Martha came to me with a long list of symptoms: depression, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, lack of purpose, and feelings of isolation. At age 25, she was thin and not at all focused on dress and make-up like many young women. I asked, “Are you more sensitive than most people, what some call an empath? Can you feel the emotions of others so much that it affects your energy?”
Her eyes filled with tears as she shook her head indicating yes. Her relief to talk with someone who understood was palpable. I’ll tell you how Martha did later.
Empathetic means, “identifying with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others.” Empathicis used as a synonym for empathetic. A definition of empathis: “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” The dictionary source commented that the word “empath” is usually used in science fiction writing.
Used as an adjective, the word sensitiveis defined as: “quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.” As a noun, the same source described a sensitiveas “a person who is believed to respond to occult influences.” And how is occult defined, you ask? “Involving or relating to supernatural, mystical, or magical powers or phenomena.”
When will our language evolve to keep up with contemporary understandings? As many people now know, being an empath is not limited to sci-fi books and films. And being a sensitive is not magical or mystical. However, both empaths and sensitives may have perceptive abilities are paranormal, that is, beyond the normal.
I do not consider being an empath or a sensitive to be supernatural. Having expanded senses may not be common, but it is very normal. Children often have perceptive abilities that are drowned out by judgment and pressure from family, friends, educators, and religious teachers.
I will use the nouns “a sensitive” and “an empath” interchangeably. Both describepeople who can use more of their senses than the average human. A sensitive or empath is a person who has increased abilities to sense the emotions and energy of others. There’s nothing occult or mystical about it.
It’s a scientific fact that certain individuals can detect more of reality than normal. University-based, double-blind, journal published, and peer-reviewed scientific experiments have made this abundantly clear. These heightened abilities may include clairvoyance (clear sight), clairaudience (clear hearing), or clairsentience (clear feeling).
As you might imagine – or perhaps have personally experienced – it’s not easy seeing, hearing, feeling, or otherwise sensing more of reality than most people. At first, such a person usually thinks they are the only one like that. Depending on their home environment, they may fear that they are weird or going crazy.
They wish they could be “normal” and try to ignore their extra-sensory powers. If they are raised in a fundamentalist religion, they may believe that “the Devil” – that huge, red-skinned, powerful, and horned rascal with a pitchfork – is influencing them.
We can do better than this.
In my experience, empaths are especially prone to:
- developing physical and mental symptoms
- having difficulty fitting in and enjoying close relationships
- succeeding in conventional schools and jobs
- struggling with drug and alcohol addictions as they self-medicate in a misguided attempt to numb out and feel more peace
- becoming suicidal because they just can’t take living here anymore
That’s why it’s so important for more people to understand what sensitives are, what they go through, and how they can reach a balance. They may represent an evolutionary step in human evolution and have the potential to be incredibly gifted.
I’ll share a few Q & A’s with sensitive individuals that provide insights and strategies for empaths to become more balanced, happy, and healthy.
Q: Where is my tribe of people who know how much of life is BS? I don’t care about superficial stuff and my worldview is very different, so small talk is difficult. Any suggestions? – Sarah
A: You sound exactly me forty years ago. I’m glad that you recognize you are different and looking for sensible solutions to being more happy without losing your uniqueness and edge.
Yes, Sarah, I have some suggestions. In every moment, do your very best to act from love. Strive to deeply remember who you really are and live accordingly. Know that others are doing the best they can given their current state of awareness. Remind yourself that we each are timeless beings who—at least on some level—want to awaken, grow, serve, and love. Remember that some people are imbalanced and / or have been confused by past religious teachings. They need compassion, not rejection.
Here are several suggestions for moving beyond superficial conversations. Learning this skill will help you find your tribe– I love that phrase – and expand your support team.
1. Start with a little small talk to build trust and rapport.
2. Follow up on matters of more substance, for example, ask what is new with them or what matters most. If they share personal events – for example, about a pet or family member who died, or a recent challenge – be compassionate and invite them to share more.
3. If you feel that they are open to it, ask how they are doingwith those changes. Very few people ask important questions and then really listen.
4. Once you have gone deeper and demonstrated that you care, mention some of your understandings about the topic. Don’t be preachy – just share how you view what has worked for you. Then, before you know it, you’re having a meaningful interchange.
Q: I’m not suicidal, but I am just not comfortable in this physical world. There’s more to life than just what we SEE. I feel lost because I don’t agree with many ideas that society feeds us. I am seeking spiritual knowledge because I feel lost and really don’t have anyone I can talk to about all this. Thanks for listening. – Nancy
A: Thanks for being so open and honest, Nancy. I know and have heard from many people who feel the same way. I definitely used to. When I was young, I thought there must have been a mistake that I was here. On several occasions, I stood in an open field and sent telepathic messages to friendly ETs to beam me up because I felt like such a stranger in a strange land here.
Over time, however, I’ve realized that I can enjoy a heavenly state of being whether I’m here or elsewhere. I now feel much more comfortable in my body and on this planet.
It’s goodthat you don’t agree with society’s ideas since those are sometimes off-base. Inquiring hearts and minds like yours are needed to evolve societyfor the better. One key is to remember that your consciousness / spirit is your authentic self. This essence is only visiting planet Earth for a very short while. It’s natural—at least initially— for those who know they are eternal parts of Source Energy to feel out of place here.
Spiritual texts speak about the importance of being in this world while, at the same time, knowing there is much to life. Various native cultures have shamans who teach how to live with one foot in the physical and the other in spiritual dimensions. Welcome to the world of awakening humans! You are learning firsthand that, as the saying goes, you are a spiritual being having a temporary human experience.
More people are waking up to the fact that they are much more than their five senses can detect. You can learn to comfortably and effectively live in two dimensions simultaneously. Your current angst is just part of birthing the highest version of you, just as a new software upgrade involves change or a newborn baby has to struggle to come into this world. Don’t be afraid of the process or get discouraged.
Take a few deep breaths and begin grounding and balancing yourself. As you do, you can increasingly see past the veil of illusion that physicality is all there is. And that, in turn, can help you relax into this brief earth-visit. Be grateful for being different and use that to positively transform yourself and our world.
Q: I am very sensitive and empathic. That makes it tricky to participate fully in this world. Part of me really doesn’t want to be on this planet. What can I do to get more grounded, fulfill my missions, and enjoy this earth journey? – Gail
I know it can be difficult to be on Earth, Gail. I get it. I also know, from firsthand experience, that you can find your way to honor and fulfill the reasons that you, as a soul, chose to come here and now.
Recommendations for a more optimal earth-walk include:
1. Educate yourselfabout the evidence that you are a wise, infinite, special and powerful being. My websitehas free articles, radio shows, and newsletters. My books Soul Proofand Greater Reality Living– coauthored with Dr. Gary Schwartz – also teach the evidence and many benefits that accompany this realization.
2. Fine-tune yourself holistically. My book Radiant Wellnessshares seven keys to optimally caring for the temple of your soul. RADIANT is an acronym for those keys: renewal, activity, diet, inner cleanse, awareness, natural care, transcendence. I especially recommend balancing your brain and body with a personalized nutritional healing programsuch as Nutrition Response Testing (unsinc.infoor Applied Kinesiology (icakusa.com).
- Enjoy fellowship with kindred spirits. There are many people like you and me who think differently than those still deluded by spiritual amnesia. These more enlightened souls tend to congregate at predicable places such as Unity, Unitarian-Universalist, Centers for Spiritual Living, and other more love versus fear-based churches. Also consider attending yoga and meditation classes.
Drumming, dancing, and chanting groups are replete with free spirits who think for themselves. People involved in the arts and natural healers are often more sensitive, intelligent, and open to the richness and diversity of life. Start with this list and develop a spiritual familyof kindred spirits in addition to your beloved family and friends.
- Take time to enjoy the beauty. Yes, there are earthly difficulties and problems that need improved, but there are also exquisite opportunities for enjoyment here. Enjoy each day since this earthly experience lasts only a blink of an eye. Spend time in nature, appreciate the changes of each season, the smile of loved one, a great healthy dessert . . . the list of unique experiences to cherish is endless for those who view life without fear’s blinders.
5.Trust your inner voice. You have an innate intelligence, an inner wisdom that knows what is most true for you. Many elders have told me that, as children, they never believed archaic and erroneous religious teachings such as a fiery eternal hell, only one way to heaven, born into sin, a vengeful God, etc.
You also can disregard societal messages that you are only human, have to suffer, or this life is all there is. Instead, listen to that still, small voice within that will guide you toward the greatest life you have envisioned.
- Regularly enjoy centering practices.Proven ways for grounding incongruous energies, quieting your mind, and soothing your soul include: meditation, prayer, yoga, lovemaking, music, serving others, and playing with children or pets. Time in nature can be especially healing, especially when you walk in the surf or on grass. Take time to enjoy whatever helps you remember who you are, why you’re here, and Who walks beside/within you always. You deserve it!
Holistic Breathingis a powerful technique for releasing old wounds and stuck energy. This time-tested and cross cultural approach helps you remember that you are a deathless being of energy and light who can handle everything life serves up.
- Ask for assistance in shielding yourself. Pray and intend that you are always surrounded by love and light, a literal cocoon of higher energy that grounds and protects. This prevents you from being zapped or sapped by people with lower energy emotions such as despair, bitterness, anger, etc. Shielding can also help you function more fully in the world while remaining balanced and peaceful.
- Take time to serve others. Doing so is a wonderful opportunity for sacred alchemy as you transmute lower-energy emotions like discouragement, anxiety, and fear into higher ones such as gratitude, love, and enthusiasm.
What about Martha and her long list of symptoms? She applied the advice above, including Nutrition Response Testing, and was feeling like a different person within a few months. She now sees her sensitivity as a gift, not a curse, and is using it to improve her life and help others.
You can do the same!
Incorporate these steps, or others that make sense for you, for just 90 days. The world needs your fullest presence and greatest gifts. And you deservethe joy and peace that naturally flowwhen you know earth-school is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst eternity.
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Thank you for sharing this article with others who can use it. I hope that this article – and taking the action steps discussed – help you feel more happy, healthy, peaceful, clear, and energetic. You deserve to feel that way and the world needs your greatest gifts.
Life and love are forever. Shall we live accordingly?
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, master’s clinical psychologist, holistic chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and workshop facilitator. He is director of The Soul Phone Foundation, co–founder of Greater Reality Living Groups,and board member of Helping Parents Heal. Dr. Pitstick can help you know and show– no matter what is going on around you – that your earthly experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit About Dr. Mark Pitstickfor his full bio.
Note: Because of his many outreaches, Dr. Pitstick can no longer answer complex and multiple questions from individuals. However, he has created many resources to answer your biggest questions and provide holistic solutions to your toughest challenges.
- Free articles, radio shows, and newsletters:
- Articles for Transformation and Healing(oncomhome page) address the most common questions, concerns, and challenges about life, death, and afterlife.
- Radio Shows(top tab of com) share his answers and those of top experts to life’s biggest questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? What happens after I die? Is there a God? Why is there so much suffering? Why must children die?” and others.
- Soul Proof Newsletterswith information and inspiration are delivered by email monthly. To subscribe, visit com
Audio Products – CDs and digital downloads – allow you to benefit from quality sessions at home for a fraction of the cost of an office visit.
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- Books and documentary film: these products (visit Shop) provide specific information to help you know and showthat you are a forever being of consciousness / energy / spirit and how you can live accordingly.
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5. Greater Reality Living Groups: Dr. Pitstick and Dr. Gary Schwartz co-founded the organization for local and online groups. For more information, visit Greater Reality Living Groups.
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Disclaimer:This information is not designed to replace medical or psychological care. My remarks are based on over forty-five years of study, training, personal experience, and professional service. Extensive clinical, scientific, and empirical evidence supports much, but not all, of what I say. My current best understandings may change over time. I do not claim to have all the answers or the only answers. My hope is that this information assists you to consider what makes the most sense to you.