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Throughout my life, and into adulthood, I’ve been told so many times, “You’re too sensitive! Get a thicker skin.” I’ve always been one to feel things so deeply, that life could be quite difficult at times. I’ve often wondered why I was so easily wounded when others appeared to just let the same things roll off their backs. Then, when I learned about the characteristics of being an empath, I knew that I had my answer.

“The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People” by¬†Judith Orloff is a great resource for learning about what it means to be an empath, and how to cope when you know that you are one. Reading this book and comparing it with my own experience helped me understand why I am the way I am and move forward in a positive way. Most empaths are introverts, though not all introverts are empaths. Introverted empaths have difficulties in large groups, crowded places, and loud or noisy spaces or people. Below, I’ve outlined some characteristics of being an empath, to help you know if you are one.

1. Empaths Feel the Feelings of Others

Having empathy means that your feelings go out to others. However, being an empath takes it a step further into actually feeling the feelings of others in your own body. Some empaths may feel the physical pain of those who are sick or injured. In my case, I absorb the emotions of other people and actually feel them myself. This can include feelings of animals or nature. When I’m around someone who is negative or sad or going through a season of grief, it can be very difficult for me because I experience these same things. It can make life into a massive roller coaster and can open me up to so much joy and sadness and pain. Learning about what it means to be empath and strategies to manage and protect my energy have been essential living my life.

2. Empaths Can Be Brought Down By Other’s Negativity or Pain

As I mentioned above, we actually experience feelings of others, including negativity. It’s essential for us to be in environments that sustain and protect us. We need to avoid negative people, workplaces, and groups. Of course, life happens and this isn’t always possible, so it is important to learn boundaries and do our best to decompress from stressful experiences. I have started a meditation practice to clear stress and negativity, and to focus on positive and loving thoughts. Time alone and in silence can be so healing, and I take time every morning to savor and protect it.

3. Addictions Are Common In Empaths

When empaths feel a need to numb pain, they can turn to addictions that are unhealthy. As for me, I’ve used food addiction and binge eating throughout my life to manage pain. I’m doing deep and difficult work to end this practice, but it’s not easy. If you have an unhealthy addiction, you may need to turn to professional help to manage it. EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, is a great tool for training your brain to think differently around addictions. I recommend “The Tapping Solution” by Nick Ortner, and I plan to share more about tapping and EFT in future posts. In the meantime, it’s important to recognize this common tendency so you can seek healthier ways to manage your own emotions.

4. Empaths Can Be Deeply Connected to Nature and Animals

I’ve always loved animals, and feel an inexplicable connection to water and the ocean. It can be difficult to explain these connections, but I believe that we feel the feelings of the natural world. Empaths can also be susceptible to changes in weather patterns or full moons. I get anxious during storms, and when I see coverage on the news about natural disasters in other places. We can be passionate about taking care of the environment, animals, and our planet earth.

5. Empaths Have Great Capacity for Intuition, Thoughtfulness, and Creativity

Empaths are independent thinkers, lovers, and dreamers. When we understand ourselves and protect our energy and emotions, we can experience life in beautiful and vibrant colors. We have a gift for taking care of the world and loving people, expressing creativity, and making positive changes in the world. You have a gift, and when you understand it and protect your energy, you can do amazing things!

Are you an empath? I would love to hear from you- leave a comment or send me a message.

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What it means to be an empath