As an empath, it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with every day experiences that most would consider oddities. I used to think the term empath was synonymous with sensitive. In a world where sensitive is seen as problematic or weak, it can take a while to own up to being one of these peculiar creatures. What is an empath? If you search the Oxford Dictionary, it makes empaths sound like fictitious lab experiments gone awry: “A person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” Empaths possess Clairsentience (the ability to feel another person’s emotions and/or physical state). That being said, we aren’t pansy push overs either.
If you are a fellow empath, know that you are not alone. And if you happen to be one of those brave individuals who know and love us, there are a few things you should know…
1. We Just Know Things. Like what time you’ll get home or when your next door neighbor might break her hip. Case in point, I can usually tell when one of my best friends is having a horrible day without talking to her.
2. Our Senses are in Overdrive. Our senses are heightened almost all day every day. We notice things you don’t: overwhelming emotions from the person who just walked in the door or the sadness of an animal.
3. We Take It All In. Every. Single. Last. Thought, feeling, or even physical ailment.
4. We Feel Your Pain. Did I mention we can physically feel the pain or life-threatening situation of a loved one or sometimes even a stranger from thousands of miles away? Don’t be surprised if we call to make sure you’re okay. I once was in a panic with horrible chest pain. I thought “This must be what a heart attacks feel like.” It turned out, my grandmother was having a heart attack, not me. I had no idea. She lived hundreds of miles away. Empaths are known to have stomach and digestive issues from not knowing how to prevent taking on the feelings and physical ailments of others and are often misdiagnosed with anxiety. This can be prevented by setting boundaries.
5. We Know Genuineness When We See It. We’re just a bundle of feelings and knowledge, remember?
6. We have the Instinctive Need to Protect. Since we feel others deeply, we tend to protect the afflicted and underprivileged and we don’t care who we have to fight to do it.
7. We Listen Non-Stop. For some reason, people tend to tell us their life stories within ten seconds of meeting us. People also like to dump their problems onto us which in turn can really drain us emotionally, mentally, and physically.
8. We Carry the Weight of the World on Our Shoulders. Literally. We need to recharge alone or by taking a day to catch up on sleep.
9. Sometimes We Don’t Know Where You End and We Begin. We can become so connected to others that we actually need time to sort out our thoughts, emotions, and even what is going on in our physical body to know the difference between you and ourselves. The down side to being an empath is that if we aren’t careful, we will neglect our health for the needs of others.
10. We Want to Heal Others. Most of us are spiritual people, seeking to show others love and try to find a way to heal a hurting world whether its by volunteering at church, helping the needy, learning holistic medicine, or giving back to nature.
12. We’re Creative at Our Core. Since we are in touch with our senses, we tend to have the uncanny ability to harness any form of expression: dance, art, writing, singing, carpentry, photography, acting, design, you name it.
13. We Crave Knowledge. We know things without realizing how we know it. This drives us to seek answers to confirm what we know without explanation.
14. We Love Adventure. While we can be overcome by our heightened senses, we balance it out as best we can with the explorer living inside of us. We are naturally curious about the world around us, especially since there are so many things we experience that others find difficult to understand.
15. Nature is Our Safe Haven. For some inexplicable reason, one of the tell-tale signs of a natural-born empath is a deep love for nature and animals. Nature and the pureness of animals brings us peace and joy. Personally, I love looking around and seeing everything God has created. It gives me a sense of connection with the world. As a bonus, animals communicate with us by emotions instead of voice, something we empaths relish. Some empaths have the ability to communicate with animals on another level (think of the film, The Horse Whisperer).
16. Clutter Distracts Us. I can’t explain it except to say that for me, personally, I find it hard to focus on what I know and why I know it and what I feel and who its coming from in the midst of clutter. Simplicity is welcomed.
18. We Want to Know It’s Okay to Be Us. Most of us have learned that we need to ignore what we feel and experience in order to be an active participant in this thing called life. The trouble is, we experience life x 20 with the extra emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations from others. This can cause us to feel alone and misunderstood. Everyone wants to be seen for who they really are and to be accepted. We as empaths, are no exception to this rule. If anything, we need to be told we are accepted despite our psychic/intuitive abilities. We are there for others and sometimes that causes us to lose sight of ourselves.
19. Most of Us are Psychic. Did you know by definition, most empaths are psychic? By psychic, I mean:
Clairtangency-The ability to touch and know/experience things.
Clairvoyance-Intuitive vision (whether dreams, seeing, or simply, “knowing”).
Some empaths even get sick with extreme weather changes or before natural disasters happen.
20. Tell Us It’s Okay. You may not understand and that’s fine. Just knowing you are there and will stand by our side means the world to us. A bonus of having an empathic loved one is not only are we sensitive to others needs, but we are also sensitive to yours. We can make the best friends.
Does the list seem staggering? Imagine what we experience on a daily basis. That’s why we need your love, loyalty, and friendship. For us, being an empath can be a blessing or a curse. The next time you encounter an empath, give them a hug. If you happen to be the empath, take a deep breath and breathe. You may feel the whole world but you are only one person. Be patient with yourself.