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Why empaths seek comfort (sometimes too much)

By Michal Spiegelman

Recently, in my Thriving Empath Facebook Group, we had a deep conversation around the topic of comfort. We explored the idea that empaths are more prone to overeat because it provides an extra layer or buffer for protection. We also reflected on the idea that, in an effort to maximize comfort in our spaces, we often overdo it to the point that comfort becomes clutter. Let’s elaborate.

Why empaths like cozy, comfy, and warm

Energy is all around us, and we are energetic beings. We are all empaths to some extent because we absorb energy all the time. If you are an empath, you tend to feel and take on the energy around you more than other people. The result is that you might feel drained from absorbing energy. The energy you absorb creates heaviness, and you can quickly get emotionally overwhelmed. Habitually, we learned to escape the emotions. This cycle of taking on, feeling heavy, and escaping the emotions creates a sense of void or emptiness. It is then natural for us to seek ways to fill up the void. When we don’t feel loved inside, we look for external ways to feel loved. We seek comfort.

Comfort can take more forms than we realize

Many women are not even aware that they seek comfort. This tendency was present for empaths even before the pandemic, but it seems as if the absence of hugs and physical touch has led to an increased need to create a comfortable environment.

For example, many of the women in our online community love…

  • Several pillows in bed (some of them arrange the pillows as a nest)
  • Blankets, throws, and pillows (and PJs too)
  • A warm cup of tea
  • Comfy clothes, big scarves, and shawls
  • Pleasing art and furniture, fireplaces, and rugs
  • Candles, flowers, and crystals

Interestingly, many women in our empath community have learned Reiki with us, and they treat themselves with Reiki every day. When I found Reiki in 1996, I had no idea that I was an empath. I simply thought that I was overly sensitive—that something was wrong with me. Now Reiki is my favorite way to give myself the softness, gentleness, and comfort that my soul craves. When I give myself Reiki, the seemingly simple act of moving my hands gently from one area to the next on my body automatically shifts me to a softer, more open place.

Is there such a thing as being TOO comfortable?

After reading my blog post, “Alone But Not Lonely: How to Fall in Love with Solitude,” one of my Reiki students emailed me and asked, “Is there a such thing as being TOO comfortable in your solitude?”

The answer is yes. You can definitely become too comfortable in your own comfort.

Solitude can turn into loneliness when we overdo it.

Spending time in solitude is a supportive choice, especially for empaths who can easily get overwhelmed when they are overstimulated. But solitude can turn into loneliness and might lead to depression when you overdo it. Eliminating social interactions has been essential for all of us during the pandemic, but, for empaths, our sensitivity to the collective energy doesn’t make it easy to come back out of our cocoons. It takes intention and work to stop hiding and start living.

Comfy space can turn into clutter when we overdo it.

Speaking of cocoons, I remember an ultimatum my husband gave me years ago when I kept getting more and more pillows, blankets, and other comfy accessories for our cozy house. Using his unique sense of humor, he told me that any new object was welcome in our home only if it replaced something else. If I wanted to bring in a new accessory, I had to get rid of something we already had.

Just like everything else, you can overdo comfort, and, if you do, there are consequences. While wearing soft clothes and enjoying blankets, pillows, and throws can support your sensitivity, clutter does not. And even though you need to spend quiet time with yourself, loneliness and isolation are not healthy. The bottom line is that you need to find the balance between feeling comfortable and feeling too comfortable.

Food is another way to seek comfort, and, like everything else, we can overeat.

Many empaths escape to food and use it to numb their emotions. When you so vividly feel what others feel, it can get overwhelming. So many of us learned to shut down emotionally and reach out to food instead.

I was in my forties before I connected the dots between my trajectory of weight gain over the course of my life and my need to shield myself from absorbing other people’s emotions. That’s when I realized that I suffer from food addiction. In 2005, I put down sugar, flour, wheat, alcohol, caffeine, and other addictive foods that were triggers for me and never picked them up again. Not all empaths suffer from food addiction but many empaths overeat as a way to comfort themselves. My food issues are a combination of both: food addiction and a natural tendency to use food for comfort.

Challenge yourself to step out of your very comfortable comfort zone. Use your awareness to evaluate your relationship with comfort.

Are you overdoing comfort?

What are the consequences?

Are you ready to bring balance and harmony to your life?

If you enjoyed this topic, you are going to love the deep conversations we have in the Thriving Empath Facebook Group for Women.

If you are open to learning the healthiest, most sustainable way to support your wellbeing, consider joining me for my next Reiki class and learn to comfort yourself with Reiki.

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