Picture this: you’re having a conversation with a friend. When you ask her how she’s doing, she says only, “fine.” When you ask her how her day was, she says simply, “great.” From the look on her face, you can’t tell what’s going on with her, and yet you know that she’s not well. It’s not what she said. It’s what she didn’t say. Three hours after your conversation, you still feel sad.
What is going on?
If this scenario sounds familiar, you might be an empath. Empaths are people who tend to feel and absorb the feelings of others due to their high sensitivity to energy.
Years ago, before I realized that I was an empath, I sometimes went through periods of time when I had to hide in my house for a few days after interacting with others. If I had a conversation with someone who was in pain, I would feel sick in my heart and sometimes in my body. I would even feel emotionally sick if I had a dream in which someone I knew was going through a tough time. To this day, if I dream that someone I know is struggling, I can call that person the next day and find out that she is going through a tough time. It’s my intuition.
Years of learning and growing has taught me that empaths like me play an important role. We help other people deal with their pain and suffering. At the same time, however, we take on their pain, which is unhealthy for us.
How about you, beacon?
Do you think that you are an empath? Do you want to find out?
I created the questions below based on many conversations I’ve had and observations I’ve made through my years of mentoring, teaching, and supporting women.
Be as honest as you can with your answers. Ready?
Twelve questions to help you identify if you are an empath
- Do you tend to take care of others more than yourself?
- Do you ever intensely feel other people’s physical or emotional pain?
- Are you easily overstimulated or overwhelmed by crowds or hectic situations?
- Do you usually need time and space to retreat and recharge after being with people?
- Do you see yourself as highly sensitive and emotional?
- Do you often feel ungrounded, depleted, exhausted, or extremely sad?
- Do people come to you with their problems and pain?
- Do you often cry, have problems sleeping, or feel unable to stop thinking about a movie you watched?
- Do you avoid watching violent movies and TV shows?
- Are you sensitive to at least one of the following: loud noises, strong smells, or bright light?
- Do you sometimes experience physical symptoms in your body after having a conversation with someone or when you are worried about someone?
- Do you feel that specific people suck the energy out of you?
If you answered yes to at least 6 of these questions, you are probably an empath.
But what now?
Awareness is the first step. Getting a deeper understanding of how your unique empathic tendencies affect your life is super important because then you can start to recognize the special gifts that come with being an empath rather than focusing completely on your struggles.
As an empath, you have an important role and a sacred responsibility.
Your abilities to sense energy, to hear unspoken words, and to tap into your intuition and let it lead you are not only a gift for you but for humanity.
We—you, I, and other empaths—can tune into collective energy and shift energy in the world.
Learning more about yourself as an empath and becoming curious about your sensitivity to energy should become a priority for you now.
Here’s a simple daily practice to help you raise your awareness:
Start your day with gratitude for being a kind and loving person who is able to feel empathy and compassion for others.
Throughout the day, pay attention to and keep track of moments of empathic blessings. Moments of being deeply moved by art, music, or spirituality. Moments of feeling a deep sense of love, gratitude, and empathy. Moments of being in touch with your intuition and listening to it. Moments of being connected with nature, animals, and plants. If you want to take this practice one step forward, end your day by making a list of a few of these moments.
In this previous article I wrote, “A simple way (that works!) to stop self-sabotaging,” I talk more about the practice of “collecting evidence” that can really help you recognize the gifts, rather than just the challenges, of being a true empath.
Do me a favor, beacon! I want to know if you think that you are an empath. Tell me in the comments below. I’ll be sharing more strategies and practices for empaths soon.