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What Is A True Empath

Being a True Empath

As an Empath and Hypersensitive, I wanted to write this blog post in the hope that my insights and awareness will help you to understand if you too are an Empath.

Empathic people's hearts go out to others. True Empaths feel the happiness or sadness of others in their own body, which can lead to emotional overload. I know that I can instantly tell if someone is in a good or bad mood simply by standing next to them or feeling their energies as soon as they enter the room. Quite often, I would tell my partner to go out and come back in when they had cleared their energies from the day at work. Empathyis a word you hear a lot, often in terms of what the world needs more of. It’s hard to argue with it—the idea that the world needs more empathy. But what does the word really mean? How is it different from sympathy, compassion, or even pity? And, while we tend to think of empathy as a positive quality, is it really always a good thing for the person who feels it? What about for those deemed “true empaths” like I am, do we feel empathy at an entirely different level? The definition of empathy has become so jumbled over the last few decades that many of us use the word in different ways without even realizing it. That can be a problem in cases where understanding your capacity for empathy can help you protect yourself from emotional burnout.

The Evolution of Empathy

Linguistically speaking, the roots of the word empathy can be traced back to the ancient Greekempatheia, but psychologists trace our modern use to the nineteenth-century German word Einfuhlung. Philosophers used it to refer more to aesthetics than emotions, however - to communing with a piece of art rather than a person. Translating from German into English, psychologist Edward Titchener used the term empathy to refer to at least three different phenomena, only one of which involved interpersonal understanding or the “feelings of relation” that comes close to matching our current understanding. In other words, it’s not a surprise that empathy isn’t a straightforward term. Perhaps it’s helpful to distinguish empathy from related terms. Sympathyis the ability to sit with, care about, and accept someone’s feelings, while empathy is the ability to embody the feelings of another. Then there compassion, which is the desire to alleviate someone's feelings of pain or suffering. Ideally, empathy leads to compassion.

Empathetic vs. True Empath

Judith Orloff, MD, a psychiatrist, empath, and author of "The Empaths Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People have further divided empathy into two separate categories: being empathetic (“when your heart goes out to someone else”) and being an Empath(“you can actually feel another person’s happiness or sadness in your own body”). “Empathy is our ability to attune with another’s experience of life, their sadness, and joy,” Orloff says. “It is an open-hearted state that lets us resonate with our fellow humans, animal friends, nature, and the earth.”There are people who are capable of empathy- that’s most of us - and there are empaths. Not everyone who can feel empathy in certain situations is a true empath.

Spirituality & Empathy

While the wordempathwas first coined in the science fiction sphere, we now use it in psychology and neurology as well, but we don’t often use it in a way that implies things like telepathy or precognition. It can, however, have a spiritual component. Some believe that the kind of intuition that empaths exhibit is indicative of their ability to tap into greater universal consciousness.“Empaths and Hyper Sensitives like myself are emotional sponges who tend to take on the stress of other people and the world. I do not have the same filters that others have, so I will feel intimate with what's going on in others and this can also be sensed over the computer via email and telephone conversations.

I never like using the word Psychic to describe myself or to equate being an empath to anything supernatural. Instead, I use the word “intuition,” which is another word that’s hard to define, even if we all use it as if we know precisely what it means.“There are intuitive empaths who have highly developed intuition and are very good at reading people. This is a very positive attribute of being an empath and is not ‘science fiction. “Intuition is a trait that needs to be developed more to get people out of their heads and into their hearts.” It has taken me nearly 2 decades of development to get to where I am now and I am still learning each and every day. Of course, being sensitive to other people’s feelings to the point where you feel them too isn’t always healthy. It doesn’t even necessarily lead to a person being kind - you can be empathetic without being compassionate, for example. If you’re often in a high-stress, overstimulating environment, your empathy can also lead to burnout.

So Are You a True Empath?

Here are a few questions you can ask to find out if you’re a true empathEmpath Self

1. Have I been labelled as “overly sensitive,” shy, or introverted? 2. Do I frequently get overwhelmed or anxious? 3. Do arguments or yelling makes me ill? 4. Do I often feel like I don’t fit in? 5. Am I drained by crowds and need alone time to revive myself? 6. Am I overstimulated by noise, odours, or non-stop talkers? 7. Do I have chemical sensitivities or can’t tolerate scratchy clothes? 8. Do I prefer taking my own car places so I can leave early if I need to? 9. Do I overeat to cope with stress? 10. Am I afraid of becoming suffocated by intimate relationships? 11. Do I startle easily? 12. Do I react strongly to caffeine or medications? 13. Do I have a low pain threshold? 14. Do I tend to be socially isolated? 15. Do I absorb other people’s stress, emotions, or symptoms? 16. Am I overwhelmed by multitasking and prefer doing one thing at a time? 17. Do I replenish myself in nature? 18. Do I need a long time to recuperate after being with difficult people or energy vampires? 19. Do I feel better in small cities or the country than in large cities? 20. Do I prefer one-to-one interactions or small groups rather than large gatherings?

To calculate your results:

  • If you answered yes to one to five questions, you’re at least partially an empath.

  • Responding yes to six to ten questions means you have moderate empathic tendencies.

  • Responding yes to eleven to fifteen means you have strong empathic tendencies.

  • Answering yes to more than fifteen questions means that you are a full-blown empath.

I performed this test as I wrote it here and I got 19 out of 20 I already knew that I was a full-blown Empath but this just showed me that the test is accurate so it should tell you if you are an Empath.

Protecting Yourself as an Empath

Being open to the feelings of others and the energy surrounding you can be invigorating and rewarding, but empaths can be easily exhausted as well. The potential for emotional overload means that empaths need to take special care of themselves in order to keep functioning. Self-care can include using mindfulness to stop and gauge your stress levels, breathwork to reduce overstimulation, and learning to create and maintain boundaries in order to keep toxic people fromsucking up emotional energy. We live in a world with so much bad energy that it can easily seep in and deplete an empath of their strength, even leading to depression and anxiety. Most importantly, true empaths should recognise and appreciate their gift and learn to appreciate their connection to others so that they can understand why they feel so deeply and how to care for themselves while they’re absorbing the energy from the world around them.


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