6 Ways to Tell You’re an Empath.
I resisted the term empath for a long time.
It sounds incredibly woo-woo to my practical ears, and didn’t really fit with the image I’d thought up for myself: a strong, no-nonsense woman, unaffected by the world.
But as with all things, that we most resist is often that which we become… or rather, have always been, and just didn’t want to admit it. If you find yourself in the following situations more often than not, you may need to admit to being an empath too.
1. You get overly emotional at weddings and funerals, even if you don’t know the people involved very well.
What you’re picking up here is the collective emotional energy of the crowd — you may not be overwhelmed with joy or grief, but energetically your body takes on the joy or grief of those around you. This can be super confronting, especially if you’re not expecting to get emotional, but learn to go through the emotions rather than trying to hold them off.
2. You become quickly and deeply emotionally attached to characters in books or movies, and hold on to the attachment long after the final scene.
When I was 12, I watched Titanic in the cinema. At the time, I was too cool to be seen sobbing in public, and snarkily laughed off most of the sadness. Cue 2 am three days later, and I’m sobbing my heart out in bed because it’s just not fair that they only got to know each other for three days.
Sometimes, what you’re connecting to is an element of yourself reflected in that character that you haven’t given yourself the space to explore.
3. Arguments escalate quickly.
Empaths feed off other people’s emotions, whether they want to or not. If you find yourself arguing with someone, and getting angrier the angrier they get, you may need to walk away before your tendency to take on the energetic mood of others gets the better of you.
Find techniques that allow you to ground yourself during times of stress or anger, so you take your energy from the earth, rather than from the angry boss or spouse confronting you.
4. The world is often overwhelming.
You find being in public places disorientating, especially when there are a lot of people and nowhere for pent energy to dissipate. I find catching public transport at rush hour unbearable — I get vertigo, and feel exhausted from the whirlwind of emotions surrounding me. Again, grounding is a good technique here, but don’t feel bad for just avoiding crowded spaces when you are feeling open to people’s energy.
5. Sometimes you just know things about people, without there being any hint of it to others.
This can come in the form of whispers when you wake up, dreams while you sleep, or just a deep sense of knowing something. Sometimes this is a warning about a person, but sometimes it’s a secret the person is so desperate for you to know that they are energetically screaming it to you. Being an empath is often hard and tiring — treat these secrets as the gifts they are, things given to you to help you through.
6. You long for solitude at times, and long for deep connections with others at times.
This dichotomy is usually exhausting, and often confusing for those around you. It may seem like you have a split personality, at times completely understanding and adoring, and at other times completely closed off and silent. This see-sawing between states is a protection method — part of being energetically aware is being aware of your own need to rest and recuperate.
Don’t ever feel bad for needing to say No to people — you can only give when you’ve refilled your own energy, and that happens with downtime.
Being an empath is all about being sensitive to energy. To the energies of people around us, the energies of the world underneath our feet, and the energy swirling within our own bodies.
It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a burden, but admitting your empathic abilities is a big step forward in managing your energy and being able to not only survive the daily turmoil of other people’s emotions, but effectively channel that energy into good things for the world.
Shannon Kate is a photographer and writer based in Western Australia. She writes about mental health, spirituality, online business and agriculture, and is well aware that those things don’t really go together. She has an honors degree in Anthropology, and an intense desire to get lost in other people’s stories. Shannon spends her spare time chasing cattle on horseback, growing vegetables, drinking wine, and surrounded by cats.