One of the most highly-anticipated features of our Summer 2021 issue was an interview with the acclaimed author Anita Moorjani. She spoke to us about her near-death experience, and the great value of sensitivity and empathy. We previously published a sneak peek of this article to our site, and today, we’re sharing the whole thing. Enjoy!
Sensitivity is Strength
A conversation with Anita Moorjani
by Aisling Cronin
Interviewers: Paul Congdon and Jane Stephenson
Anita Moorjani is a world-renowned spiritual author, speaker and teacher. We were honoured to speak with her recently on the subjects of sensitivity, strength, and the courage it takes to fully be oneself.
Anita is well-known for her 2012 book ‘Dying to be Me’, which chronicled a near-death experience she went through six years earlier. ‘In 2006, after a four-year battle with cancer, I fell into a coma and was given hours to live,’ she explains. ‘As my doctors gathered to revive me, I was given the choice to return to my physical form or to continue into this new realm. I chose the former, and when I regained consciousness, my cancer began to heal. Since then, I’ve heeded the call to share this powerful story—and divine lesson—with the world: Love yourself fully. That’s what you’re here to do.”
This is a message she powerfully expresses in her new book, ‘Sensitive Is the New Strong’, which focuses on the harnessing and fostering of empathic gifts. Anita helps empaths — whether emerging or acknowledged — to navigate obstacles they may face and identify what makes them unique. She teaches them how to claim their true powers as empaths, with the ultimate aim of shifting the planet in a more harmonious direction.
According to Anita, this shift has never been more needed.
‘Ruthlessness, competitiveness, winning at all costs … these are considered strengths in our current society,’ she says. ‘People with these qualities are the ones who tend to rise to the top, precisely because these are the traits we have been led to value. This is why the world is in the state it’s in today. Traits like empathy, gentleness and compassion haven’t been valued. Sensitive people don’t get into power, because we think those qualities we have are weak. So we have to change the metrics of what it means to be strong if we want to see a different world. Love, empathy and sensitivity deserve to be seen as strengths.’
Anita is passionate about helping empaths to be secure and at peace with who they are. She understands the hurdles that sensitive people can face in a world that doesn’t always honour their needs.
‘Many empaths have a problem with being assertive,’ she comments, ‘as they worry that being assertive must mean being aggressive. One thing I often recommend to people who struggle with this is: imagine you have a spectrum, or sliding scale. On one end of the scale is aggressive behaviour, in the middle of the scale, you have healthy, assertive actions, and at the other end of the scale, you have passiveness. Empaths who are on the passive end of that scale allow people to walk all over them, and this is how they lose their energy.’
On the difference between assertiveness and aggression, Anita adds, ‘when you are being assertive, you are just taking back control of your own life. You are identifying that ‘I am a soul, I have a purpose, and I need to keep my battery charged so that I can fulfil my purpose.’ Aggression involves wanting to control not just your own life, but somebody else’s life too. So when you simply want to take decisions about your own life, you are not being selfish for doing that. When you don’t want anyone to control you, nor do you want to control other people, that’s exactly where you need to be.’
The nurturance of compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can offer to an embattled world.
Humanity’s present reality will improve when we fully engage with our ability to love and understand those around us. Anita says, ‘the biggest issue we face today is divisiveness. If we can heal the underlying division that we have in society, our other problems will disappear too. I feel that the way the world was, before lockdown happened, couldn’t have kept going. If we had kept moving in that direction, we would have self-combusted. Our world was led by people who were not empathic, were not sensitive, and were power-hungry.’
She is passionate about spreading one, simple truth. ‘Love can heal us. I believe that now we’ve been forced to stop on our tracks, we can turn inward and realise that. I still have hope that people will continue to reflect, and will realise that our primary problem in society is that we lack compassion for each other. As soon as we understand that, and step into compassion, we will be able to heal.’
Anita states that our main purpose in life is to love. This begins with loving ourselves, before spreading that love outwards to embrace others.
She likens the process of revealing our own authentic selves to Michelangelo’s artistic process of chipping away at a block of marble, until the angel within was set free. ‘A lot of people worry that becoming your authentic self must mean studying hard, doing great things, trying out all kinds of methods … yet the simple truth of being authentic is that it involves an undoing: a gradual release of all the things that are not you. When you are able to do that, you are also able to have healthy relationships with others. You understand that your role is not to fix all of their problems or let them walk all over you, as empaths can be prone to do. Your role is to love yourself, first of all, and then love them: remembering, all the while, that this love begins with you.’
For more information on Anita’s new book, ‘Sensitive is the New Strong’, as well as her other books, teachings and videos, go to anitamoorjani.com