Q: Are empaths real? I read that “empaths” are really a mythical or fictional personality type. How can I tell if i’m just overly sensitive, or a genuine empath?
A: The answer to this is both easy, and complex. While empaths are definitely “real” in the sense that we are people who feel things differently than the vast majority of the population there is also MUCH myth and self aggrandizing misinformation out there about what makes an empath.(note – a recent scientific study suggests that about 1% of the population are able to “Feel the interior experiences of others” and have super strong empathic “powers” – you can read that study here)
The problem with lots of “empath” articles and insights? They tend to err on the side of self aggrandizement. They tend to offer up ego inflation and elevating advice that may make you feel “special” or like a superhero, they are rarely helpful in terms of offering up advice you can actually use in your life.
(no – empaths don’t “know everything” and aren’t super special magical beings like some articles would like to have us believe. WE DO, however, have access to deeper levels of emotional connection to people, places and things and quite often, these deeper levels of sensitivity can lead to profound spiritually transformative experiences as well)
Some NOT so great side effects of being an empath?
- You may be more sensitive to what people think about you. (you may be a bit of a pleaser….as you don’t want to feel the depth of the disappointment that others may feel if you don’t conform to their wishes, which can lead many empaths to toxic relationships)
- You may find yourself overthinking EVERYTHING and being lost in thought, and loops of rumination.
- You may find it harder to heal from traumas, and forgive slights or conflicts that others have moved past already.
- You LOVE fiercely, quickly and passionately. This means you may find yourself getting emotionally attached very early in a relationship, and as many empaths are also givers, you may find yourself feeling taken advantage of or easily hurt, especially in new relationships.
- You may find current events overwhelming. The news makes you more than sad – it hurts your heart in ways that others may find odd or offputting.
- You are an activist – EVEN if it’s just in your head and heart. Nothing offends you more than injustice and even if you are an introvert, your spirit speaks up for those who have less, or who are oppressed. (and in 2020 – with the world being such a friggin MESS, it’s no surprise that so many NEW empaths are raising their hands and being counted in our community)