Some days it’s like I’m an alien from another planet – no one understands me, and sometimes I don’t even get myself. I feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and I’m less apt to intellectualize feelings. I’m essentially walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others. I’m a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if I’m not careful can end up as my own.
Occurring in an estimated 5% of the population, Empaths are known for their highly developed ability to sense the emotions and thoughts of the people around them. Empathy is much underrated. From childhood, we learn that brute strength, toughness, and smarts are what we need to succeed and be happy in life. We rarely celebrate sensitivity, or the beauty of caring deeply. Too often, sensitivity is seen as a weakness, something to be ashamed of (and more so for men than for women, which is why sensitive men have it especially rough).
Empaths possess an ability that is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the Empath is an excellent listener and counselor, knowing the best way to comfort and assist those around them. On the other, being an Empath can be painful and tiring. It’s common for the Empath to be weighed down and constantly congested with the negative emotional energy of others, often creating physical and psychological disharmony.
Our lives are unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. We’re always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that we REALLY feel, and in many cases we take on the emotions of others. We see other people in shades of gray, rather than black or white, and we don’t over identify with one separate group. Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.
Here is a little peek into what it’s like being an angst-sucking sponge on a daily basis.
As an Empath I spend most of my days struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as my own feelings. It’s takes me a long time, and a lot of practicing – using mindfulness, noticing how I feel after spending time with others. It makes it much easier to weed out the hazardous people.
If I feel too much, even happy experiences can quickly make me feel over stimulated or hyper, which can trigger anxiety, because that sense of excitement seems out of my control. I start feeling un-grounded and anxious, and begin looking for a sanctuary from all the excitement. I have to develop coping mechanisms and sometimes it’s just too much.
I spend most of my time isolated from others. I know some empathetic people who completely numb out and shut down, unable to feel anything at all because it’s too scary. To heck with feelings—I developed a very strong personality to ensure that I can control who connects with me and who doesn’t. And guess who needs to always be in control of that dial, more than likely on the “Don’t come near me unless I say how, when, and exactly for how long” setting?
On top of that, the vibes I feel aren’t always pleasant. People’s anger easily rattles me, even when it’s just a shouting match on a reality TV show. When someone is callous or insensitive, I feel uneasy. This is true even if the person’s behavior isn’t directed at me but, rather, at someone else. If I hear about people or animals suffering, I just can’t bear it. Grief or anger settles over me like a dark, heavy blanket and it dampens my mood for hours, even days.
As an empath I’m highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection and talk openly, and at times quite boldly, and a lot. I have few problems talking about my thoughts and/or feelings if another cares to listen, regardless of how much they listen to others. Complete strangers find it easy to talk to me about the most personal things, and before they know it, they’ve poured out their heart and soul, and all of their thoughts without intending to do so consciously.
I always strive for the truth. Anything untruthful just feels plain wrong. All I have to do is look at someone’s face, or listen to his or her tone of voice and I know if they’re being truthful. If someone is saying one thing, but feeling/thinking another, I know. I don’t know how to explain it. I just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though most describe it this way. Go ahead and research the ‘Solar plexus chakra’ the center of the abdomen. You’ll find this is called, the seat of emotions. This is where Empaths feel the incoming emotions of another.
I’m outgoing, enthusiastic and a blast to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments. I’m a free spirit who loves adventure, freedom and travel. As easy as it is to get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work, etc., I never get lost in the mechanical way of living. It provides very little meaning. I find rules, routine, and control, imprisoning, and anything that takes away my freedom is debilitating, even poisoning.
My relationships are filled with intense bonding and equally intense separations. Sometimes, I crave intense emotional, physical, and spiritual bonding. At other times, I need so much space, that having my own personal galaxy feels crowded too. I can merge with others at the drop of a hat, but sometimes I get so entangled that an ‘emotional exorcism’ of someone I care about is often the only way to get my space. I’m vulnerable to emotional abusers who like to manipulate. My giving nature attracts narcissists, who crave the mirroring and validation empaths offer. In the meantime, I’m able to create a fantasy, in which the relationship lives up to its potential – and then I inhabit that fantasy as though it were real.
Although, Empaths are kind, and often very tolerant of others, I do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first, and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.
I’m a romantic at heart. I am the ‘keeper’ of ancestral knowledge and family history. I’m always looking for answers and knowledge to the point of information overload. I believe where there is a will there is a way, and I will find it.
It can take me a while to handle a compliment. I’m more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. I have the ability to tell a great story due to my endless imagination, inquisitive mind, and ever-expanding knowledge.
I’m a great listener. I love to learn and know about others and I genuinely care. I have a love for nature and animals, and being outdoors is a must for me. My pets are an essential part of my life. I’m super sensitive! Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or an animal easily brings me to tears.
I become lost in music, to the point of being in a trance-like state. Everything around me becomes non-existent. I have a broad interest in music to suit my many expressive temperaments. Lyrics within a song can have adverse effects on me; sometimes it’s easier to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with my emotions.
I’m an extreme daydreamer, who can stare into space for hours. I have very vivid and/or lucid dreams. I dream in detail and am very inquisitive of my dream content. It’s difficult keeping focused on the mundane. I get bored and distracted easily if not stimulated. *If life isn’t stimulating, off I will go into a detached state of mind. I’m a quiet achiever. I’m a problem solver, thinker, and researcher.
Contrary to the above, I can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best times. I may even appear angry, moody, shy, aloof, and disconnected. Depending on how I’m feeling will depend on what face I show to the world. If I’ve taken on too much negative I’ll appear quiet and unsocial. I can be weighed with mood swings, that will have others around me wanting to jump overboard and abandon ship!
The thoughts and feelings I receive from any and all can be so overwhelming that my moods fluctuate with lightening speed. One minute I’m happy and with the flick of the switch, I’m miserable. A simple return of empathic – listening and caring without bias, judgment and/or condemnation – can go along way in bringing me back to my better mood.
If you find yourself affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others, then you may be an Empath. Don’t worry; it’s not a bad thing. Some Empaths are good at ‘blocking out’ others. Others will feel emotions of those nearby, and others will feel emotions from a vast distance away, or both. The more adept Empath, will know if someone is having bad thoughts about him or her, even from a great distance.
If you’re looking for heart, Empaths have it. Through thick and thin they’re there for others, they’re world-class nurturers.