Are You an Empath?

“I’m an empath,” said the person next to me at our regular group meeting.

“You are? How do you know?”

“I realized it after reading some articles that explained the behaviour of an empath person—and then my physician confirmed it.”

“Can you give me a few more details?”

“As an empath, I’m easily overwhelmed by the stress and feelings of not only my loved ones but of everyone around me. I think I absorb other people’s emotions because I have a really high level of sensitivity. But after a while, I feel exhausted and unhappy; I instantly lose my emotional balance and mental energy.”

“Maybe you’re just a highly sensitive person?”

“I don’t think so; here’s the definition of an empath: ‘a sensitive person who easily experiences burnout.’ Google defines burnout as ‘physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.’”

“What causes it?”

“Spending too much time in life’s fast lane. If we don’t slow down, our mental and physical energy levels become overloaded, and we easily rush into a stressful state.”

“Why do we let it happen?”

“Probably because of emotional pain and anxiety. We feel out of balance, as though we’re never efficient enough. It’s a terrible feeling, believe me.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah—everyone has too much to do. The worst part about it is that we begin to lose our mental capacity, our memory and our ability to think rationally.

“That sounds scary.”

“It is scary. When the mind doesn’t work properly, the physical body suffers as well. Empathy is a state of chronic stress, and you know how harmful chronic stress is. It affects all your body’s functions.”

“Sounds like a path to self-destruction.”

“Yeah. It is.”

“I heard some very positive stuff about empaths…like they’re people with “a good heart,” who are very spiritual and sensitive. They’re good listeners, and they’re always there for you. If they’re in a peaceful and loving environment, their bodies take on these characteristics and flourish. Is that true?”

“Probably yes—generally speaking. Some of us experience the world through intuition, which is important for the development of our ‘gut feelings’ about people. I feel that some people drain my energy; so as an empath, sometimes I need to be alone. Not always—but sometimes. That’s my way of protecting myself from an emotional overload. On the other hand, as an empath, I want to try to relieve the pain of those around me, which is an impossible task. We’re very complicated people, aren’t we?”

“Not at all. To me, empaths are beautiful, sensitive and caring people who are ready to save the world. They suffer more than anyone can understand, which is really sad.”

“Thanks. I appreciate you are saying that.”

“Is there one strategy in particular, that’s works well for empaths?”

“The first step is to acknowledge and to accept that we are empaths and to learn how to take care of ourselves in every situation. The next step is to make changes—to restore our core energy—with exercise, meditation and healthy food. It’s important, too, to surround ourselves with supportive people. We also need to protect our sensitivities with strategies such as time management, and we have to learn to set limits and boundaries.”

“Thanks for some good information.”