Okay, so I knew the term “empathy”, but I had no idea there was such thing as an “empath” until I stumbled across the term online earlier this year.
After reading the description of one, I was like:
It me. I’M an empath.
Everything started to make sense.
I felt like Steve on Blues Clues, piecing together the details of my life that were unknowingly affected by this new-found identity.
I must have went on an info craze- trying to consume as much information about being an empath as possible.
And that’s why (surprise!) I wanna share my knowledge with you guys.
Because sharing is caring. And also because us empaths gotta stick together.
This post will go as follows:
- Am I an empath?
- Okay, I’m an empath- what now?
- Empath Self-Care
Am I an empath?
- You take on other people’s emotions as your own. No matter what someone else near you is feeling, even if they think they aren’t showing it, you’re likely to pick up on it immediately (via tiny changes in expression, body language, or tone of voice that others miss)
- Sometimes you experience sudden, overwhelming emotions when you’re in public. You suddenly find yourself filled with an emotion that came out of “nowhere” — or, more accurately, from someone else in the area. [Personal example: when I see a homeless person, I “feel” for them and my heart hurts for them]
- The “vibe” of a room matters to you — a lot. Empaths are extremely sensitive to the “feel” or atmosphere of their surroundings. When surrounded by peace and calm, they flourish, because they take on those qualities internally themselves. Contrastingly, chaotic or depressing environments will quickly pull the energy out of an empath.
- You understand where people are coming from. Empaths are able to intuitively sense what someone is trying to express, even when they’re having a hard time getting it out.
- People turn to you for advice. With such insight, empaths are frequently sought out by their friend for advice, support, and encouragement. If this sounds like you, you probably know that it can be hard at times, too — people don’t always realize how much of your energy it takes for you to be the listener an advice-giver, and some people take it for granted.
- Tragic or violent events on TV can completely incapacitate you. If you’re an empath, it doesn’t matter that a horrible event isn’t happening to you, you still feel it through your entire being. You may seem to “live through” the pain or loss of the event yourself. [Personal example: I can’t watch UFC fights, and it’s very rare that I NOT cry when someone in a movie dies. R.I.P. Mufasa!]
- You can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships. Relationships can be challenging for everyone. But imagine how much bigger those challenges are when you can sense every little mood, irritation or, yes, even lie from your partner. And positive emotions can also become overwhelming — as if the relationship may “engulf” you. Sound familiar?
- You’re a walking lie detector. Sure, there probably have been times when someone successfully deceived you… but even then, you knew you were going against your gut instinct from the start. The thing about an empath’s ability to process even the tiniest social cues means that it’s almost impossible for someone to hide their true intentions. Even if you don’t know exactly what a person really wants, you know if they’re not being completely honest — or if they seem shifty.
- You have a calming effect on other people — and the power to heal them. It’s true. Just as people seek out empaths for advice, they also just feel more at peace in an empath’s presence. In fact, people often unwittingly seek out their most empathic friends during difficult times. This is something you can develop and use to actually heal people, in the sense of helping them work past serious emotional baggage and overcome unhealthy patterns. (If this ain’t me to the fullest!! Hence this entire blog lmao)
- You feel drawn to help others. Can you walk past someone who’s in need, without wondering how you could help them? Do you struggle to turn off your concern for others because “there’s a job to do”? If the answer is no — not even when you’re busy, not even when you’re rushed — then there’s good chance you’re an empath.
- You are easily drained by negative people. Do you notice you feel exhausted after hanging around someone who complains a lot?
- The weather affects your mood. Lack of sunlight, or cold/rainy/gloomy weather can make you sad.
Okay I’m an empath. Now what?
According to Dr.Elaine Aron Ph.D, a psychologist and author of the book [The Highly Sensitive Person] (a book about individuals with high measures of sensory processing sensitivity), highly sensitive individuals make up 15-20% of the population.
According to her studies, for a highly sensitive person, the parts of the brain that regulate emotions are simply more responsive than their less sensitive counterparts”.
Okay… gotcha… so what do I do with this information?
As a sensitive person, there is so much to be grateful for:
- You are capable of experiencing exquisite passion and joy.
- You can perceive the bigger picture on a deeper level.
- You are attuned to the beauty, poetry, and energy of life
- Your compassion gives you the capacity to help others.
- You are not cold-hearted.
- You have a special relationship with nature- you feel a kinship with animals, flowers, trees, and clouds.
- You want to protect the earth, our mother, and conserve her precious resources.
- You have the power to positively change yourself, your friends, your family, and the rest of the world.
Empaths are also known as “the healers of the world”, but only when they are empowered empaths. In order to tap into your magic (and not be a victim of it), you must know the dangers of being an empath.
1. An empath’s ability to pick up on the emotions of others is unparalleled.
“When the energy in a room is high and vibrant, empaths feel the full glory of it. On the other hand, when there are emotional vampires lurking about with their pathological envy and their unwarranted spite, empaths feel the full “shock” of that too – they feel the life force sucked out of them quite quickly.”
2. Toxic people love empaths and these relationships can be the breeding ground for self-destruction.
“Narcissists prey on empaths because they know there is plenty of energy, resources and support to “feed” on.
They also use the compassion of empaths to get away with their toxic behavior without ever being held accountable for it. They feast on the generosity of empaths as if it were a daily meal, without having to give much in return.” <– (for those who were ever in toxic relationships- does this ring a bell for ya?)
3. Empaths are emotional sponges if they’re not careful- absorbing negativity and toxicity.
“The strange thing about empaths is that they can get even the most unlikely person to open up and tell their life story in seconds – without even meaning to.
Conversations with an empath can either result in healing on both sides – or they can end in exhaustion for the empath (if an empath is not fully empowered with healthy boundaries).
4. Empaths (and their emotions) are complex.
“Empaths are not all “light and love.” Far from it. Many struggle with depression, anxiety, various addictions and self-doubt due to their high sensitivity and receptiveness to taking on the emotions of others.
The intensity of the emotions empaths experience (whether these emotions are their own or residual energetic vibes from others) can leave them easily drained.
Their emotions are part of an intricate web of their own perceptions, the perceptions, reactions and emotions of others around them, as well as their own emotions towards the way others feel.
[These are direct quotes from the article. To read the full article click here ThoughtCatalog]
Did this list hit close to home for you guys? Because it sure did with me.
Now, I’m gonna equip you with ways to protect yourself as an empath.
Ways to protect yourself:
Avoid the “Energy Drainers” aka:
- the (constant) complainers
- the gossipers (have you noticed that even when you try not to gossip, if you’re around someone who gossips you get sucked into gossiping too?)
- the people who take things too personally
- the over-stressers
- those who are always involved in drama
- those who criticize you all the time
Stay away from anyone who makes you the kind of exhausted that has nothing to do with sleep. If their absence brings you peace- this is a huge indicator that they’re an energy-drainer.
- It’s not your job to fix others
- You can’t save everyone- and that’s ok.
- It’s OK to say NO.
- Don’t take responsibility for the irresponsible behaviors of others
- Don’t be anyone’s emotional punching bag/dumping zone for all their problems
- Don’t give away too much of your time.
- Don’t feel guilty for dedicating time to yourself
- SPEAK UP when being mistreated or taken advantage of
- LEAVE when you are being taken advantage of/used
Example phrases of setting boundaries (aka drawing the line):
- “I have a problem with that”
- “I don’t want to”
- “I’ve decided not to”
- “This is what I need”
- “This is hard for me to say, but…”
- “I understand your point of view, but…”
- “I feel uncomfortable about…”
- “I’d rather not”
- “Yes, I do mind.” <— this one is my biggest struggle LMAO
- “I’d prefer not to”
- “It’s important to me”
- “That’s unacceptable”
- “I guess we see it differently”
Know (& remind yourself):
- Not everyone wants to get better
- How to let go of things you can’t control
- To not do anything that doesn’t “feel right”
- Nobody has to agree with you
- It’s okay to cancel out on plans to “recharge”
- You don’t have to say “yes” to everything. Rachel Hollis, one of my favorite entrepreneurs says: “If someone asks you to go somewhere, and the answer isn’t a ‘hell yes’…. then it’s a NO.”– don’t guilt yourself into plans. STOP THAT!
- You are responsible for your own happiness
- You have a right to your own feelings
- You have a right to express your needs honestly
- Believe the obvious red flags and don’t empathize when you see them. This is a way for manipulation. You come first– protect yourself.
- Believe people when they show you who they really are. Do not paint a different picture for them because you feel for them.
& the most important thing:
Put. Your. Self. First.
I know that some (if not all) of the things on this list are hard to do, but you guys- we cannot pour from an empty cup.
We have to put ourselves first because we have the natural tendency to put ourselves LAST.
This year, I really put my foot down and worked on that list of things- and I swear my life transformed. Look at me now! With this blog 🙂 helping you all, sharing my knowledge- my heart keeps growing because I am nourishing myself so I can nourish others.
Give yourself the same care and attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom honey!
Also, as a person who always feels for others, it’s important to make “me time” so you’re not always burning out. Because you’re soaking up all these energies, it’s imperative to recharge. And often.
Here’s a step by step process to implement a self-care regime:
& then here are some self-care activities (feel free to save this list!):
My favorite ways to recharge (as an empath):
- A short-guided meditation via [Headspace] app– I do this for only 5 minutes every morning!
- Take short walks in nature
- Do a group workout (I am an OrangeTheory fan!)
- Organizing stuff (I know, I’m weird! lol)
I hope after reading this, some of you have gained clarity. Growing up, I always felt different because I thought I “felt too much”.
But now, after learning my gifts and meeting other empaths (I can recognize who’s an empath too now), I know that it can truly be a gift- and not a curse- if properly equipped with the knowledge and the tools to flourish as a healer.
To my fellow empaths, now more than ever- the world needs us.
The world needs sensitive and empathetic people to counter the cold, cruel ways of the hurting.
It is not only a gift, but our responsibility to help humanity heal so that the world can be a better place.
We are a part of the small population that can warm the cold-hearted.
It starts with us.
“Dear empath: You are a being of immense depth, wisdom, and compassion. You are a pioneer and trailblazer of humanity, a model for others on how to be sensitive and powerful. All the strength and love you need is already within you, waiting to be discovered.”
― Mateo Sol [Awakened Empath]
If you want a brief introduction and more in depth-explanation about being an empath, this short 20-minute podcast will give you more details about being one, protecting your energy from energy-vampires, and how to separate yourself from other people’s emotions.
I highly recommend getting started with this (below)!
& then this is a podcast with lots more discussions/a community of empaths sharing their stories:
& here are some great books!
If you enjoyed this post, you’d probably like my [Overthinking: How it affects your body & how to stop it] post!