I’m an Empath. Having said that I know that deserves some explanation.
The restlessness in me and the huge amount of time I need to spent on lonely beaches away from the crowd, in total solitude are my 2 points by which I know I’m different.
To create and relax, I need to be able to see the horizon. And that same horizon beckons me to discover, to not be bored, to explore, to dare step away from my comfort zone.
I always knew I was different. even as a child. Often I was accused of being oversensitive, a little drama queen and I still am
When I got caught up because of a totally wrong way of living by a huge burn-out, my psychologist ran some tests and it turned out I was a High Sensitive Person (HSP). I could ‘sense’ things. But I also ‘knew’ things. He, being all rational, could not explain that, but he researched it and came up with the Empathic thing, and there I was. All diagnosed, not crazy, just different. Not only tired to the bone, but also an old soul needing some TLC.
My spiritual journey taught me I was an old soul, accompanied by two spirit animals, and I do have some sort of relieve ability for other people’s stress and pain. I do not want to step into the healing thing in this life, maybe in the next. Because my gifts are ‘heavy’ enough as it is. They make my life and my personality a little more complex. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an understatement.
Although I can enjoy life to the max, I also need to set strict boundaries in order to do so. And if there is one thing I’m no good at: it is boundaries.
So how does this empath thing work in daily life, how do you know if you are an empath? To be honest: you just know. You know by ‘knowing things’ that you never could have known otherwise.
Like when people brush by you and you see their lives, their morning breakfast scenes, and you feel their sorrow or unhappiness.
I know by knowing the Monday Morning Blues, I can feel it when I’m in big cities with lots of offices and businesses, and although I do not ‘suffer’ from Monday Morning Blues, I do pick up the collective feeling.
So, if you are in doubt whether or not you are an Empath, you probably are not and you are most likely an HSP
Nothing wrong with that, maybe you could even be considered it a blessing.
Here is a list of traits empaths have, you might recognize yourself in this list.
1. Knowing: empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings that HSP people have. The older their soul gets and the more they learn how to tune in the stronger this gift becomes
2. Being in public places can be a little too much: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums, where there are lots of people around, can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others. Being an HSP and an empath, the combination of sound and smells and enclosed surroundings can drain you. Your senses are stretched to the max.
3. Feeling another person’s emotions and taking them on as your own. This one still confuses me. Is it me that is feeling this or am I feeling this for someone else? Especially when I’m connected to another old soul. I sometimes get the feeling my life is one big magic trick and it is all in my imagination.
I feel things when people touch me and I’m not grounded well enough. But I also feel, sometimes, when connected with an old soul a strength, an energy that goes way beyond explanation. Maybe I should write an article specially dedicated to this subject.
4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV or social media is unbearable: Some days I need to disconnect from social media and TV/newspapers. The cruelty and violence and hatred in this world becomes too much to bear. I take a break, away from it all to calm my soul.
5. You know when someone is not being honest: I find this one very hard to use. Knowing a friend is lying to you and knowing you are about to be deceived. I hate that. I never know how to act on that. Do I bluntly tell it is a lie, or do I leave it with the other person?
In business, it is a gift. A pure blessing. When working with people, as I do, I always know upfront if they will be good co-workers or if I need to guard myself. Usually, I shut down when I’m with friends. I do not want to know. I kind of pull down the blinds, so I can communicate on a ‘normal’ level without all the ‘knowing stuff’
6. Picking up physical symptoms: An empath will almost always develop a copy of the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches, and pains), especially those who they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.
For me, this part is a bit hard to deal with, for it does not work for me that way. I do not pick up everyone’s pain, otherwise, I could not enter any hospital let alone travel close to one. Only when I’m connected on a soul level with people I feel their pain. So I do not go around all aching and sniffing bearing other people’s sickness. And my best friend having chronicle pains, I cannot feel hers. I can see it in her eyes, I can ‘feel’ the immense burden she carries, but I cannot physically feel her pain. Only with soul connections I can. Thank the universe for that for I think it will be overwhelming dysfunctional if you have this ability.
7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of others, which can weaken the area.
8. Always looking after the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an Empath’s attention and compassion.
9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if the empath is not careful can end up as their own. People confide in me, mostly before they disappear again like I am the town’s barkeeper. They tell me everything and leave me with their problems.
10. Constant fatigue: empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure.
Thit is where the beach-thing comes in for me. I do feel fatigued, but not constant. If you are a trained Empath, you will know how to handle this. You need to plus up your alone time away from the world and the constant input.
11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It can be a form of self-protection to hide from someone or something (external emotions).
Again, I took these points straight from the internet. taken from the internet. I have no addictions, but some might have, to ease the burden I imagine. I know I always look for an “easy way out” maybe others do as well and for some that means escaping in drugs, eating, or drinking.
12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical.
I think you are not a real empath if you ignore the holistic and metaphysical information and growth in knowledge. All empaths seem to search constantly for more information, for deeper wisdom or just to know we are not alone in this world.
13. An Empath is a creative person and has a great love for beautiful things, including nature and animals. You have a vivid imagination. And you will daydream a lot.
14. Need for solitude: Both HSP and an empath will become dysfunctional if they don’t get quiet time. You will block, freeze and get sick if you do not take your daily time away from it all.
15. Gets bored and distracted easily if there is no challenge or stimulation. At work, school and home life have to be kept interesting for an empath will end up daydreaming or doodling.
I guess that is why I meet many travellers that are empaths, we all seek adventure, we all love to run away from cliche and preset society stuff.
16. Empaths are free spirits, they do not like to be told what to do. As an empath, you will prefer not to do things you do not enjoy. You always strive for the truth, in everything, but mostly in your own life. So doing something you dislike, you will express the dislike or avoid the task somehow, for you want to be truthful to yourself.
As an empath, you hate routine and control
That is why it is hard for you to deal with a narcissist, liars and fortune seekers. Anything controlling, or untruthful will feel wrong.
17. Always looking for answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If you know something you will look for confirmation. The downside to this is the information overload. Especially when you are also HSP you have to be careful with the input of information and the overload of knowledge. Balance is power.
18. You will pick up on collective emotions like Blue Monday and Christmas spirit. But also with the latest news of the world not being such a safe place anymore, you might pick up collective fear, anger and frustration. And you are extremely sensitive to the full moon, storm, change of winds and seasons that influence mood changes like the Santa Ana Winds.
I for me, I hate airports to many restlessness is packed there upon my restlessness, and too many people rush about in anxiety.
19. An empath will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand.
This goes beyond me. I love to ‘read’ the stories that come from old furniture. It gives me a creative vibe. I even overcame my dislike for second-hand clothing. I never wanted to wear it, not even when washed for there is a sense of ‘others’ in them. But I have outgrown that feel out of necessity when I lived on Siuijor Island where there were no clothing stores. Only Ukay Ukay (second-hand clothing)
20.An empath is often told to be moody, shy, aloof or even disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world.
I am prone to mood swings and if I’ve taken on too much negativity I will be quiet and unsociable, even withdrawn.
I never pretend to be happy, I never pretend any opposite emotions, When I’m mad, you know I’m mad you will know I am mad; when I’m sad you know I’m sad. When I’m happy I share it with you.
Travelling in countries where emotions are seldom shown or hidden behind a polite mask, like in Asia, makes it difficult for an empath to function properly. More than once I have shocked friends and workers with my moods, my open display of emotions and my thrive to talk about feelings and problems.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.