Are you unable to watch or listen to the news? Watch certain movies? Feel overwhelmed around some (most) people? Pick up on bad vibes right away? Feel drained, tense or even nauseous after being around people? Do you need a lot of “alone time” to recharge?
I first came across the word Empath about a year ago in my Pinterest feed. I clicked on it, rather annoyed, because I thought it was a typo. “They spelt the damn word incorrectly,” I thought to myself. “It should be empathy.”
Then, mind blown. Post after post, there were tests that you could take to see if you’re an Empath. It was an actual “thing”. And I very quickly determined I was this thing.
Out of a list of 31 traits, I had 28. Suddenly, so many things in my life made sense.
What is an Empath? It’s not a disorder, though it can be crippling if we’re not careful. For one, we tend to be highly sensitive and/or intuitive. It is someone who has an extreme amount of empathy. We can literally feel what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. For me, it can be very uncomfortable.
It’s usually categorized into 6 main types, though I’ve seen it broken down into as many as 15. I’ll quickly go over just a few. If any of this strikes a chord with you, I invite you to do your own research and start your own journey.
The most common type is the emotional empath, who easily picks up on other people’s emotions. This is what I am.
Next, we have the geomantic. These people are attuned to the physical landscape, will be drawn to nature and need to spend a great deal of time in it. I think a part of me leans in this direction as well, as long as I have all the comforts of a real bed and heat or air-conditioning close-by.
A physical or medical empath will pick up on what ails another person. Understandably, these people often become healers, either in conventional medicine or alternative therapies.
Plant empaths will sense what plants need and have a gift of caring for them. Some even receive guidance from trees or plants. While I think this is cool, I know it would freak me out, so I’m thankful this doesn’t happen to me! Yes, I talk to my plants, but I don’t want them talking back to me.
Not surprisingly, and I’m sure many have already heard of this since “animal whisperers” are quite common now, there are animal empaths. Animals and small children tend to be drawn to them and they may be able to communicate telepathically with animals.
Other common types are telepaths, who can read minds, and mediums, who can see, hear or even feel the spirits of dead people. Did you think it was all fake? It can be. But there’s definitely some legit ones out there. One is a dear friend of mine- I’ve seen her in action. Again, mind blown.
Here’s some fun traits about being an emotional empath: we can “feel” other people’s emotions- I mean, actually feel it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if my feelings are my own or if I’ve soaked up someone else’s. I can also tell if someone is lying. I’ve only been wrong once, to my knowledge.
As I’ve gotten older, and especially since learning this about myself, I’ve learnt how to cope. The first way is to avoid people who have a tendency to be negative. It’s not that I don’t want to be helpful- oh no, because, of course, being an empath, I want to help everyone and everything, and then add in being a yogi on top of that, it can be overwhelming.
“It’s not that I don’t want to be helpful….”
No, it’s about protecting myself from energy vampires– people that are drawn to me because I calm them, yet they will suck the life-force out of me. This is not a healthy exchange.
I’ve also come to accept that no matter how hard I try to help, there’s no getting through to some people. Such exchanges leave me feeling frustrated, drained and agitated.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great listener. I am logical and give great advice, but when the negativity continues, it eventually beats me down. Since I have cancer, I cannot and will not allow this to happen; I must surround myself with positivity.
Empaths generally flourish in a peaceful, calm, quiet setting. I, personally, seldom watch the news, horror movies, deeply sad or disturbing movies because it can affect me negatively for hours. Even watching an embarrassing scene on a show or movie will leave me feeling uncomfortable and fidgety.
I’m not a fan of crowds and I prefer small gatherings with friends or family. In larger settings, I actually have trouble focusing on any one conversation and eventually give up altogether. I am often hyper after such events, then later come crashing down as the energy wears off.
Now, to be clear, this post isn’t aimed at anyone in my current life and it’s not that I don’t want to be around others. I have a wonderful circle of friends whose camaraderie I treasure and enjoy immensely, but in order for me to function optimally, I thrive in small gatherings and for fairly short periods of time.
Does this sound anything like you? Here’s a few common traits of empaths in general. Do you connect with a large number of these? You might be one, too!
-You’re often told you’re too sensitive
-You often have a sore neck, throat or migraines and/or suffer from mental or physical fatigue
-You absorb other people’s emotions
-You must have alone time in order to recharge
-You cannot stand to witness violence or other forms of cruelty
-You are a good listener
-Strangers tend to share their problems with you
-Children and animals are drawn to you
-You are nurturing and caring
-You cannot tolerate drama
-You have mood swings
-You can feel the physical pain that someone else may have
-You seek balance (hello yoga!)
-You are creative (music, art, writing, cooking, baking)
-You avoid crowds
-You direct most of your emotional energy to helping others
-You are stressed when you’re over-stimulated
-You will go out of your way to avoid stressful traffic
-Most people don’t understand you (I’m the crazy one, folks- and I’m okay with that!)
-You experience a healing energy when you’re in nature
-You dislike “small talk”
-You need to dress comfortably otherwise you will feel distracted all day
-People might think you’re cold, shy or snobbish
-If you have a disagreement with someone, you may feel drained for days
-You are often overwhelmed with joy or, alternatively, fear and sadness
-You frequently experience co-incidences
-You often have digestive disorders and lower back problems
-You are drawn to healing and holistic therapies
-You find it hard to do things that you do not enjoy
-You strive for truth (hence find it hard to do things you do not enjoy!)
-You are always on a quest for knowledge
-You consider yourself a free spirit
-You might be prone to carry extra weight
-You cannot be around egotistical people
-You do not like antiques or second hand items as they carry the energy of the previous owner
How many of these traits do you have? Please feel free to share!