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I’ve learned about the term empath many years ago. When I read about empaths in Anita Moorjani’s book “Sensitive is the New Strong” in 2021, I only thought of myself as a highly sensitive person and not really an empath.
Only when I reread the book the second time last winter (because the book is THAT good), and start to embrace and see myself as an empath, many things have clicked and started making sense for me.
Everyone is sensitive to a degree. There is definitely a spectrum of sensitivity, and everyone can develop their intuitive gifts to become more sensitive to energies.
In Anita Moorjani’s book “Sensitive is the New Strong”, she shares that there are highly sensitive people, and then there are empaths.
Highly sensitive people are people who are quite sensitive to energies of people and the environment. For example, a highly sensitive person can step into a meeting room and immediately pick up the vibe of the meeting. A highly sensitive person can also feel quite overwhelmed by crowded spaces, negative news, words and emotions of others and EMF (electromagnetic fields).
An empath is a highly sensitive person who can feel a lot more than others, and who can also take on and even absorb other people’s feelings.
Both highly sensitive people and empaths have lots of intuitive gifts to share with the world, but unfortunately a lot of them are not aware of their own sensitivities to begin with.
Empaths, especially, may feel easily overwhelmed and weighed down by anxiety, nervousness, depression, fears from others and the world, and they may not even realize that these emotions and feelings do not belong to them at the first place.
So how do you know if you’re an empath and/or a highly sensitive person?
In general, here are some characteristics and qualities of an empath:
- Highly intuitive and intuition may come as a sense of deep knowing or feeling
- Can anticipate other people’s needs easily
- Can feel what others are feeling easily
- Listen well and can understand what’s being spoken even in between lines
- Service-oriented and have a passion to help others
- Interested in all things metaphysical and spiritual
- Feel drawn to nature and calm spaces
- See the inherent good nature in other people
- Have a strong affinity to connect with animals, plants and nature
However, sensitivities are like double-edged swords. If empaths are not aware of their own sensitivities and don’t know how to master them, they may be deeply affected by the environment and other people’s energies. Below are some possible challenges that an empath may encounter:
- Negative comments and words can feel very hurtful and affect an empath for much longer and deeper
- Empaths can tend to be people-pleasing as they feel good when other people around them are in a good mood
- Empaths tend to avoid conflict and any confrontation to feel safe so they bottle up their feelings and stress themselves out even more
- Empaths may take on burdens and responsibilities of others to help others feel better and forget about prioritizing self-care
- Empaths may be easily taken advantage of, manipulated or exploited by others because of the tendency to see and believe in the good in others
- Empaths may feel drained by listening to others as others may “dump” their feelings on them
The above may cause empaths to lose confidence and start doubting themselves and they may hold themselves back from expressing their truth because they are afraid of disappointing others.
If you want to find out whether you are an empath or not, check out Anita Moorjani’s online empath quiz (no sign ups required) here: https://www.anitamoorjani.com/empath-quiz
(From Anita Moorjani’s empath quiz, my personal score is 21 – an intuitive empath which is so true)
So what to do once we realize that we are an empath? How can we master our sensitivities as gifts, and use these intuitive gifts to carry out our soul purpose?
Luckily there are a lot of wellness tools and spiritual practices that can help us empaths raise our own vibration level and to ground and protect our energies with love. I emphasize the intention with love, and not fear, as it’s easy to view the world as a place full of danger and pitfalls for empaths.
Learning to embrace our sensitivities as a superpower and knowing that we can thrive in the world is an act of self-love.
When you recognize yourself as an empath or a highly sensitive person, chances are you may suddenly unlock some mysteries in your life in terms of explanation for certain responses, tendencies and patterns.
For me, once I’ve embraced myself as an empath, it suddenly makes sense to me why I feel so much pressure to pay salaries at the end of each month because somehow I feel like I’m carrying all my staff’s expectations and financial responsibilities on my shoulders. Or why it’s so hard for me to just shrug off a negative comment or feedback compared to others, because I can feel the energetic weight of words on my energetic bodies and hurtful words can cut me like a sword.
I always say that awareness is key and 50% of the issue is already resolved once we are aware.
Stay tuned for my next blog for some wellness tips and spiritual practices to help empaths and highly sensitive people stay more grounded and to feel more centered.
So are you an empath or a highly sensitive person? If so, how do you recognize your own empathic or sensitive nature affecting your life?
Feel free to share and contact me directly here.