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What does it mean to be an empath?
Empaths are people that are highly sensitive to the feelings and emotions of others around them. An empath absorbs those emotions like a sponge which can make it incredibly difficult to differentiate between our own emotions and that of others around us. It leaves us feeling drained and exhausted when around energy ‘vampires,’ or elated and high when around positive people.
We need to be very careful who we choose to spend our time with, as it can have a direct impact on our well being. We also need to learn how to protect ourselves when we don’t have a choice about who we come into contact with…
Why you shouldn’t feel alone as an empath
Empaths aren’t actually as rare as you may think, and it’s definitely not a new concept. Highly sensitive people have always been around, we just haven’t necessarily always know what we were. Struggling to understand why everything seems so overwhelming. We tend to be introverted, so we get labelled as unsociable, when in reality, we just find it hard to cope with the barrage of emotions that we receive around other people.
It’s also another one of those situations where people don’t talk about things they don’t understand or are afraid of. Although there is actually a scientific reason why some people are empaths, it’s still thought of as a ‘paranormal’ phenomenon, and believe it or not, even Google rates it as science fiction!
You have a gift
There are many traits that empaths have in common, below are some of them:
Sensitivity – we tend to be naturally giving, open and good at listening. We will be there for our friends and family no matter what. But it often leads to us being taken advantage of, with those around us thinking we can handle anything.
We absorb others’ emotions – we take in the good, the bad and the ugly! We feel pretty much everything, and usually far more than we want to. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and exhaustion around negative people, but also, calm, serenity and peace around happy people.
We have a tendency to be introverts – this isn’t because we don’t like people, but because we have to be selective about what type of energy we can cope with. If we are already struggling with low mood, being around others in the same frame of mind, can lead to deep depression. So we seek out positive people, and if we can’t find any, we prefer our own company. It’s also important to note, that the exhaustion of being around negative people leads us to needing alone time.
We are intuitive – we rely heavily on our intuition. The gut feeling we get around people is something we take very seriously. If our intuition is telling us that someone isn’t good for us, it’s usually true
We can find romantic relationships too much – when committing to another person in life, we give everything, which can be scary for an empath. The possibility that we may lose ourselves through the intensity of another persons emotions is a very real problem for an empath. We may seek out like minded people to share our hearts with, but more often than not, we are drawn to calm, peaceful, and stable people. They help us regain our equilibrium and can feel like home to us.
We are targets for energy vampires – unfortunately, our giving and sensitive nature, makes us a magnet for needy people. They come to us for problem solving and advice. Worse still, selfish people seem to be drawn to us to fulfil their own needs, making us feel like we are less than we are. Many of us end up in bad relationships before we realise we are empaths, and these people that we get involved with will sap us of our will, energy and enthusiasm. It’s important for an empath to try to recognise these signals and get out of this type of relationship as soon as possible, as it can do long term, lasting damage.
We are energised by nature – we are often drawn to greenery or water. This has a lot to do with our chakras and needing to cleanse them. The more negative energy we absorb, the more replenishment we will need. Nature is a calming influence for us and helps to restore the positive energy we crave. Nature gives without expecting anything in return, which is so much like our own personality and is why we are extremely in tune with it.
Too much stimulation can overwhelm us – too much noise, overpowering smells, distressing sights. We feel them all far too much. Feeling overwhelmed by the plight of others, we become much too involved in trying to solve their problems. In short, too much stimulation on our senses will leave us feeling incredibly anxious and out of control.
We wear our hearts on our sleeves – we love too much, feel too much and give too much. Because we feel the plight of others as our own, we will try to solve problems, but almost always at the cost of our own well being. We stay late at work to get tasks finished. Lend money to people when they are short even if it means going without ourselves. But above that, we take on the emotions of these people and feel their pain, and so we then find ourselves with two sets of emotions which is incredibly confusing and emotionally exhausting.
How do you know if you’re an empath?
All empaths are individuals so there will be many things you feel that others don’t and vice versa, but below are some of the many things that are signs of being an empath:
You know things – you will often put it down to coincidence or intuition, but it goes beyond that. We are more attuned to the world around us and pick up on energy that others don’t, which leads to an almost psychic ability to know things that seem impossible to know.
Being around crowds can be overwhelming – too many people causes overstimulation, it can make you feel claustrophobic and kick your flight mode into overdrive.
Taking other people’s emotions on as your own – this is one of the most common traits of an empath. We find it hard to tell the difference between which emotions are ours and which ones belong to others and so we often find ourselves feeling the pain and desperation of those we try to help. This can make it really difficult for us to go into healing professions, such as nursing or veterinary work.
Seeing violence or cruelty, even on TV is unbearable – watching programs or movies with distressing story-lines can be like a physical assault on our senses. Seeing animals and children in horrible situations in particular can leave us feeling devastated.
You suffer with digestive problems – the digestive system is often referred to as the ‘second brain,’ and is the area of the solar plexus chakra. When too many negative emotions build up in an empath, you become ungrounded and inevitably end up with digestive disorders such as IBS. Learning how to protect your energy and cleanse your chakras will help ease this problem
Seeking out and protecting people less fortunate than yourself – we have a tendency to be drawn to people in need, largely due to the energy they emit, it makes us want to protect them, but again, it can have a detrimental effect on our own well being when we get too drawn into their emotions and pain.
You are unwittingly everyone’s agony aunt – people you hardly know will tell you their life stories, in detail, and expect you to have the answers. Friends and family will often say of you that you are a really good listener, and wise. But they don’t always consider that you don’t actually invite their confessions!
You feel exhausted all the time – you’re dealing with other people’s problems as well as your own constantly. It’s draining on your mind and body, and even a good nights sleep doesn’t fix it.
You are drawn to healing, alternative therapies and spiritual practices – empaths are drawn to anything natural, including healing practices such as crystal healing, herbs and aromatherapy, and chakra healing. However, many find it hard to practice healing on others. This is because we end up absorbing too much energy from the one we are trying to help. We are also very open minded people; not a lot surprises us, especially when it comes to the spiritual side of things. We tend to be more accepting of situations without judgement.
You are very creative – empaths have a very strong connection to their creativity. Whether it be music, dancing, hand crafts or art, you will have a passion for something creative.
You have a love of nature and animals – there’s nowhere you love being more than outside. In the woods or near the sea, it’s all the same to you, but you need it. And your life is not complete without pets. You will probably be vegetarian or vegan, or considering it, and the conservation of our planet is important to you.
You need alone time – everyday life slams waves of emotion into you. It is imperative that you get time for just you, where you can just be and not have to think or feel for a while.
You’re a knowledge junkie – you need answers…to everything! You need to know everything about people or topics that interest you, and you believe that knowledge is power.
You hate clutter – an untidy space makes your mind feel cloudy; organisation and control make you feel better.
You feel the need to buy things brand new – old things that have belonged to others can carry their energy. This can be difficult for an empath, so given the financial freedom, you will choose to buy new over old where possible.
These are some, but not all of the most common traits of empaths. If you find yourself nodding along as you are reading this, the chances are you are an empath!
How to protect yourself if you’re an empath
Firstly, you need to work out if the emotion is yours or someone else’s. Did you feel it before you came into contact with this person? If not, chances are it’s their emotions you’re picking up on. Now try the following:
- Turn your attention to your breath and repeat a mantra in your mind. Something like ‘this is not mine,’ or ‘give this back’ should be enough to dispel at least some of it for you
- Move away from the person, situation or image that is upsetting you. Physically putting some distance between it/them and yourself can be enough to help
- Have a warm bath with Epsom salts and aromatherapy oils and you will feel re-energised. Water is healing
- Set yourself limits for being around negative people, and tell them. This will let others know that you are uncomfortable with the conversation. It will also ‘train’ them not to unload all their troubles on you every time you see them
- Make sure you get alone time. Being alone helps you to recharge and remove negative energy that you have picked up. Especially if you can be in nature; grounding yourself is incredibly healing, and will give you back your sense of calm
- Use crystals to help protect and heal you
What crystals are good for empaths?
Hematite – will help soothe your emotions after prolonged exposure to negativity
Fluorite – helps to balance the emotions
Rose Quartz – balances the heart chakra, great for relationships
Amethyst – a very powerful crystal that increases psychic ability, allowing you to shield yourself when needed
Being an empath is a gift, not a curse. You just have to learn how to control it, not let it control you. Having empathic abilities brings you into even closer connection with those that you love and can enhance all your relationships. Not to mention how it allows you to be fully in tune with our beautiful planet.
Learn how to use it to your advantage and enjoy your gift!
What does it mean to be an empath to you? Do you have any tips on how to protect yourself? Do you have any thoughts to share? Let me know in the comments!