When my friend Miffy said I was an Empath, my natural skepticism kicked in. I never considered myself a people person, there were days when I would have been happy to have been tucked away on a deserted uncharted island just to be away from the drama and heartache that people carried around and like to fling about as it they were perfectly entitled. I wasn't about to believe I was some kind of overly sensitive, cry at all the Hallmark and Disney things kind of person...except I did cry those things, whether I would admit it at the time or not. I had been raised to be the rock, not the mushy one, and so I thought I had every reason to be skeptical.
It took many years to really come to grips with what it meant to be an Empath and to see through the emotional defenses I had built around my tender heart. And then a few years to really see the emotional pattern I carried with me being an Empath afraid of being hurt by the cold, cruel world. Seeing those things about one's self comes with time as they are common stages in acceptance and learning. But being an Empath is nothing like what we see in movies or in books.
I think a sensitive is a person who is sensitive to the energies and information contained in those energies emitted by all things in Creation.An Empath is a special receiver of energy, a receiver who is sensitive to emotional energy. Click To Tweet
The way each of us recognizes this sensitivity is a very innate and personal thing. Some feel emotions of others in their body, some understand the emotional motivations in an instant, some mimic or copy the emotions they are around, some can pick on emotions from the distant past, or even the emotions of those beyond the veil.
There are many sites out there many lists of the common traits of an Empath, but the list below is what I consider the core experience of an Empath. This is not a laundry list of all the experiences that an Empath could have, but the most commons I have heard.
Some of the core traits of an Empath that you might experience in your daily life are:
- You know when people are lying to you;
- You know when someone is upset, even if they refuse to admit it;
- You know when people leave things out of their story or conversation;
- You know when a loved one is hurting, in pain, or is passing, even if they are far from you;
- You know when the flow of the day, week, or place is off or dragging;
- You know when a place or person has a dense or “negative” energy or emotion about them;
- When you enter a room or place you know when the energy off or dense or chaotic due to fighting, depression, crisis, mental illness, or even loss from one or more of it's previous occupants.
- You might know when when spirits are present, because you can tap into their emotional or mental states or they seem attracted to you.
- You can become can be easily overwhelmed by other's emotions, like grief, anger, excitement and so forth. This may lead you try to mimic or mirror the emotion being displayed, like meeting anger with anger, or feeling yourself get hyped up to match another's excitement;
- Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers, for validation or healing;
- Being in public places can be overwhelming for better or worse. A high vibe crowd may leave you on an energy high till the next day or week. A low vibe crowd can create anxiety or uneasiness;
- Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable or soul wrenching;
- You have a hard time dealing with “negative” people or situations;
One of the biggest complaints I have heard is that empaths have a hard time dealing with negativity. Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed with negativity that we have problems dealing with crowds, even if they are small crowds of friends and family members. We have problems dealing with stress and anxiety, and if we don’t come to terms with our empathy, we can reach a point of emotional overload where we shut down. It is often said that empaths are emotional sponges. This is called Empathic Overwhelm and I'll talk more about it in Block #7 in my free ebook "Thriving with Empathy" that is part of my Essential Sensitive's survival kit that you can get for signing up here.
But know this now, you don't HAVE to feel that way. Being an Empath doesn't mean you have to be an emotional train wreck. The challenge and ultimate destiny in this gift is becoming a master of your special gift so that you can help the healing of yourself and others. My own story of acceptance of my gift came with realizing my lack of faith of in people meant I was already suffering from Empathic Overwhelm and I needed to heal my heart. This very personal path of healing continues today as I relearn to be vulnerable and open, the more so I become, the clearer my gift becomes and the father and farther I get from thinking of this gift as any sort of curse.