Living With High Sensitivity
Do you sometimes feel sad without really knowing why? Find out whether you are highly empathic and learn how to avoid absorbing the negativity of others.
MY JOURNEY IN FINDING OUT
It wasn’t until recently, when I read an article about ‘30 traits of an empath‘ that I discovered I was not alone in feeling the way I felt at times but that there is a category of humans defined as empaths (my spell check doesn’t even recognize this word). I am not a fan of labels but learning about some traits and finding out what it meant and feels like to be an empath, has been calming, reassuring and healing. The danger with not being aware of the fact that you are an empath, is to end up with the belief that negative feelings absorbed from others are your own ones.
Early as a child, it happened to me that I had to leave the table when discussions got too heated up and personal. I noticed that when I found myself in high-intensity situations or was exposed to such (like an argument or discussion) my energies got quickly consumed and I felt utterly sad, frustrated and/or confused. Even in situations, where I was not directly involved I could feel the pain and anger or insult that was caused by one person and the inadaptability or frustration felt by the other. I suffered just by watching two people argue or discuss because I was absorbing their emotions like they were mine (I will tell you what mirror neurons have to do with this another time).
I ended up confused, not finding an explanation or reason for feeling this way. I could just not see where this negativity would come from until I realized I was highly susceptible to others’ energies and vibes to the point of making them mine.
So what defines a real empath and what to do not to carry around someone else’s baggage of emotions?
WHAT IS AN EMPATH?
Empaths are individuals who are often highly sensitive, perceiving things around them like the breeze in the background and the smell of the croissants during a chat with a friend on a busy morning street – in the case of positive vibes.
Empaths have the ability to hear, sense, feel, experience and understand experiences, emotions and signs that would go about unnoticed by most of us.
Everyone of us has the ability to be empathic to some degree but you are a true empath if you recognize yourself in following traits:
- You have a high emotional resonance, rendering you very sensitive to emotional energy or ‘vibes’.
- You tend to ‘feel’ the emotions of other people as if they were yours – both negative and positive.
- You need a lot of ‘alone-time’ to recharge your energies.
- You find it joyful and energizing when in nature, contemplating the sunset, doing something with your hands or just reading a book.
- People tell you often that you are hypersensitive or moody.
- You are creative, love adventure and travel and like to daydream.
There are many more characteristics.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HIGH EMPATHY?
Since I learned about my empathic ability, I try to prevent situations in which I know I would feel uncomfortable, plan enough ‘me-time’ and actively become aware and differentiate of what are emotions that belong to myself versus someone elses.
Here is how I learned to manage my empathetic inclination.
- I surround myself with positive people and mix my happy vibes with theirs, feeling energized and empowered.
- I practice mindfulness and yoga, which helps me to tune into myself or simply take a break from all the energy fields surrounding each one of us throughout the day.
- Focusing on my breath helps me to find myself and get calm in every moment of the day.
- I am aware of what is happening around me being able to detect and avoid tricky situations early enough.
- I make sure to have ‘alone-times’ to recharge my energies and honor my own emotions, thoughts and feelings. To function as balanced human beings, it is necessary to nurture ourselves first so that we get ‘full-filled’ because only when we are full and fulfilled, we have enough to give to others.
- If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to know how to avoid taking on other individuals’ negative emotions and not to get affected by free-floating negativity around us.
Here you can find more sweet survival tips for sensitive souls.
THE BENEFITS OF USING EMPATHY
Now that I have learned to detect risky situation and know how to protect myself from the influence other’s emotions and behavior can have, I see my empathic ability as something positive and empowering. Today I believe it is one of my core strengths and I employ the ability to ‘feel with the other’.
Empathy is going to be a crucial trait in a mission to turn this world from an ego-self-centered route towards a holistic-collective wisdom that integrates humanity and its habitat.
I believe this world needs more empathic resonance, more compassion and sensibility for the other and our planet – starting with being attentive about little actions such as not mindlessly rushing through the streets and recklessly bumping into others, to the great respect and care for ourselves and the other.
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