The Psychic Counselor

Do you have questions about life changes? Emotional concerns? Relationship issues? Spiritual matters? Send your questions to The Psychic Counselor, Lynda Hilburn, and check back here for your answers. Or you can read through the previous posts (check the Archives) to find answers you didn't even have questions for! [*LyndaSoul isn't my name -- it's the combo of my first name with the first word in the name of my hypnotherapy training school.]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Feeling The Pain of Others

Greetings Lynda:
I was happy to find your web site. Most web sites I have run across offer instruction on how to develop abilities or how to use them, they never deal with how to block them so you can just deal with them. I would love to get your advice on how to manage what I consider an ability that I just don’t know how to deal with. As a boy and early teen, I found that I was hyper-sensitive to other people’s pain. Both physical and emotional. If I spend any time with someone, it’s as if I can see his or her inner pain as if it was a physical thing. It’s like I can see a bruise on their inner self. My chest tightens and it feels like something heavy has been put inside of me. If I spend too much time with someone who is really hurting, emotionally I can feel his or her pain as if it was my own and there are times where I feel crushed by it. In other words, I find this intensely difficult to deal with. I can’t even be around sick people for vary long or I physically develop their symptoms. For example, a friend of mine had eye surgery and as a result, his right eye was visibly swollen and irritated for about a week. Every time I saw him and looked directly at him, my left eye would get sore, water, and eventually become infected. If I am around someone with a headache, migraine, or any kind of physical pain, a few min later I develop the same pain. I know I am not sick with what they have and I know that once I get away from that person it will go away in an hour or so, but at the same time, it makes it hard to be a social person. I thought I had some kind of social disorder for a while because in a large group of people I can sense the pain around me and after a few hours I am worn out and feel like I just finished a hard workout. My name is Jason and I was once told that it means, “One who heals the broken hearted.” I would love to live up to what my name stands for but at the same time I don’t know how to turn off or tone down how much of another person I take in. I feel drawn to people who are hurting, but at the same time, when I am feeling their pain, it's like I have to help them and me at the same time to get through it. Do you have any advice for me?
Jason the emotional sponge bob

Dear Jason: It does seem like a tough choice: be at the mercy of whatever energy has the strongest signal, or withdraw and live as a hermit. Actually, your situation is one of the reasons I believe so many sensitive people keep to themselves (I can vouch for that, myself). This might sound harsh or cold-hearted, but simply because you can feel something doesn't mean you need to. I think highly sensitive people misunderstand what it means that we can sense/feel things. We believe because we can feel something, we need to do something. Take an action on that person's behalf. Heal them.

All healing is self healing.

I'll just use my own experience as an example. Since I grew up with my radar blasting -- feeling/sensing everything around me -- I went back and forth between thinking I was crazy/broken and believing I needed to make things better for those I could sense. I spent years making myself miserable, trying to "fix" other people. Eventually, I discovered my need to fix them was my own lack of understanding and a little bit of arrogance. (It's great to be special, but it's truly a double-edged sword.) When I finally grasped that I could choose whether or not I experienced someone's pain (yes, you really can choose. I know you don't believe me, yet.) and then the degree to which I could feel it, I was liberated. That awareness led to the knowledge that, if I'm trying to fix/heal someone, I'm in the way. Whatever their soul/deeper consciousness/expanded wisdom was up to by creating the pain, etc., I couldn't possibly understand how it served them.

So, what did I do to filter the perceptions? I made a decision that I'd let others' energy flow through me without clinging. I could feel it if I wanted to, but it was like a river, continually moving on. I came to know that if someone's pain resonated with me and I "took it on," it was because there was something similar in my own energy. And, if someone came to me specifically, asking for assistance, I'd do what felt healthy for both of us. I learned to remain in a compassionate "witness" state with my clients, which kept me from flailing around in their energies -- trying to figure out (as if I ever could) -- what they need. If I stay in my compassionate space, trust my intuitive wisdom, and remember to do no harm (which is a bigger category than we usually think), I am often helpful.

I'm still working on successfully hanging out in groups, because I get overwhelmed. Here's something that helps me: instead of imagining yourself pushing against the energy "out there," just imagine yourself as a cup filled from the inside, overflowing onto everything. If you are so filled with your own, healthy energy, there's no way for you to take on anything else. There's a difference between healing and uplifting.

And, as I've said before, nobody can push their energy on us. It comes at our invitation, even though we usually have no idea we've sent out the offer. Be the tone you wish to share with the world. Allow people to entrain with your health and watch miracles happen.

You don't have to be sponge bob. Really. Although it is sorta exciting sometimes.