Are you an empath or highly sensitive person? Understanding your sensitive nature can be the link to personal fulfilment and the reconnection back to the authentic self.
Empaths are highly sensitive individuals, easily affected by their environment and personal interactions. Feeling and sensing, as opposed to engaging in the processes of logic and fact-finding, empaths rely on intuition for guidance, demonstrate compassion in personal interactions, and use emotive language to get their point across. People are drawn to their warm persona and sympathetic ear, making them excellent counsellors and humanitarians. As wonderful as this sounds, many empaths and sensitives find themselves being easily drained or suffering from anxiety, unfounded fears and general confusion about who they are.
What’s the difference between an empath and an HSP?
Everyone has varying degrees of sensitivity, from one who may be as sensitive as a brick wall, to someone who can feel the effects of a feather floating down to the floor. When it comes to empaths and highly sensitive people (or HSPs), there are subtle differences. The main one is that empaths can experience the physical, emotional, and mental pain of another. An HSP can feel compassion without taking on the whole experience.
What empaths and HSPs have in common is their ability to connect with the world via sensory communication. They are sponges when it comes to receiving the energetic debris emitted by others or left behind in locations. It is not uncommon for them to walk into an empty room and feel uncomfortable or even physically ill. In fact, it is common for those who are highly sensitive to take on so much energetic debris that it leads to anxiety, thoughts that are out of character, or feelings of being weighed down.
In the extreme case, an empath may suddenly have a desire or craving that is uncharacteristic: alcohol, sex, smoking or eating foods they wouldn’t normally consider. Thankfully, the experience may be short-lived – disappearing when the person leaves behind the trigger.
Empaths and HSPs regularly place themselves before others. They often attract those who instinctively know they will benefit by interacting with someone who is so open to giving. It may be in the form of an individual unloading their emotional baggage, draining the empath of vitality, while the other walks away positively transformed. In more serious cases an individual may prey on the empath or HSP’s giving nature, leaving the empath or HSP questioning their own motives, desires and goals, and draining their vitality.
In relationships, empaths and HSPs adapt their behaviour and mood to avoid confrontation. If they enter a personal relationship with someone who has a logical nature. It can make it a very good basis for the individuals to find balance in their individual personas. However, if the empath or HSP has failed to understand their sensitivity, they will end up adapting themselves to be in alignment with the needs of the other person, favouring their likes and dislikes while suppressing their own needs.
This may be due to fear of the loss of the relationship, or because it provides a sense of confidence that is often lacking with empaths. Whatever the reason, the result is that the empath loses the connection to themselves. Their authentic self is overshadowed by the need to please others, and in doing so they are basing their own identity on an external source.
Adapting to people in a forced setting such as the workplace can be an empath’s nightmare. The need to earn a living can outweigh the need for self-care and to manage their sensory ability. Many find themselves going from job to job in the hope of a different environment. Those who choose to stay in a position may appear quiet, smiling, and pleasant when pushed, but lacking any real interaction. They get the job done, but at a cost to their personal wellbeing.
Are you an empath?
It may sound strange, but many people are HSPs or empaths and they don’t know it. They may know they are sensitive in nature, but not knowing the extent can also be a problem. Over the last 15 years, I have seen many people thinking they were just too emotional, questioning whether they even belonged in a world that favours the intellect over the heart. They often ask, “What is my place in this world, and who am I?”
Sadly, no one has told them that they possess a finely attuned sensory system, which can receive subtle frequencies that the body translates through the physical senses.
Common traits of empaths and HSPs:
- Often overwhelmed by people or places
- Easily adaptive to the mood and tone of others
- Experience the physical, emotional, mental pain of others
- Feel confused by too many thoughts and feelings
- Attract people who like to openly share their problems
- Feel the need to retreat from people and society
If you identified with two or more of the above traits, then consider yourself on the higher scale of sensitivity.
The benefits of being an empath or highly sensitive person
Inventors, entrepreneurs, explorers, and humanitarians are all in the higher scale of sensitivity. With positive self-awareness they go on to utilise their creativity and connection to others to benefit the world.
The choice to understand and develop sensitivity provides many benefits:
- A profound connection with your authentic self
- Clear intuitive insight
- The ability to cut through the B.S. and see what really needs to be done
- Fulfilling relationships, because you know what the needs of the other person are
- Increased creativity
- Ability to alleviate restrictions that cause self-doubt
- Understanding and cultivation of clear personal boundaries, avoiding unhealthy relationships
How do I work with my sensitivity?
Acknowledgement of sensitivity is the key to knowing you are not going mad; you are not unusual, you are you and sensitivity is your normal. It is essential to understand what and how your sensitivity works, so managing the incoming data becomes easier than running from social occasions or dreading going to the shops.
Awareness is the key. Here are some helpful steps to stay aware of your sensitivity and manage it accordingly.
- Begin by being aware of the changes to any feelings, thoughts, behaviours, cravings. Take note of what is happening at the time; where are you, and who are you with?
- Know when you need to spend time alone. Recharging the batteries is crucial.
- Boundaries are necessary. If someone is draining you, be polite and end the interaction.
- Salt baths (sea salt) or time by the sea is wonderful, in fact, a necessity for sensitives. The salt contains negative ions that create positive results.
- Nature is a filter that all sensitives need. Connect to the air, earth, smell the flowers, and feel rejuvenated.
- Do something fun! Laughter releases the happy chemicals. When we laugh, we feel good.
- Confusion is a sign that you are giving out too much of yourself. Take a step back, go inward, reflect in solitude, breathe, listen to soft music, or meditate on a positive, happy scene.
Integrate awareness into your daily living to keep the intercepting energies from controlling your mood, behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. Before long, you will receive the confirmation for what best suits you regarding your pathway in life, choices, and opportunities.
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