Do you consider yourself an empath? Are you highly aware of the emotions of those around you? Do you sometimes mistake other people's emotions for your own? Can you sense what other people need emotionally? Consider the list below and sense whether you are an empath.
1. You Absorb Other People's Emotions
Benefits: As an empath, you have highly sensitive mirror neurons in your brain, and can read emotional cues, body language and tones of voice that other people miss. People likely feel deeply heard, seen and understood by you, and will often seek your support.
Challenges: As an empath, you will feel other people's painful emotions as if they are your own. This can lead to over-helping people who are suffering as a way to help yourself feel better.
Absorbing other people's emotions can also pose a challenge when going into public spaces such as shopping malls, concerts, clubs and bars. You can find yourself overwhelmed by intense emotions "out of nowhere" that are not your own.
2. Your Environment Matters
Benefits: Because you are sensitive to your surroundings, you likely will need to spend time in beautiful spaces that are calm, quiet, balanced, beautiful and inspiring, such as in a beautiful garden, an inspiring work studio, or a peaceful bedroom.
Challenges: You will find it hard to be in some places and spaces in the world. Spending time in environments that are messy and disorganized, or that filled with depressing or chaotic energies will be disturbing and dysregulating to your nervous system
3. Your Intuition is Strong
Benefits: As an empath you will be able to intuitively sense what someone is trying to express even before they get all the words out. You will also be able to sense when a person is lying. You will feel it in your gut.
Challenges: Much of social relating involves some falsity as most people are fractured into different hurting personality parts, so you might be tempted to ignore or override your gut instincts about people.
Many empaths that I meet, talk themselves out of other people's selfish intentions because they see the person's soul (or true innocent essence) beneath their human dysfunction.
4. You See and Hear Others Deeply
Benefits: Because you have insight, you are frequently sought out for advice, support and encouragement. People enjoy your patient listening and how you respond from your heart. Because you seek to understand people, others feel deeply seen by you.
Challenges: Your connection with friends and family might feel one-sided, where people see you as a helper, caregiver, and support person only. It might not even occur to them that you need to be reciprocally seen and heard too!
5. You Feel Compelled to Help
Benefits: You want to ease suffering with all your heart and soul. You can see who is hurting, and you want to play your part in the healing of the world.
Challenges: You find it a struggle to "turn off" your concern for others, and you often put others first. This can keep you busy trying to save and serve other people when you need an equal balance of self-care, creativity, and self-reflection for your own emotional well-being.
6. Close Relationships Can Feel Intense
Benefits: Empaths love in very sensitive and all-encompassing ways. It is common for empaths to be so highly attuned to their intimate partners and family members, emotional healing can happen - if the other person is open to being helped.
Challenges: If your loved one is not open to being helped or healed, navigating his or her bad moods can be difficult, and you may need to set healthy boundaries. Creating a quiet meditation corner or a private sanctuary can support you to take care of yourself when others are unwilling or unable to attune to you.