia Clum: The first thing to understand is that there are different layers of being an empath. When we’ve done our inner work, and healing, and we’re able to live more in our heart center, we become naturally empathic. We become more sensitive and aware of our environment, the people around us, and the movements in humanity.
Some people are born with a hypersensitivity towards ‘feeling’ others. If you’re able to easily feel the emotions of others, it’s likely that you fall into the category of Empath.
For example an empath may walk into a room feeling great but then someone walks into the same room with intense pain, and they immediately feel that pain and lose the joy they were feeling moments before.
When we’re sensitive, if we don’t have a model for how to navigate the intensity of feeling others, it can become overwhelming. What often happens is that empaths are labeled by others or themselves as too emotional or too sensitive and early on they develop coping mechanisms to try to shut down their “empathic”ness and be more ‘normal.’ The other “growing pain” of an empathic person, can be a conscious or unconscious belief that they are responsible for another’s pain, and that they must “carry” the pain. In fact the growth of an empathic person is the capacity to allow feelings and sensations to move through them, and to let go of the need to fix or save others.
I want to emphasize: empaths don’t need to shut down. The world needs empaths. Being empathic allows us to be the bridge because by holding space for the emotions and energies of others, without taking them on, we can be a force of transmuting painful energy into acceptance.
Being an empath brings many gifts. Once you acknowledge your gifts, you can learn how to self resource so that you don’t take on the emotions of others.
H + H: This is what we want to know how to do! So, how do you help people set energetic boundaries?
PC: First, you need to pay attention to and understand what’s moving through your own body, and then become aware of what’s moving in the room. Take time to recognize and acknowledge the emotions and energies of others, as separate from your own. The key is to acknowledge what’s come up in your body and the space around you. As you learn to do this, you’ll be clear enough to come back to your own center point.
This takes practice because in our human psyches we are usually running a lot of intellectual noise.
The key to doing this is to become strong in our center, and to learn to work, process and release emotional pain bodies.
H+H: Tell us more how you teach people not to take on draining energies.
PC: It’s common for an empath to walk into the room and feel a dense energy that’s already there. One practice I teach is to use your breath and ground, to feel your own connection to the earth and to your own body, and then begin to open up to your own inner divine connection to spirit/oneness.
It’s key for empaths to take care of themselves first and then come into their community. If we don’t self care (via nature walks, yoga, movement, or whatever fills you) then when we’re tired, stressed, or too much in our intellectual body, we’ll be more likely to let the energies of others stick to us, instead of flowing through us. By practising self care, you learn to let other people’s energies flow through.
This is a practice of allowance. When emotions or energies arise, don’t try to change or fix or solve them. As you practice allowing what’s arising, you’ll learn to be present in the midst of all the energy moving around.
One inquiry to work with is: Where can I take care of myself sooner so that I don’t have to collapse or isolate (cut yourself off from others) to recover?
H + H: Are Energy Vampires a thing?
PC: What I do believe is that there are people who refuse to be responsible for their own self healing and awareness. So they tend to lean out. When you’re empathic, you have a larger radius of high frequency energy flowing from you, so when someone believes they are NOT empowered, they are attracted towards the one who is grounded and radiant in their own being. The term ‘vampire’ isn’t always accurate because nobody can take your energy unless you allow them to.
At the same time, when people lean into you, with a refusal to do their own work, it becomes trespassing. When you’ve been trespassed in your own being, you can feel it. When you walk away, and know that an encounter didn’t feel right, this type of draining experience can bring you closer to setting the boundaries of self care. An inquiry to work with here: What in me allowed that to happen? This one will help you know where not to open a similar door in the future.
Empathic people tend to hold their breath, and hide their feelings to avoid being overwhelmed. I’ll leave you with these practices to help empaths stay more energetically clear:
- Breath deeply and fully. Give yourself permission to balance out your energetic system. Consider a daily breathing practice.
- Walk for at least 40 minutes in nature or give yourself the opportunity for other types of movement as much as possible.
- Morning journaling: When you wake up, immediately write down what you notice, and pay attention to the communication from your own being to your body. What are you feeling, what’s coming up? Acknowledgment of your emotions is really important.
- Pay attention to the quality of food you’re eating and what your body needs.
If you’re looking for help setting energetic boundaries or desire energetic or emotional support, we highly recommend Patricia’s 1:1 sessions and programs. She’s just launched a program for called The Becoming to help women connect with their divinity that is ideal for those wanting to dive into their spiritual growth in community. Follow her on Instagram.