Ever since I posted my experience with understanding my own empathic abilities, I’ve received dozens of emails and questions from people who realize they are deeply sensitive but unsure if they are “empathic” or what do about it. Understanding what’s going on with your emotions is the first step to living a balanced, healthy life as an empath, and in my experience, beyond that it is learning how you uniquely read other people’s emotions so you can develop the skills to control that gift, rather than allowing it to control you.
Anna Sayce wrote an excellent article outlining signs of empathic abilities a couple years ago, and in light of recent questions I’ve received, I thought I’d share it with my readers here at Chakra Center. Be sure to check-out her site for related articles on empathic abilities and how to control them. You can also check-out my own video on understanding empathic abilities below.
Signs That You’re An Empath
“What’s an empath?
In short, an empath is someone who feels what other people are feeling. This doesn’t mean you can get an idea for how other people feel just some of the time. Being an empath means you were born with the ability to enter someone’s aura and explore their feelings and experience of life on an intimate level. Much of the time this is done unconsciously. On the upside, you know what it feels like to be another person, so you’re often great at relating to others (empathy is, after all, a psychic gift and you can use it to read other people).
On the downside you are like a sponge who is often wet and full of other peoples’ emotions – the conscious one and the unconscious ones. This can be a heavy burden of energy to carry around.
It gets tiring. That’s why I wrote this article.
Signs that you’re an ‘unskilled’ empath include:
- Feeling the world’s suffering on a large scale and wishing you could do something to help. Ironically, this makes you less equipped to help, because you feel overwhelmed.
- Finding it difficult to watch the news or distressing images because you feel the pain of the person/people you’re watching – as if you’re them
- Finding it difficult to fully be present to yourself and your own feelings when conversing with other people. This is because you’re busy exploring their aura and responses to life – not your own.
- Shyness – empathy can make you somewhat self-conscious as you’re very aware of the effect your words have on another person and what they’re thinking and feeling in response.
- A tendency to say yes to the requests and demands of other people – almost as a reflex; without thinking about whether you actually want to. When you’re so immersed in another person’s experience of life and what they need – how can you say no? It’s only afterwards that you realize you forgot yourself and your own needs.
- A general tendency to put your needs last, or serve others at your own expense.
- A liking for distance in relationships, and for solitude. This occurs because as an empath, intimacy and closeness is your default. But when you don’t know how to stop yourself from exploring other peoples’ auras, you need some space on your own, where you aren’t around other people.
- Feeling an affinity with the animal kingdom. When you’re an animal empath, you can get a feel for how other species experience life and you are able to relate to animals on a deep level. Some people are plant empaths, so the same is possible for plants.
- Feeling responsible for how other people feel – and going out of your way to help them to feel better (even when it doesn’t serve you.) After all – you feel their emotions so keenly.
- A tendency to let relationships and friendships get too heavy (and too close) – too fast.
- A strange tendency to feel aches and pains, but only around certain people.
- Finding yourself often in a counseling role, where people dump their emotions on you, and being very drained by it.
- An emotional over-identification with characters in novels, films and plays. It doesn’t matter that they’re not real – you can still feel how they felt.
- A tendency to forget to have fun and lighten up.
If you related to many of the above signs it is important for you to understand that you can control these feelings. Instead of automatically exploring the aura of most of the people you meet, you can turn your empathy on only when you need it. That makes life a lot lighter.”
For more details on how I’ve learned to control my own empathic abilities, you can check out the video I posted below: