book ~ Empath: a complete guide for developing your gift and finding your sense of self
author ~ Judy Dyer
genre ~ health and fitness, professional and technical, nonfiction
read and reviewed by Leah Spence
what is empathy?
As I read the book, Empath by Judy Dyer, and considered my eventual review, I wondered how the book would enhance my own search for mood balancing strategies, holistic health and equanimity. Empathy is a broadly used term now, and I hesitated being redundant, both in the sharing and in the learning. Happily, I found Empath to be both reinforcing, insightful, and inspiring.
In brief, what I knew about empathy, before I started reading, was actually a lot (or so I thought). I knew it is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other’s frame of reference–that is the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes. And, it does not mean you necessarily agree with their feelings, values, or world views. You can just draw a line between theirs and yours in an equanimous way,
in radical empathy
In radical empathy, you recognize the existence of the emotional, cognitive, somatic states of another. On the other hand, if the radically empathetic, doesn’t have the proper filters in place, this outside energy ekes its way into their own emotional, cognitive and somatic states. This creates a highly stressful, convoluted, overwhelming conundrum.
In radical empathy,~ Leah
you are surrounded by ‘tells’
a cacophony of noise
creating overwhelming anxiety
until you have effective filters in place.
Intuition, emotional intelligence, and intellect, although not radical, are essential parts of being empathetic. I had written much about empathy including healing the empath, embracing empathy, and it even threaded its way into my M.Ed. thesis.
With Dyer’s book, as is always the case in my reading, I was leaning towards upping my understandings, a notch or three. The result is positive with Empath consolidating what I knew and adding some more insightful and practical information in a reader-friendly, cohesive, well-organized way.
the empath according to Judy Dyer
As I read Empath by Judy Dyer, I was struck by how the book is engaging, both abstractly and concretely. From the start of the book, Dyer’s intentions are clearly laid out. Her aim is “to bring you to a place of rest concerning the gift you have been endowed with. You will learn what your gift is and why you are so privileged to have it”. This is essential because empaths who are not in control of their gift find that it is a terrible source of stress, pain and anxiety. Feeling other people’s emotions as though they are your own can seem as if you are on a constant, emotional roller coaster.
the big idea
In each of my reviews I look for ‘the big idea’. The aim is to understand the topic or subject that the author continuously touches upon and examines in their text.
Dyer presents the big idea of the book in a way that takes the edge or fear out understanding and realizing a radical form of empathy. Further, she offers information and solutions engaging the positives of embracing this ‘gift’.
You really need to read the book even if you don’t think you are an empath. Emotional intelligence is a key attribute to achieve effective interactions with the world. You may know someone who is shutting out feelings and energies from others or prone to physical illnesses. Often, these are the manifestations of the energy, karma, and emotions of everyone they come in contact with. Further, you may gain some insight into how empathetic you really are but have lost touch with that skill.
Empaths thrive off mental engagement, writes Dyer. They have little desire for the mundane and find it difficult to hold their focus on things that don’t stimulate them. On the other hand, many empaths have a deep connection with the paranormal. This can lead to isolation and to the average person this is not the norm.
traits of the empath
Dyer outlines 25 common empath traits. Although I can tend to, or embody most, I will list my top 10:
- look for the underdog who is going through emotional trauma
- highly creative
- have a deep disdain for narcissism
- knowledge seekers always looking for something new
- strong desire to only engage authentically in meaningful interactions
- truth is paramount and can detect lies readily, feeling the negative effects
- constantly feel drained and tired
- charismatic and people are attracted to their energy
- very observant and extremely good at reading facial expressions and body language (‘tells’)
- drawn to alternative and spiritual arts such as organic nutrition, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, holistic, energy and Reiki practices.
strategies and solutions
And, because it is a problem to let the symptoms go undiagnosed, negatively effecting holistic/mental health, Dyer shares several strategies and solutions. Here, I list, from my readings, some of these which I have found to be personally effective:
- get enough rest as anyone suffering from depression and anxiety will also tell you
- deep breathing exercises
- limit exposure to overly stimulating environments (including social media (tough to do, I understand because it is also a key means of connecting to my world:)
- appreciate and honour your state of consciousness
- identify the difference between thought consciousness and empathic consciousness
- practice visualization on a regular basis to keep you grounded
- know the healthy routines which reduces stress for you personally such a hike, essential oils, or warm bath and find time for them
essential oil recipes for anxiety flashcards
Below I share some of the recipes we can download as flashcards from Empath. Although the initial investment of essential oils, beeswax and dispensing containers is a bit of a financial commitment, it is more economical in the long run. I also buy epsom salts and make my own natural products using some of Dyer’s essential oil recipes.
Quick and Easy Lavender Neck Rub
Ingredients include pure lavender and fractioned almond or coconut oil Dyer shares the ‘how-to’s in the recipe section of the Empath.
Frankincense and Myrrh Lotion
This homemade body lotion made from a mixture of frankincense and myrrh is a fantastic recipe. Not only does it alleviate anxiety symptoms but it also hydrates the skin with essential nutrients and vitamins. Ingredients include olive oil, coconut oil beeswax, shea butter … and so on… Dyer shares the process of preparing and best storing practices in the book.
Lavender soap homemade bar
This homemade bar of lavender soap not only provides relief from anxiety but is also extremely beneficial for the skin….
And, this only the tip of the iceberg of the valuable information/resources the book Empath provides. By enhancing our knowledge and understandings, we leverage our gifts and enhance the lives of others as well as our own.
On the Art of Being Authentic Reading List page. I share more related books, shifting between the cerebral (psychology, philosophy, culture, etc) and the aesthetic (literary non-fiction, fiction, poetry collections, etc.). I hope to have more conversations with you soon, about those!
good read and 3 hearts
~ namasté, Leah J. 🕊
🕊 the art of being authentic
embracing mindful, empowering transformations🕊
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