3 Ways Empaths Can Cope If Social Injustices Are Draining Your Energy

Photo: getty
3 Ways Empaths Can Cope If Social Injustices Are Draining Your Energy

When it comes to social justice issues, the experience of empaths differs from the compassion and empathy a non-empath feels.

For me, compassion is love for another who suffers. Empathy is a personal experience of others' suffering, joy, and all emotions in-between.

Maybe you have already settled on a self-diagnosis of "empath" to some degree. Regardless, many of us unwittingly take in other people's experiences throughout life, believing and feeling that they are our own.

RELATED: If You Have These 30 Traits, Consider Yourself An Empath

Everyone — but especially empaths — personalize feelings external to ourselves, sometimes. This happens to all of us, probably from before birth.

During consultations, therapists and doctors "feel" into their thoughts. These feelings are an effective diagnostic and therapeutic modality.

"I feel depressed around this person," might suggest that a person has soaked up someone else's depression.

The implication is that we take on emotional stuff that is not ours through our whole lives. This includes witnessing social injustice and inequities.

A major blind spot in the medical profession is not addressing racism and social injustice in the exam room. Rather than pushing a pharmaceutical, a diagnosis could actually be racism, amongst many other things.

As a self-diagnosed "super empath," I've found out how to help myself and my patients when we feel drained from the environment.

Here are 3 ways empaths can cope if social injustices are draining your energy.

1. Manage your emotional capacity bank.

Consider that you have an emotional bank every day. If you drain your bank early in the day, you will be in deficit, overwhelmed, and drained.

Don't spend your entire daily capacity at once. Instead, have a reserve at the end of the day. This reserve will be utilized during dream time. Plug up the hole in your emotional capacity bucket before you look for ways to increase your capacity

Disengage from social media — it's seductive and designed to activate your emotions. The feelings social media evokes rarely have any truth. These platforms are not designed to enrich your life or the world.

Beyond eliminating social media, decreasing emotional toxins from your environment, both internally and externally, is helpful. Develop a sleep sanctuary, a place where you feel safe, so your body and mind can deeply relax when you are sleeping.

2. Identify your feelings.

Empaths don't realize that what they're feeling, thinking, believing, or experiencing might not originate from the inside.

Ask, "Does this belong to me or not?"

Once you identify it, then appropriate steps can be taken. If you forget to take this step, life becomes confusing and draining. Don’t wait until you're feeling overwhelmed or drained.

If whatever you're experiencing doesn't belong to you, your options differ.

In terms of social injustice and inequities, do what is yours to do. Watch your emotional capacity bank and your agency.

If your experience belongs to you, there's always a time a place. Feel free to shelf it for consumption later, particularly if you have the capacity and you believe it merits digestion.

From the day we are born, probably before, we're soaking up thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and emotions from our environment.

A gentle nod from your mother — or the lack of — adds to our experience, reinforcing our beliefs about the world and ourselves.

Make a decision on whether this belongs to you or not. Either way, look for ways to improve and move from toxic to healthy. 

RELATED: What It Means To Be An Empath — And How To Balance Your Energy

If you're experiencing another or yourself, it all has to come from somewhere.

The idea that our experience is personal is disempowering, as we live in a community. What causes us to suffer is interconnected and belongs to the community. Understanding this is healthy and is a remedy to social injustice and inequity.

"If I'm drained, my community is drained." Owning this builds compassion muscle.

As an empath, I've walked the wicked chasm of complex, repetitive PTSD. In my body, it feels like the effects of a seductive, heavy neuro-pharmaceutical.

The Black Lives Matter movement feels exactly like that drug. And if I'm correct, we have societal complex of repetitive PTSD. But we can heal our PTSD.

3. Take steps to heal.

As an empath, you have an enhanced ability to sense your environment. You can check in with yourself and identify the source.

Identification is a muscle and a practice. Obviously, what is yours is always a place to work — your workbench. As part of a world — a community — healing your family, tribes, and nations are yours.

Start with you. Work with yourself with kindness, critical thinking, consent, and permission.

Ask for permission as often as possible. Once you start developing this consent and permission muscle on yourself, you can turn it around it apply it to others.

Magically, the overwhelm and drain will diminish. You can use your empathic powers to heal yourself and your environment. The less you identify, the less there is to protect.

As you heal from the inside, the draining part diminishes. Protecting yourself is always necessary, while permission and consent are superpowers.

RELATED: How To Be Honest — Even When It's Hard

Dr. Daniel Rieders is an Integrative and Environmental Cardiologist and Certified in Functional Medicine, Mind-Body Eating Coach and Energy Medicine. To find out more, visit his website.