Energy doesn’t communicate in English, French, Chinese or Swahili, but it does speak clearly. ~ Elaine Seiler
I find it a tiny bit amusing that so many people are claiming to be “empaths” these days as if it were something unique and special. I actually believe that we’re all empaths, to one degree or another. An empath is simply someone who reads the energy of others, and every single one of us does that, whether we’re conscious of it or not. It’s quite literally our mother tongue: the way we communicated and understood the world as small children.
Of course, some people are more fluent in the language of energy and use it more purposefully, but that’s just a function of awareness and practice. (And there are also cautions that come with greater fluency – see below.) We can all become more conscious speakers of the language, and it starts with the energy we ourselves project.
I used to imagine that if I didn’t speak my thoughts out loud, no one would be aware of them. I’ve since come to realize that my energy is broadcasting loudly and clearly, even when I say nothing. If you ever have a chance to do equine coaching with a horse, you’ll have a clear demonstration of this (read about my experience in this blog post). Horses, as prey animals, are exquisitely sensitive to energy and will always mirror back to you the energy you put out. Any form of pretence or mixed signals (when you think one way but act another) is “read” as untrustworthy by them, and they will steer clear.
How do they do this? How do we know when someone is angry, even when they say that everything is “just fine?” Or how do we pick up so easily on an inauthentic acting performance in a movie? On a practical level, I think it’s a combination of subtle body language and facial micro-expressions that are beyond our conscious control. On the level of “woo” – well, we are all made up of energy. Energy is what our more conventional senses read: light energy for vision, sonic energy for hearing, and so on. Is it far-fetched to think that we might also pick up on thought energy?
I believe that as we learn to monitor our own energetic presence, we’ll become more adept and accurate at reading others’ energy as well. And now for the caution: I’ve noticed recently that some people who are naturally more empathic will use it as an excuse for avoiding certain people and situations. This isn’t always wrong, of course. I stay away from horror movies, bars, even Facebook because the energy often feels bad to me. But it can also be a way of avoiding work we need to do.
Recently, a co-worker confided that she was thinking of quitting because she was so sensitive to the “negative energy” of our boss. Yes, he can be a bit sharp at times, but he’s actually a pretty good guy. Instead of running away, I would love to see her simply confront him about how his losses of temper make her feel, and maybe even do a little introspection around her own perceived fragility. (Click here for an article I wrote about the hardiness of the soul.) We can and should be empathic without using it as a crutch to avoid difficult or challenging situations.