Independent thinking is essential to your soul’s growth. Without it, you forgo your life lessons which will take you on the path away from self-actualization — not towards it. You’ll make personal compromises you don’t really want to make, in order to please others. Your personality will become a vessel for what others want for or from you, rather than burgeoning into your true self and purpose here.
Unfortunately for empaths, narcissistic personalities are great at controlling the social setting in work places, community organizations, circles of friends, and families creating a false reality dynamic in which you have to obey and follow along, or you risk consequences.
Empaths, please know, the “bad” energy you feel when you walk into a room is no mistake. Perhaps it is not one person who simply has a bad attitude or who triggers you. It could be that the heavy energy you feel is a symptom of groupthink.
You know if you don’t play along, there will be social consequences. As a result, you try to play the part and fit in. Chances are, this hasn’t worked so great for you thus far and you can only go so long before the pressure to fit in starts getting to you physically and emotionally. You may even feel shame or guilt over the fact that you feel different inside yet everyone around you is enforcing a specific, strict set of rules to abide by.
Groupthink knows no bounds and I have seen it enforced in conservative religious circles as much as progressive atheist circles. It happens in churches, activist groups, the educational system, government, businesses, healthcare system, and more.
How to spot the symptoms of groupthink:
1. False belief in the inherent goodness of the group. This is the idea that the group can do no wrong, has done no wrong, always has good intentions and goodwill, and anyone who feels otherwise is somehow flawed.
2. Group “invulnerability”. This is the idea that the group is flawless and impenetrable. Nothing can rock or affect the stability of the group because it always was and always will be strong.
3. Rationalization. Despite bad behavior, the members of the group engage in ‘‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” Ignoring problems and rationalizing indecent behavior in order to benefit the group.
4. Self-Censorship. Suppressing information that does not support the mission of the group, from within. Displaying behavior or releasing information that serves the purposes of the group despite the reality perhaps being vastly different.
5. Stereotyping those not in the group. Outsiders have groupthink projected onto them. “They’re not like us”, “They must be like this or that”, exhibiting no empathy or compassion for those who are different. Opposition to diversity.
6. Appointed “mindguards”. These people protect a leader from having to deal with troublesome outside ideas. IE: lackeys working for the master so the person at the top senses no objections.
7. Unanimity illusion. The group says, “Everything is fine, there are no problems”, “We all feel the same way”, despite others feeling differently openly or covertly.
8. Pressure on dissenters. Tearing down those who feel or are different. Shame, blame, scam, isolate, or defame anyone who expresses dissent. This is usually carried out by the mindguards, or those whom the mindguards have gotten to.
The truth is, you were born to be different. You were born to fit in where you truly belong, not where you are forced into it. Those who reject diversity have the problem, not you. Hopefully one day humanity can get to a place where diversity is truly celebrated rather than suppressed; where new ideas, people, and information are welcomed and shared freely with curious openness, rather than hard and fast oppression.
Anything that compromises your true nature needs to be examined, processed, and perhaps, ultimately removed from your life or it will keep you sick and stressed.
If you’ve read my other four posts on this topic, you know Empaths are often sabotaged in their personal growth by common fallacies and tactics that leave them feeling stressed: energetic starvation, confusion, amnesia, and left-brained logic.
From a young age, empaths and highly sensitive people are taught how to be in order to make others more comfortable. When left to their own devices, empaths are true change-makers and truth-tellers/seers and this threatens the status quo; it would uproot all systems of control. Chances are you have had to become a “palatable” version of what makes life easier for those around you, rather than being encouraged to pursue yourself and your interests or talents at all costs (ie: self-actualization). This isn’t fair and it ends up holding you back and keeping you sick and stressed in the long run. You are here to self-actualize.
This next form of empathic sabotage is a big one too, because it starts early and often follows us our whole lives: the need for approval.
Empaths have a rich, complex inner life that they don’t often communicate (or know how to). We put up, shut up, and play the part to avoid being targeted for being different or singled out, or having a difference of opinion. If we trace this pattern back in time, you will likely find that it originates in childhood (or beyond) because childhood is where you were taught what “acceptable” behavior is and how to get the love, support, and approval you desire from those around you.
Planet Earth is a place of extreme groupthink (don’t think so? Try self-actualizing and see what ensues). It feels very scary for an individual to venture into uncharted territories — following their heart, mind, and soul rather than the crowd. It’s because we have learned that when we do things on our own, for ourselves, we risk losing the approval we have been conditioned to seek. “What if I trust myself and they reject me?”, “What if I follow my heart and it goes wrong?”, “What if they tell me I am wrong even though they haven’t felt the momentum behind my life experiences and decisions?”, “What if I am too different to be loved?” you may subconsciously think.
The need for approval from others runs very deep. If we look to ancient religious texts, we can see it transcends time, people, and places, and is ingrained into our every decision (remember my thoughts on The “Eve” wound?). “I have to get their opinion so I know what to do with my life”, “I have to do what is ‘normal'”, “I will be totally alone if I trust myself”, “They will punish me if I don’t do what they want”. This feels scary because humans are mammals that crave commune and connection with others for survival. If we make choices others don’t approve of, we risk losing the community support we need to thrive. It’s the proverbial fork in the road on the path to self-actualization — will you keep playing the part or will you realize their approval is but another control tactic and that you do not need it?
If we look around us at our modern culture, we see the symptoms of the need for approval everywhere: advertisements (buy this so you can fit in and finally be accepted), spend a ton of money on education and training so you can land the dream job and finally have a power status, buy this makeup or clothing so you will be pretty and taken seriously, trust those in authority because they clearly know more than you do, look at this selfie then rate it to tell me how attractive I am, “like” this post on Facebook so I can feel validated, let me listen to this pundit tell me how to interpret this political situation, and on and on. It’s not anyone’s fault — it’s just where we’re at and until we examine and debunk the “approval myth”, we will be slaves to it.
The people who reject you or mock you for going at it differently are only in the group think so they themselves do not have to come to terms with their hidden wounds that leave them seeking approval from others; they too are scared to get out of the system.
Here’s the truth: as an empath, you are an old soul. You carry memories and wisdom with you that others do not. You see through facades, you desire depth and progress, you want to change systems that are bad for people, and you are holding yourself back because “what if I get too big”? The need for approval is not only about feeling you are somehow inadequate or feeling ashamed for not being able to force yourself into group think — it is also about what is on the other side of the need for approval — your big, beautiful, badass self. You see, when you self-actualize, you scare those who have not and there could be punishment or spiritual warfare on the horizon as a result (aka: “what will they say if I am magnificent? That I am full of myself or lack empathy?”).
Keep this in mind: you are not broken and you do not need the approval of others to complete or guide you in life. You already have everything you need. It is simply hidden under layers of trauma. You are not broken or somehow lacking. It takes a while to convince yourself of this, but trust me, you can get there and you can see it for yourself.
Owning up to our core wounds and life lessons is one way to finally break through the need for approval into radical self-acceptance. Until you unravel and deconstruct what has happened to you and why you choose what you do now, you will keep repeating the cycle. Truly, it requires putting your foot down and saying “no more”. Breaking the karma teaches you how to be perfectly still, present, and accepting of yourself. But there are more…
Ways to overcome the need for approval:
- identify your core wounds and life lessons (I do this in Energy Readings)
- activate your second and fifth chakras (your sex organs carry trauma from the need for approval, as well as your throat area for fear of saying something “wrong”)
- choose yourself and pursue what you want in life
- re-frame your thoughts to see that following your own path is what you are here to do, and anyone who does not do this is simply scared — the crowd doesn’t have the right answers, they are just terrified of being alone
- identify and break external validation methods, such as getting stressed over your appearance, physical possessions, etc.
- stop identifying with your “role” (your job, your family position, the false personality you have adopted)
- do not buy into punishment systems
- fight back when necessary and force oppressors to see there is another side to your story
- let go of toxic people who lack empathy and dismiss diversity
- accept your greatness without guilt, shame, or minimizing
Remember, it was never about you — it is about a cycle that has yet to be shattered. Recognize it then shatter it into a million pieces.
Every single one of us on this planet is here to learn specific lessons which help us overcome our soul’s core wounds, and therefore allow us to reach our greatest potential. As I have said before, core wounds create life lessons and life lessons generate karma. And you do not have to posses a spiritual belief to believe in karma because it is simply cause and effect which is true no matter what specifics you may believe. It is up to us to identify the core wounds, work on them through the life lessons in order to overcome our karma/generational cycles of dysfunction. Until we do so, we will remain sick and stressed and not really know why.
Core wounds are the deepest hurts and aches that often appear to stem from childhood. Core wounds and lessons are the things we speak about in therapy with counselors and psychologists but can never find a way to truly “get over”. They are the story lines we feed ourselves that keep us small, stuck, and sick. They’re the place we subconsciously keep avoiding with illusions and distractions, in order to keep from feeling the depths of the pain.
Personally, I find pattern recognition to be one of the most therapeutic way to identify the wounds. Without recognizing the patterns, we will remain slaves to them and call it chance. This is one of the cruxes of my Energy Reading sessions — pattern recognition for the things you have experienced so that you can understand yourself and begin the healing process.
As you can see in the image above, if you want to figure out the long string of cause and effect in your life, you must first outline your fears/phobias, talents, problems, and hidden desires. It is a way to tap into the subconscious mind, which will be ruling your life until you become aware of it. Again, until we become aware of our subconscious mind, we will live a “cover story” in which we make choices for ourselves based on what other people desire for or from us, and we will be running from our fears and constantly recreating them instead of breaking the cycles, and we will also run from our talents instead of achieving self-actualization and our highest potential. Patterns will keep presenting themselves to you in the form of pain, phobias, longing and desires, and problems. It is up to us to recognize them and do something about it. This is how you become happy and healthy.
This is merely a guide — a brainstorming effort, if you will. Everyone’s karma will be vastly different. Though in my work over the last eight years, I know that there are themes that tend to run amongst disease groups.
Illnesses do not happen by mere chance, and genetics only play one role in the creation of disease. While we have been told there are no real known causes for disease or that it’s all a genetic Russian roulette, the truth is that diseases happen for a real reason and they happen in clusters. In other words, there may be tens or hundreds of contributing factors that have come together to create the disease state. The science of Epigentics tells us that what happens to you and inside of you affects the expression of your genes — cause and effect, cause and effect, cause and effect. Calling illness “chance” is a form of superstition and needs to be broken already. When you understand your karma, you will understand why you are sick.
Take thyroid disease, for example.
Common denominators in forms of hypothyroidism are almost always:
- Being neglected or feeling overlooked
- Getting quiet to appease others or avoid punishment
- Becoming a version of what other people want you to be
- Inhibitory responses
- Infections (localized or systemic)
- Throat pain or illnesses (recurrent infections, incessant coughing, pain while swallowing, etc.)
- Constant stream of external stressors and feeling little to no control over your life
- Overlooking relationship issues and quietly internalizing them
- Feeling unworthy
- Suppression of creativity
- Trauma to the throat/neck/mouth
Some people with thyroid disease have deep-seated fears of tight things around their necks such as jewelry, turtlenecks, seat belts, etc. Others have a fear of choking on food or drinks, or their throat closing/asphyxiation. Still others have a fear of being seen or public speaking and prefer to hide or remain in the background because they have learned when they do speak it is not accepted
You may not even be aware of these fears but once you start examining what you do, you can recognize the patterns. Some subconsciously avoid tight spaces with lots of people. Or maybe you only choose loose clothing that won’t hug your neck area. Maybe you put up with so much from the people around you that you feel you are at a breaking point and don’t know who you are anymore; your personality has become a vessel for others to control. Take your pick — there are many factors.
I’ll give you an example. Thyroid disease runs in my family and my grandmother had Graves’ (as well as many other terrible autoimmune conditions), and I have other family members with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, or goiter. You could stop there and blame my 2007 diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease on genes, or you can trace the cause and effect back in time.
As a newborn, I was diagnosed with thrush. Then as an infant, I choked on a plum pit because I got too excited and shoved the whole fruit in my mouth (my father had to grab me my the feet and pelt my back while I was upside down in order to get it dislodged). I dealt with multiple ear, nose and throat infections every year for nearly 25 years (which of course required recurrent antibiotics). Though my mom and doctor tried to get me to swallow pills as a kid, I always ended up gagging on them and couldn’t figure out how to swallow correctly. As a kid, I took a hard fall on concrete and lost some baby teeth. I was a swim team member for many years and took in too much water at times (while being exposed to non-stop chlorine — a known thyroid suppressant). Growing up in a sect of the Southern Baptist church, I was silenced and shamed for sharing my thoughts; I learned to adapt and blend in in order to avoid being hurt by others, which required silence and pretending. I had close family members who were addicted to hard drugs and had to tiptoe around their moods. I was in abusive relationships in which I wasn’t allowed to make any decisions for myself (even choosing a table at a restaurant was not allowed). I had dental surgery in late 2006 and a few months later was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Throat, mouth, voice.
Can you see how much trauma one area of my body had endured for so many years? You are no different, but your specifics will be unique to you. After we understand what led up to the illness, we can find solutions to deconstruct it.
Deconstructing you is one of my favorite things to do and why I offer Energy Readings and Body Readings. You can start this brainstorming yourself and see what comes up for you.