Have you ever just known when someone you cared about needed you? Maybe it was the way they said hello, or maybe they sent you a text that just didn’t sit well with you. Have you ever been called ‘too sensitive’, and not sure how that could be a bad thing? Chances are you may be an empath.
What Is An Empath?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy can be defined as someone’s ability to recognize and share the emotions of another person. They see someone else’s situation from their perspective and share their emotions, including their possible distress. An empath is a person who fits this criteria and recognizes it in themselves .
This is not to be confused with sympathy, or someone who is sympathetic towards others. Sympathy, in short, is a feeling of care and concern for someone, often someone close, accompanied by a wish to see him better off or happier .
Empaths are people who’re high on the empathic spectrum and can feel other people’s emotions in their own bodies. As a result, empaths can have incredible compassion for people—but they run the risk of being exhausted by feeling “too much”, a problem that is very difficult to overcome.
There is some evidence that backs up the belief of empaths and how deeply they can feel. Researchers have discovered a specialized group of brain cells that are responsible for empathy. These cells enable everyone to mirror emotions, to share another person’s pain, fear, or joy, and empaths are believed to have hyper-sensitive mirror neurons that allow them to deeply resonate with other people’s feelings .
How To Recognize An Empath
If you’re still unsure if someone you know, or if even you yourself are an empath, there are a few common traits that you can look out for that are shared by most empaths .
Empaths are natural healers and feel that they need to appear strong for those around them. They also don’t want to be an inconvenience to others, so they hide their own emotions and the fact that they are hypersensitive.
2. They Absorb Emotions
Empaths absorb emotions; if you’re feeling low chances are they are as well. To a certain degree, they are able to literally feel the pain of others.
3. They’re Introverted
Since empaths are so in-tune with the emotions of others, sometimes their only respite is being alone. To avoid drawing suspicion or being rude, they are often extroverted introverts or introverts that partake in extrovert activities.
4. They Heal With Nature
If you or someone you know loves to be in nature, they may just be an empath. Empaths relish any time spent in nature, and will take any opportunity to be outdoors. Nature helps to replenish their positive energy.
5. They Are Human Lie Detectors
Empaths have many different abilities when it comes to reading other people. They are excellent at detecting lies and can see through people’s’ “masks”, and reveal their true intentions.
6. They Give Too Much
Empaths are quick to help others, often at their own expense. Putting others first so often can cause them a lot of emotional trauma, and they shouldn’t ignore their own feelings for too long as they may overflow with unkempt emotions.
7. Highly Intuitive
Empaths have a very good intuition, and are able to make very important decisions based on just their gut feelings. They are very aware of the universe around them and are able to pick up on more than you may think.
8. They’re Easily Stressed
Empaths are easily stressed; they tend to feel common emotions so intensely that they are easily overwhelmed and stressed. If they try to tackle too many tasks at once, it can be very overwhelming and may even take a toll on their health.
9. Easily Taken Advantage Of
Not to say that empaths are weak, but because they are so understanding they are a target for manipulators. They know just what strings to pull to get their way and take advantage of empaths.
10. They Love Deeply
Empaths care about their loved ones and society with a true passion. They are very appreciative for all the people in their lives and tend to love very deeply. They are the most loyal lovers and some of the best friends you can ever have.
How To Protect Yourself If You Are An Empath
While being an empath can be a great gift, it can also be a heavy responsibility. It’s important for empaths to be able to handle their own emotions, not to mention the emotions of those around them. Here are a two key ways an empath can take care of their own well-being while still caring for others .
Look out for ‘psychopaths’, ‘sociopaths’, and narcissists. They have what scientists call ‘empathy deficient disorders’ which means they lack the ability to feel empathy like other people do, which may be caused by an under-active mirror neuron system.
Research has shown that many people pick up the emotions of those around them, like how one crying baby can set off a ward of sleeping babies; this is called emotional contagion. What does this mean for empaths? Choose positive people in their lives so they’re not brought down by negativity. Or if a friend is going through a hard time, take special precautions to ground and center yourself before helping them.
To be an empath can be daunting and a huge responsibility, but to have the ability to help and heal others is also a great gift to share with the world.