Have you ever thought of a friend, and suddenly the phone rings and it’s them? Have you ever gotten the impression that someone you know is pregnant and received news not long after that she is, in fact, expecting? Do your friends call you the cat (or dog, horse, etc.) whisperer because, wherever you go, that animal seems to be attracted to you and calm in your presence? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, there’s a good chance you are a highly sensitive person—an empath.
An empath is someone who responds to the energies around them—both positive and negative—more acutely than others. As Judith Orloff, MD, explains in her book, The Empath’s Survival Guide, research has shown that “high sensitivity affects approximately 20 percent of the population, though the degree of one’s sensitivity can vary.” Interestingly, the type of sensitivity and how it manifests can vary as well. There are physical empaths, emotional empaths, and intuitive empaths, and within those classifications, there are even more subcategories. The following examples will be familiar to intuitive empaths, who have heightened intuition and may experience messages in dreams, through animal and/or plant communication, communication with the other side, and/or telepathy.
Telepathic empaths are intuitive empaths that fall under the telepathic title. They have such sensitive intuition that they get impressions of other people’s thoughts, feelings, and states of being in real time. For example, you might sense when someone you love is sick or has gotten bad news because you feel a wave of sadness or negativity and think of that person—even if they are thousands of miles away. Or perhaps you find yourself nearly euphoric, and a few minutes later, you get the fantastic news you’ve been hoping for. Once you understand your superpower, you’ll learn to recognize it more easily and, hopefully, feel more comfortable embracing your elevated perceptions. However, it can also be overwhelming, as consistently taking in what those around you are feeling means absorbing a lot of negative along with the positive.
Protection Strategy: One good way of protecting yourself from this “intuitive overload,” as Dr. Orloff calls it, is to develop a witness state. This means recognizing when you are tuning into others’ feelings and responses (not experiencing your own feelings) and then simply observing. Remember, it is not your duty to process other people’s emotions and reactions. It is a sacred duty in itself to simply bear witness.
Dream empaths receive messages and impressions concerning their own and others’ lives, emotions, and events that are in the present or the future, making their intuitions both telepathic and precognitive. Regardless of whether the communications you receive are typically about the present or the future, it’s common to feel comfortable in the dream state and as if sleep nourishes you—even more than most people feel sleep nourishes them. You are in a sacred place in the dream world, and it can feel more comfortable than the material world—or at least like a restorative break from it.
Protection Strategy: People who are dream empaths don’t typically report feeling threatened in dreams—though they will still have nightmares, like any other person, and can use those to work through difficult emotions—but this does not preclude them from feeling emotionally drained at times from the sheer amount of emotion they end up dealing with, both in dreams and once awake. One good strategy for combatting this can be to simply visualize light. By picturing pure white light flowing into the crown of your head and darkness flowing out through the bottom of your feet, you can reduce overwhelming feelings by circulating positive energy and releasing the negative.
The double-edged sword of being an intuitive empath is that the more aware you are of your sensitivities, the more open you are to them. This is amazing in the truest sense of the word, as it means you can receive impressions and guidance from nonlinear realms, but it also means you are more susceptible to emotional overwhelm and the negative impressions that can accompany those messages. It’s important to arm yourself with protection strategies as well as tools that will help you safely delve deeper into your empathic acuity.
The above categories and protection strategies are outlined in Dr. Judith Orloff’s book, The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. In it, definitions of the different kinds of empaths, as well as more strategies on protecting yourself and evolving your specific empathic perceptivity, can be explored.
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