DevaTree Blog

The Dangers of Being an Open-Hearted Empath: 8 Ways to Protect a Sensitive Heart

Posted By Carolyn on Nov 24, 2015

People debate the definition of “empath." Some say it’s similar to “highly sensitive” while others describe it more broadly, closer to “empathic”, or being able to recognize the emotions of others. Others say an empath is a person with full clairsentient, Deanna Troi-from-Star Trek psychic superpowers. Either way, it’s exciting to be alive at a time when these are the dinner conversations!

I’m no Deanna Troi, but like many of you reading this, I do feel the emotions of the people around me. And not just the people I know best. Most of the time being intuitive is helpful. But at times it can lead me into dangerous territory if I’m not careful.

What I’ve learned as an open hearted, empathic person is that if I don’t care for my own heart and protect it, I can suffer.

I like to think of the boundaries I’ve established or the protection that I have around my heart as a permeable bubble that expands as my heart does. It isn’t that I need to block out evil or walk around walled off from other people’s feelings. I can allow love to flow in and out, and open myself up on my terms. This way I honour my sensitivity.

One major aspect of protecting our hearts is being able to set clear boundaries. For a long time, I thought it was my job to look after everyone else first. But constant giving to others eventually lead me to exhaustion. I felt depleted, unsupported, and was giving from a place of emptiness. It is difficult to pay attention to our own needs when we are so busy looking after others.

Acknowledging the need to set clear boundaries has helped me implement the following tools and practices.

8 ways to Protect a Sensitive Heart:

1. Spend time in silence. Turn off the distractions in your life and create a quiet space to help you to notice your inner landscape. This gives your heart time to recalibrate.

2. If you can’t be in silence, minimize the intensity of the stimulation. For example, try driving without music or phone calls from time to time. My kids have (reluctantly at first) come to appreciate that we alternate between their favorite music and mine–the sound of their voices.

3. Honour your intuitive feelings and gut reactions. If you don’t honour these feelings, no one else will. By valuing your intuition you are trusting in you. Find safe, objective places (counselling, healers etc) to take your difficult emotions so they don’t get stuck.

4. Choose to be with people who support you and appreciate your sensitivity. As an empath, you don’t just hear a person’s negative story, you carry it away with you long after the person leaves.

5. When you do have a negative or draining interaction, cleanse your energy field afterward. Walk in nature, give yourself even a short yoga practice, smudge yourself or your space with white sage or essential oils. If you don’t have a lot of time, try a few strong exhaling breaths outdoors.

6. Before going into high stimulation situations (malls, school, meetings, supermarkets, line-ups etc.), “zip up” your energy creating a shield or imagine that you are surrounded with diamond white light.

7. If it fits with your belief system, call in Archangel Michael, Archangel Hanael or your higher self for strength and protection.

8. Practice acceptance of yourself and where you are in your life at this moment. Compassion for ourselves is an essential part of taming the need to constantly give to others.

How do you support your sensitive heart?  Do you practice some or all of these already? I’d love for you to share your practices so we can all benefit from them.

With Love,

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10 Comment(s)

Frank Hastie on November 25, 2015
Very thought provoking and appreciated. A good label, if labels are good, for those who see rather than look and listen rather than hear. Add mindfulness, and the current increase in energy from the universe available to all of us and you do end up with people that are sensitive. I’m not sure about the need to be so guarded. What comes comes for a reason. People that also are not sure of the need for being guarded should experience your subtle energy course. It is one of the very few safe places that a person can drop their guard and experience knowing. Just saying!
Carolyn Jyoti on November 25, 2015
Frank, thank you for your wisdom. It is so important to find a safe place to be with all of our sensitivities and feel our love expanding outwards and inwards - for me being protective is necessary with the increase of energies!
Amanda Eriksen on November 26, 2015
Thanks for the 8 ways to protect my heart - as someone who is constantly "feeling" other’s emotions, I really appreciate these tips! I am not always so good at cleansing the negative emotions away! I often need some quiet to sit and acknowledge what I am feeling. It is so nice to hear from other empaths:)
Carolyn Jyoti on November 26, 2015
Thank you Amanda- I love your sensitive heart! :)
Lisa Ondejko Calder on November 26, 2015
Very insightful and great recommendations. Peace as you protect your heart.
Carolyn Jyoti on November 26, 2015
Hi Lisa - So great to hear from you. Peace and love to you too!
krista Burke on November 26, 2015
i loved this article. Thanks so much for sharing your insights on this. Over time i have learned, and use, all of the methods of protection that you list above. They are VERY effective and sanity saving, my only wish is that i had learned them much earlier. I guess through suffering we learn to appreciate peace and peace of mind. Peace & hugs to you.
Carolyn Jyoti on November 27, 2015
Hi Krista - Thanks for joining the conversation - you are so wise!
smariet on November 27, 2015
yes, i think the honouring the sensitivity is pretty important. not trying to control as well. (here ‘zipping up my suit’ or ‘shielding’ has never made sense or worked). nature=the best. singing is pretty good, playing a flute can be as well, breath work/some kind of yoga or movement with natural breathing--or just literally saying to the body-mind, ok, clear this! anything not of highest service goodbye now! and then just letting it go/see what happens without anticipating what one thinks will happen. not needing to heal or fix selfothers/anything. so not judging first and then seeing what plays out, what am called to do if anything. nobody’s job to take anything on/carry things! any activity that is just for play, nourishing for my self as a human can be very restorative. I appreciate the reminder to listen to the instincts and put your feelings first ha ha assuming we can figure out which is ours. Overall nature, exercise, little walks or yoga breaks, a bit of a routine with that, is the best i’ve found.
Carolyn Jyoti on November 27, 2015
Thank you so much for sharing what works for you.

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