Ask Goddess Leonie: The Blessings & Medicine of Empathy

by Leonie Dawson on May 25, 2009

Hola gorgeous Goddess!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now – but didn’t quite know how I wanted to share it. And then I was doing a coaching session for a gorgeous earth angel, and she said to me: Oh Leonie! You must write this on your website! People need to know this!

And because she asked me, I’m a-writing this.

Her question was one that I think so many of us deal with:

I feel like I’m an energy sponge. I pick up positive energy so quickly, but then I pick up negative energy too! What do I do?

Here’s what I shared:

As souls, healers, and earth angels, we have a gift named empathy. It means that we can pick up how other people are feeling in an instant. And this can be a blessing when we use this in the right way, in the right context to help others heal. And we can also use it as a wonderful scanning tool for ourselves to decide if a person is right for us to be around in that moment.

Here’s the medicine of empathy though:

We are not supposed to change our energy for other people all the time.

Our role and responsibility as souls, healers and earth angels is to stay in our own energy, stay grounded in our own emotions, and allow other people the freedom, responsibility and sovereignty of their own energy.

We aren’t supposed to be emotional barometers for how others are feeling – how they are feeling is their job. Our job is how we are feeling, and staying present with us.

When we are off feeling everyone else’s energy, we start feeling lost and alone – because we’ve abandoned our own selves and energy. Who is looking after our own energy if we are out looking after other people’s?

Story time

A few years ago, I finally realised that I had two fingers in my love’s energy all the time. I was always in some way checking in with his energy, seeing how he was feeling, and seeing if I needed to make him feel happier.

I thought that’s what people who loved each other did.

And I started feeling really off-centre and off-kilter and alone – like somehow in always being in someone else’s energy, I’d lost my own.

We went out into the desert in the centre of Australia – to Uluru, the spiritual and physical heart of the land. My love and I were there for a week on a healing retreat.

And I explained to our lovely retreat teacher what I was doing, and asked her for advice on changing the dynamic.

She said:

It’s not your job to be in his energy all the time. That’s his job. Start by feeling the edges of your energy, and where the edges of his are, and start practising staying in your own.

And I thought there was more to it than that – surely it would have to be more complicated!

Changing the habit of a lifetime doesn’t have to be complicated though. It can be as simple as making a choice, and practising.

So I started practising feeling the edges of my boundary, and the edges of his, and practised the art of staying in my own energy.

And things changed – a LOT.

I started feeling much more centred in myself. Chris started feeling freedom and relief that he no longer had me checking in with my energy. I realised that what I was doing – even though I was doing it from a place in my heart out of love and compassion – was unhealthy. It meant I wasn’t staying present with myself or staying strong in my own energy and wisdom. And I was actually taking from Chris – I was taking his own personal sense of responsibility and sovereignty for his energy.

Empathy reversed

How would you feel if you knew someone always had two fingers in your energy, wanting to know how you were feeling, wanting to make YOU feel BETTER?

And when I thought about it like that, I got this feeling of yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck in my belly – and indignation! Like:

Get out of my energy! This is my energy! I don’t want you to make me feel better! I don’t want you to feel the same way as me! That’s my job! I want to choose how I feel! If I want to have a down day, or learn my medicine and lessons, that’s my responsibility… Go do yours please!

So this thing I’d been doing out of love wasn’t the most loving, wise thing for me to do.

When I stayed in my own energy, I got to choose how I wanted to feel. And Chris got to take back his own energy, make his own choices, and choose how he wanted to feel.

It was empowering all around.

The best I can do

The best I can do as a healer, soul, and earth angel is to stay in my own energy. To not get moved around by other person’s feelings. To be present with myself, and present with others – without taking away from their own sacred land of their own energy.

When I do a healing session with someone, my energy does not change. I can scan them, I can check in, I can intuit what is happening for them – but I don’t change my feelings to the same as theirs. Their feelings and energy are their job. My job is my own. When I finish a healing session – I don’t feel like I’ve been lifted up or down by them. I get to stay present in my own energy and wisdom, and witness another goddess stay present in hers.

My job as a healer is to heal myself, and shine that light for me. And in the right time, and the right place, and the right energy exchange – if another soul asks for a healing, I’m able to be a part of that with them.

But it is not my job to walk around healing every person I meet, whether they want it or not.

My job is to light up the world just by lighting up me.

What would happen?

If I decided to soak up everyone else’s energy everyday, and feel where others were at constantly?

I’d probably feel depleted, like I was on an emotional see-saw, and a whole lot of disconnected from the great loveliness and truth and wisdom that’s been sitting in my own backyard this whole time.

I’d feel like I need to be around others in order to be of help. I’d feel like I needed to help others whether they needed it or not. I’d feel like this world wasn’t turning perfectly, just as it is right now.

And I sure as heck wouldn’t be able to do the work I do – because I’d be constantly feeling other people’s energy, instead of my own.

I was born to be this Leonie energy, and to embody it and know it as deeply as I can.

You were born to be your energy, and to embody it and know it as deeply as you can.

We weren’t born to be like anyone else – or feel like everybody else does.

We get to choose, again and again, to be lighthouses of our own light and energy, and allow the ones around us to be their own lighthouses of their own light and energy.

We don’t need to fix their light. We don’t need to have our own lighthouse keeper going around checking on their lighthouses – that’s their job. Our keeper’s job is to make our light as lovely and true as possible for us. And then all the other lighthouses will want to light up too, and shine their own jewelled magenta glow out into the world.

This world is a whole lot of loveliness.

This is the wisdom, and the medicine of empathy:

Our job is to be ourselves, and stay in our own energy. That is where the real magic, love, goodness, connection and path is found.

What do you think, sweet soul?

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