Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known that I was an empath, even though I didn’t have a name for it. I was often labeled as “shy” or “quiet” around people outside of my immediate family. I was overly sensitive, but I didn’t understand why. Seeing sad things on television could leave me devastated, and affect me emotionally for weeks, months, and sometimes longer. I was intuitive. I could sense things before they happened. I had visions and dreams that would later come true. Large groups and crowded places caused me to have anxiety, and left me feeling drained. I easily absorbed other people’s energy and thoughts.
For a long time, I thought I was broken. Like many empathic children, I didn’t have anyone to help me understand this, or to guide me on this journey. It wasn’t until adulthood, that I realized that what I have is a precious gift, as long as I could learn to navigate life as an Empath.
Common Traits of an Empath
- Intuitive abilities
- Easily absorbs other’s energy
- Women may have issues with their cycle
- Artistic abilities
- Fiercely independent
- Sensitive to noise, smells, and crowds and a tendency to experience sensory overload
- Needs time alone to recharge
- Easily experiences “burnout”
- Prone to depression and/or anxiety
- Connection to nature and/or animals
- Prone to addiction out of a need to “numb” themselves since everything is felt so deeply. (This can be drugs, alcohol, food, even shopping.)
- Commonly known as “people-pleasers” or overly polite.
- Attracts narcissistic personalities.
- Struggles with setting boundaries.
The Narcissist and the Empath
If you put me in a room with a hundred people, I guarantee you that the narcissists will find me. Like a moth to a flame, narcissists are drawn to empaths and vice-versa. Looking back, it’s evident that the most tumultuous relationships in my life have been with narcissists. I’d hold onto toxic friends and relationships, not seeing them for what they are, or simply thinking I could help them. It’s been a painful process extracting people out of my life, but absolutely necessary for my health and well-being.
Read this brilliant article, to understand more about the toxic attraction between narcissists and empaths.
Survival Tips for Empaths
- Learn how to set boundaries – This is a crucial skill for thriving as an empath and having healthy friendships and relationships.
- Practice self-care – Take time for yourself daily, to nourish yourself and recharge. This can be in the form of yoga, art, meditation, exercise, spending time alone, or with friends. Do whatever makes you feel alive.
- Find kindred spirits – Find your tribe of like-minded individuals, that help you grow as a person.
- Good nutrition – Eating well makes a huge impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
- Spend time in nature – Since empaths struggle with balance, being in nature can help ground you.
- Trust yourself – Learn how to trust yourself and your intuitive abilities over anything else.
- Avoid Energy Vampires – The people that suck the life out of you and leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. Avoid them, especially on days when your energy is already low.
- Find your own spiritual path – Whatever that means for you. Organized religion has been toxic in my life, and the best thing I ever did was walk away from it. That doesn’t mean I’m not a spiritual person or that my path is right for everyone. All I know is that whatever I felt I was searching for in another person, or religion, I found within myself.
- Learn to tell the difference between your own emotions and when you are absorbing someone else’s emotions – This is huge. Just figuring this out, helped me tremendously. It also helped me learn how to block negative energy and keep myself grounded.
- Find a creative outlet – For me that outlet is writing, mostly in the form of journaling. For other Empaths I know, it’s dancing, gardening, painting, drawing, performing, musical, or even homemaking. There is additional joy when you find something nourishing for your soul, that also serves others.
- Women, track your monthly cycle – Dealing with the deep emotions of being an empath, along with monthly hormonal fluctuations, can be especially difficult. Knowing which times during your cycle, that are especially challenging, can help you make better decisions and protect yourself when you’re not in your most balanced state.
- Limit the amount of chemicals you put into your body – Of course Empaths are going to be more sensitive to environmental toxins and harsh chemicals. Whenever possible, choose products with less harmful ingredients.
The World Needs Empaths
Empathy is emotional intelligence. It is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, to view the world through another’s eyes. To be able to perceive the feelings and emotions of another and convey that understanding to the other person.
Empaths are natural healers with their ability to read the energy of the people, places and objects, even though many are not aware of this ability. Empaths have the ability to be great parents, as they are better able to read and understand their children’s emotions. Empaths have a natural respect for other people, animals and the our planet. They naturally understand that we are connected to one another, as they feel and process the energy of others around them.
“The world needs them – the ones who absorb the emotions of others, which diminishes their pain and disquietude and the world also uses them as a repository for confessions, secrets, grudges and indignation. They will leave these uncommon and intuitive individuals feeling unburdened themselves while the unusual individual will be weighed down by having taken on those burdens in addition to their own. The world needs them but what they need is something as aberrant as themselves, and that is silence, stillness and rest.”
― Donna Lynn Hope
So you see, dear Empath, the world very much needs your gift.
“Empaths did not come into this world to be victims, we came to be warriors. Be brave. Stay strong. We need all hands on deck.”
― Anthon St. Maarten