"I'm sick of it," the client told me. (Here I'll call her "Jean.")

"Being an empath, my whole life I've been giving to people. Since we're in the minority, of course, people haven't given back to me in the same way.

"Well, I've had it. I'm tired of doing all the giving.

"Yeah, I've read Empowered by Empathy, and I've been doing techniques to turn my gifts OFF. Just yesterday, I had to do that because a friend was sobbing in my arms. No way was I going to take on all her grief.

"Still, I resent that I have to do ANYTHING to turn my gifts OFF. I wish I just didn't have them."

Can you relate to Jean's battle fatigue? To some degree, she's reacting to her society. Before responding directly, I would like to put this lament in context.


In pop culture today, there still isn't much realistic mental-health type conversation at all about empaths. One indicator is what happens if you do a Google alert for the term "Empath" just to eavesdrop on other conversations online.

•Some 85% of the comments are about fiction or science fiction.
•This blog post aims to join the happy 1% of conversation that really is about being an empath, and how to use one's gifts with skill.
•Of the remaining 14%, it's either lament or supportive conversation about being a victim.
•Reading most of these conversations, you'd think that "empath" meant a form of lifelong disability.

Jean happens to have fine mental health. But here is a sample of online conversation about being an empath:

"I searched you out. I am in great need of help. My love and I are both empaths, and he sees great tragedy coming ahead, and it's terrifying him and could end up killing us both and we need someone to help us."

If you ever hear someone lamenting in this way, tell that person to run, not walk to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Do the same if someone you know complains about being under "psychic attack."

This label, along with "empath" is becoming a trendy way for people to justify mental illness, severe dysfunction that can definitely be helped but not until the person seeks appropriate treatment.

Being born as an empath is not the same as being mentally ill. It is a kind of sensitivity in 1 out of 20 Americans, 1 out of 5 Japanese, with varying degrees of incidence in different parts of the world.


Being born as an empath doesn't mean that you have a disability. Yet look at American attitudes toward sensitivity in general. We're taught nothing about what it is, or about the 1 in 5 people who are Highly Sensitive Persons (to use the term coined by Dr. Elaine Aron).

All HSPs are not empaths. We are a subgroup. Not only neuro-physiologically sensitive, each empath has at least one inborn gift for directly experiencing what it is like to be someone else.

American society teaches nothing about how to recognize these gifts, nor how to use them with skill, nor how to tell if problems in life are related to being talented but so-far unskilled as an empath.

At least Americans are encouraged to learn a few other skills, like table manners and reading. Despite post-modern impatience, few adults complain about needing to learn these things. (Or else they're so young when they learn that parents can say, "Stop whining. You're in time out." Eventually, even a grumpy kid gets over himself long enough to learn how to hold a knife and fork properly.)

Some of my students have been able to teach their children how to become skilled empaths. (In fact, there's a chapter specifically about parenting in Empowered by Empathy, print edition. And the entire book is a how-to about getting skill, of course. Also, you can hear a nice chunk of the audiobook at the link provided here.)

Wouldn't it have been lovely if you had been taught these skills yourself, back in the day? But you weren't, right? Well, get over it. You're learning now. It will take you probably less time than learning how to read or to use table manners.

So cheer up. Consider that you're being counterculture, if it helps. Practice the Coming Home technique for 10 minutes in the morning -- or otherwise position your consciousness to turn your empathic gifts OFF first thing every day.

Then, during the day, use first aid techniques from Empowered by Empathy (or any other techniques you know) to position your consciousness appropriately and get "stuff" from other people out of your aura.


Sure, there's a little effort involved. But at least these techniques really work. Otherwise you're stuck with popular ideas like:

•Firm up your boundaries.
•Stop being so over-sensitive.

Notions like these work best with people who AREN'T empaths.
Frankly, if you're neuro-physiologically sensitive, there's no way you can trade in your nervous system right now. When you react to life in a sensitive manner, you're just being you, not being overly anything.

Then there are strategies that depend on behavior:
•Avoid toxic people.
•Avoid "psychic vampires."

Common-sense ideas like these are fine, but they won't make a person skilled as an empath. It's all too easy to label people as "the problem." A post at http://www.rose-rosetree.com/blog discusses the greatly misused, sometimes convenient, notion of "psychic vampires."


It's so great! Never doubt that. Any empath can get skills.
It won't happen by itself. But eventually you can make it happen, and then you will positively LOVE being an empath. It brings you special kinds of wisdom. It helps you tp do great service for others, and without paying an inner price.

Remember, when you have mastered turning your gift(s) OFF, you can use TURN-ON techniques(like those in Empowered by Empathy) to have a glorious, deep, free, and safe experience of otherness.

Imagine that! And imagine what could happen when you bring that kind of skill to your pursuit of connecting to God. (For a daybook exploring that relationship, plus growth of your human self while you seek that connection, see Let Today Be a Holiday.)

So it's your choice. You can lament all you want. Plenty of other people will sob along with you. Or you can resolve to get skills and make this particular kind of suffering a thing of the past.

Author's Bio: 

Rose Rosetree is the founder of Energy Spirituality, offering aura readings that include Cutting Cords of Attachment , Aura Transformation , and Regression Therapy .

If you're interested in reading faces, check out her Face Readings, another form of spiritual reading.

She's an Expert on Aura here at self-growth.com.

Prefer to study directly? Rose teaches workshops internationally on doing intuitive reading. (Most client sessions are via telephone, with details at her website.

Rosetree is also known for her how-to books:

* “Read People Deeper: Body Language + Face Reading + Auras” , the first book to combine all three different forms of deeper perception,

* “AURA Reading Through All Your Senses” , to help you get skills at reading energy fields.

*"Cut CORDS of Attachment: Heal Yourself and Others with Energy Spirituality" , a healing how-to,

*"Empowered by EMPATHY”with leading-edge techniques that Rose teaches internationally,

*“The Power of FACE Reading”, and

*“ Let Today Be a HOLIDAY.”

One title has become a bestseller in Germany; in America, two have been selections of One Spirit Book Club. If you want to learn to do spiritual reading and also empower yourself in everyday life, you're going to enjoy Rose's work.

Many foreign editions of her books have been published, with information available here

With over 140,000 copies sold, Rosetree's books help readers to discover emotional and spiritual healing, better relationships, self-awareness and inspiration. Order Rose's books, published through Women's Intuition Worldwide, or call toll-free 800-345-6665.

At Rose Rosetree's website, you’ll also find free articles, FAQs, and practical ways to use Deeper Perception to make life better. Sign up for "Read Life Deeper," her free monthly zine with face and aura readings of people in the news, at www.rose-rosetree.com. Rosetree's blog is called "Deeper Perception Made Practical." You are invited to join this lively, interactive community.

Additional Resources covering Aura can be found at:

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Rose Rosetree, the Official Guide To Aura