Empath and Empathy, you might have believed to be the same. However, the Characteristics and Attributes of an Empath are Different. In this article I will share with you these differences Guiding you through the challenges faced when you have the gift of being an Empath.
Key Difference Between an Empath & having Empathy
The key difference between being an empath and empathy is that empathy is reliant on external cues such as a form of a loved one going through a difficult time, getting a distressed phone call from a friend in trouble or a life event that causes upset or anxiety.
An empath is a person who does not require external cues but has the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual, even when the person isn’t present in their company. This is especially true when it comes to loved ones and family members. Being an empath is something you are born with an innate ability and gift to tune into your intuitive attributes, putting them to positive use within your community, work, family and friends.
Empath & Empathy
The word empath comes from the emotional term empathy, having the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of others outside of your own perspective. An example: A friend has just lost their job of 15 years. Empathy is your ability to understand the level of pain or distress that your friend or fellow person would be going through during this time.
An Empath is the innate ability that goes deeper where you feel a sensation of emotions as if they were part of your own experience. You will feel a deep sense of pain or happiness within, that if care isn’t taken may effect your own emotional state and wellbeing.
Closeness & Intimacy can be Overwhelming
Building Positive lasting Relationships is Vital for Developing Balanced Emotions & Achieving Optimal Health
Due to empaths heightened sense of awareness having intimate and close relationships can be challenging. You want to connect and develop a lasting relationship. But spending too much time with someone can lead to stress, overwhelm and worries about losing yourself in the relationship. To overcome this, it is important to have your own interests, career and space so as not to lose yourself.
You will often be aware of sensory overload, feelings of anxiety, panic when there is too much talking or physical contact. When expressing your feelings of being alone, you will be aware of your partner or friends hurt feelings that can make you more distressed. However, if you point out that it is not about them, but that you just need your space and time this will ease these feelings. Ensuring that you schedule time to be social and spend time with the people in your life.
Setting healthy, clear boundaries will help to reduce feelings of distress, learning steps to care for yourself and value yourself to preserve your energy and emotional balance. For me I know I am not able to cope with people being nasty, rude or condescending whether it be to me or the people whom I care about. Healthy communication of feelings and disruptions is necessary to enjoy balanced relationships
As an empath your intuitive skills are heightened. Are there times when you have this strong gut reaction to things especially when things just don’t seem right or to be going right? You can pick dishonesty easily and without a lot of evidence can pick up if something is going to be good or bad. Whether it be an idea, action or activity. This is an empath attribute at work. Empaths can pick up on subtle cues that provide insight into what others can be thinking. Giving insight into the truth of the person or situation. As an empath your instincts play a vital role in your decision making. You may be seen by others as impulsive, when you are trusting your intuition to guide you the making the choice that is right for you.
Nature your Calming Place
Everyone can benefit by spending time in nature. Empaths have a deeper affinity to nature, in the garden, sitting under a tree, spending time in the country and natural environments. As these provide a calming place to restore and rejuvenate from feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, stress and sound. Allowing emotional balance to return once again.
Crowded Places can be Overwhelming
According to research empaths absorb positive and negative energy more easily than others, just by being in someone’s presence. In crowded and busy places, this sensitivity can be heightened and magnified to the point of being almost unbearable. Empaths are easily overwhelmed as they feel things more intensely. If you easily sense how others are feeling, you’ll most likely have a difficult time handling emotional “Noise” from a crowd and sometimes even in a smaller group of people for any extended period. When you’re picking up on negative emotions, energy and often physical distress from the people around you, you will often become overwhelmed and can become physically unwell. This can result in you feeling most comfortable with your own company or that of only a few people at a time.
You have Difficulty in Not Caring
An empath doesn’t just feel as we have mentioned empathy for someone, they feel for someone and with someone. The take other people’s emotions so deeply that they want to do whatever they can to help. However, this isn’t always possible, this is disappointing and sometimes distressful for an empath. The lesson here is that each person is responsible for their life and the outcomes and there are times where they just don’t want anyone to help. Caring about people who may be suffering isn’t a bad thing, but when the concern for other’s difficulties overshadows care for yourself. This is a major causative factor to chronic fatigue and burnout. It is essential to care for yourself and your emotions. At times this can mean to distance yourself from people who aren’t caring for themselves and imposing negative behaviours on you or others.
Often you are a Sounding Board for People’s Problems
People who are Sensitive and empathetic to people often are great at listening. You will often find yourself being a target with your loved ones looking for comfort and support when they are having trouble. With your ability to care deeply, it is hard for you to step back when you become overwhelmed with their expectations of you. Understanding your limits and setting emotional boundaries [knowing when to let go] is important in preventing you from becoming an emotional dumping ground. Empaths are often vulnerable to the manipulation and toxic behaviours of others. Your genuine desire to help people in distress and difficult situations can escape any signs of this toxicity. You may have a deep understanding of the pain that is fuelling their behaviour and want to provide support. It is important to remember that no-one, not even you can change someone or their behaviours unless they are ready to change.
Highly Sensitive to Sounds, Smells and Sensations
An empath has increased sensitivity that doesn’t just relate to emotions. There’s a lot of adjoining similarities to empaths people with heightened sensitivity. Highly sensitive people may also find that they are sensitive to the world around them. This could be fragrances, odours, certain foods food additives and drink. Harshly unpleasant, grating sounds that may trigger disturbing sensations to your nerves, feelings and mental balance.
Time to Re-Balance, Restore and Recharge
As your sensitivity is heightened to other people’s pain and discomfort this can be emotionally draining leading to physical loss of energy and fatigue. Even an overload of positive feelings can be exhausting, so it’s important to take the time you need to rest, rebalance, restore and recharge. If you don’t take time to breathe and take charge of these overwhelming feelings with rest, you will suffer from burnout, this will then have a negative impact on your physical health. Escaping these feelings can be as easy as going for a walk, reading a great book or watching your favourite movie.
It doesn’t mean that you are an introvert because you need to have time alone or escaping for a weekend to the country or escaping into your favourite book. It just means that you want to restore feelings of balance and harmony whilst recharging your energy levels.
Empaths can also be extroverts at times enjoying outings, people sharing their knowledge, likes, dislikes and skills. Even extroverts need to take time to re-balance, restore and recharge. ?
Hostile Arguments and Fights are Distressing
Hostile arguments and fights are distressing for most people, but for empaths you dread and will actively go about avoiding negative, hostile arguments, fights and any nastiness between fellow folks. It is your view as an empath that problems or disagreements can be worked through by communicating in a peaceful and respectful manner. Your level of Higher sensitivity can make it easier for someone to hurt your feelings. Comments or remarks that ridicule or make fun of either you or a person you love will bring about feelings of hurt. Arguments and fights that are insignificant consisting of pure nastiness and bitterness are highly distressing for you, as you are not just dealing with your own feelings and reactions but absorbing the negative emotions of the people involved. The most effective thing you can do here is to remain silent and when possible walk away and distance yourself from the situation.
Feeling like a Square Peg in a Round Hole
Despite being highly attuned to the feelings of others, many empaths find it difficult to relate to other people.
As you can often become exhausted and stressed quickly, when engaging with other people, they may not understand this and treat you differently or advertantly. You can struggle with understanding the emotions and feelings that you absorb around others, seeing this as not being “Normal”. You will often avoid talking about your unique characteristics and attributes as an Empath, so that you feel better accepted and less out of place.
It’s not easy feeling like you don’t belong I have had this since I was a young child. This gift that you have that goes beyond empathy, is special and is an important part of who you are. What is important here is to seek out, embrace and appreciate the people who do understand and appreciate your special gift. Still loving, but emotionally distancing the people who don’t.
Restoring Energy and Overcoming Burnout is Important for both Emotional and Physical Health.
This is humorous as I am writing this at a time when the whole world is practicing Self-Isolation due to COVID 19 [Corona Virus]. Self-Isolation not only helps empaths to recover from overwhelm and fatigue, it helps each person with supporting your body with emotional balance and physical health.
It is important to remember to not have long periods of time with isolation as the socializing and interacting with people is also very important for your emotional and physical health. That is why practicing meditation is a great way to have time each day to be, allowing your thoughts to float free, embracing all that is good.
Daily forms of isolation such as going for a walk outdoors, or just sitting in your own backyard or local park enjoying nature going for a scenic drive or picnic will provide restorative and regenerating benefits for a healthy mind, balancing your emotional health. Adding a pet to your life can provide energy restorative properties if you enjoy taking care of them and having their company.
The Struggle with Setting Boundaries
Setting Healthy Boundaries are important in all relationships.
Being an empath, you will often struggle to switch off the ability to feel and find it impossible to stop sharing and caring, even when you have no energy left. Sometimes you might not fully understand that setting boundaries doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your loved ones, the exact opposite is true. It is because that you care about them and want to keep a balanced and positive relationship with the people in your life. This is because the experiences of people have such an intense impact on your emotional state, that setting boundaries is essential so that you protect yourself from being affected in a negative way.
Your Unique View of the World
Empaths play a vital role in bringing a sense of balance and harmony in the world. For the most part Empaths have an Optimistic view even in the most difficult and traumatic circumstances. Believing that having a positive attitude is about being able to see the problem, then to find a solution. Your unique view of the world, your emotional understanding drives your intuition, enabling you to pick up on things that other people might miss out on or make a connection.
It can detrimental to Empaths when involved with environments that don’t allow for emotional expression and sensitivity this can dampen your creativity. Balance your home and work environment by involving yourself with a form of self-expression such a learning to paint, draw, writing stories, poetry, dance or music.
Coping with Sensory and Emotional Overload
As I have mentioned to you, it can be difficult for empaths to protect themselves from taking on other people’s problems and emotions. Implementing successful self-care practices, setting healthy boundaries can help to protect you from negative behaviours, emotions and depleting you of energy.
Protecting yourself from the emotional “Noise” of the world is necessary to decrease unwanted areas of distress. Learning to Build a Strong Foundation, a Brilliant Mind and Emotional Balance assists you with what is known as “Living in the World, without Being a Part of the Negativity in the World”.
Remember, your needs and emotions are just as important as are each person within the world.