You hear it all the time. Someone says, “I’m an empath,” and then uses that to explain away why they’re unable to control their emotions around other people. Is that truly what being an “empath” is?
An empath is someone who is very empathetic. Empathy is defined as the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You can see a situation from their point of view. In many cases, you can experience the emotions someone else is having (and in situations involving very strong emotions, it’s hard to tell whether an emotion is yours or someone else’s).
Everyone can experience empathy to some degree. Chances are good that you’ve felt your heart go out to someone telling you about a difficult situation they experienced. However, empaths absorb so much emotion from others that it can become painful. They often feel that they need to shoulder the burdens of the world.
Empaths are more sensitive to the environment and social interactions. They’re often insightful and tend to be introverted rather than extroverted. They can read people well and often intuitively understand things about others without having to be explicitly told.
While empaths certainly experience many benefits, they also experience some drawbacks. It’s very easy for an empath to feel overwhelmed or overloaded in stimulating environments. They tend not to do well in crowds and can take long periods to release tension after a busy day involving lots of interpersonal interaction.
Wondering where you fall on the empathy scale? Here are a few questions to answer.
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then you’re a highly sensitive person. To help keep yourself balanced, make time for yourself every day to “let go” of other people’s emotions. Spend time in nature, focus on meditative practices, and balance socialization with solitude. Contact Mel Doerr to learn more!
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