Living from an empathic place is becoming a necessity for a growing number of people in this century.
Being an empath in a culture that worships logic, objective thinking, linear planning and—above all–goal setting as the only and necessary qualities of a successful adult is no easy challenge.
Empaths can do all that logical thinking, they just live happier and more efficiently if they also stay open to their need to follow their bliss, honor their intuition, or change a plan when it no longer feels right. An empath’s logic looks nothing like a math geek’s logic—and yet it’s still logic. Empaths are perfectly capable of “thinking objectively,” they just don’t define objectivity the same way their computer science loving partner might.
What is an Empath?
Empaths are people who feel their way through life, through decisions and in relationships. Everyone is a little empathic. No one could relate to other people without empathy, however empaths do everything from that place of feeling.
In the same way that a really good mechanic can tell something is “off” with an engine by the variances in sound and vibration, an empath is in tune not only with their own body and energy, but with the energetic vibrations and bodies of the people around them.
For some predominantly empathic people—particularly if they are unaware or untrained—this can be overwhelming enough to cause migraines, health issues, anxiety/panic attacks, withdrawal from intimacy and subsequent social isolation.
Empaths aren’t anti-social by nature but they often have to actively manage their social contact, both quality and quantity, in order to remain healthy and happy.
If you suspect you are highly empathic…
There’s a litmus test that I often challenge my clients to take: If you suspect you are highly empathic, particularly if you’re really tired of thinking of yourself and being thought of as “over sensitive, anxious, picky, mercurial, weak, sickly or someone who never finishes anything” go spend a day on an island. In the Pacific Northwest this is easy. Simply plan a day, pick a ferry and go.
If you feel profoundly relieved, relaxed and rejuvenated just by stepping onto the island you are probably an empath.
For an empath, that “moat” of water around the land you’re standing on seems to block all the human and electronic energy that you are constantly picking up on, all day, every day, whether you know it or know how to process it (or block it).
Now to be fair, spending a day on an island probably also means you’re surrounded by nature and not doing any work, nor are you tending to the needs of all the people who want a piece of you, so pay close attention to that first 10 minutes after you get off the ferry. Try to stop shortly after disembarking and just stand still for a moment. See what you notice. (Note: If you’re needing to escape from the feeling that people “want a piece of you,” that’s probably it’s own litmus test: you’re an empath.)
The results of this test are not something you can put into bullet points or quantify. They’re pretty subjective. Again, welcome to empathy.
Here’s the thing – this test points out what you must capture if you are to be well and happy as a highly empathic person: If you can feel the difference and you know that the island/water made a discernible difference within your mind and body, then it’s true. You don’t have to try to convince anyone else or get anyone to agree with you or give you their permission to believe yourself.
That’s what a trained empath does: Believe herself (or himself).
Learning to trust that intrinsic knowing in the depths of your soul and body and then learning to base your decisions, course corrections and choices on that with trust and certainty: that is a priceless gift to give yourself.