- Have I been labeled as “too emotional” or overly sensitive?
- If a friend is distraught, do I start feeling it too?
- Are my feelings easily hurt?
- Am I emotionally drained by crowds, require time alone to revive?
- Do my nerves get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talk?
- Do I prefer taking my own car places so that I can leave when I please?
- Do I overeat to cope with emotional stress?
- Am I afraid of becoming engulfed by intimate relationships?
These are the questions excerpted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s best selling book on highly sensitive people, and while certainly NOT complete (there are many other empathic qualities we’ve covered in other places) if you’re trying to self identify as an empath, this a very good place to begin.
A few reasons why empaths make incredible communicators?
As you’ll read below, the ability to find the good in other people, to deeply listen, intuit and understand the motivations of another (even when they’re sharing things rife with shame and regret) is a super power that very few seem to possess. The empath, however, has this gift in spades….and it’s a big reason why so many empathic personality types make for the very best therapists, coaches, helpers, healers and “enlightened” entrepreneurs.
As the good doctor says below, they are able to create a new world for others, where they can begin to imagine a new, happier, healthier and more complete self to emerge.
Dr. Michael Alcee, a clinical psychologist with multiple TED Talks to his name, invokes Atticus Finch’s famous turn of phrase from To Kill a Mockingbird when describing empaths: “The empath has a profound empathic imagination, a capacity to know someone deeply … to ‘climb into his skin and walk around in it.’” According to Alcee, “Empaths are well versed in the fluid nature of emotions, and how quickly and easily they can move from one thing to the other, so they aren’t as judgmental of people’s changes. They’re more supportive and encouraging of the other person’s process. The primary benefit of this empathic capacity is a richer, fuller, more nuanced appreciation for the strengths and flaws of others, and even a capacity to create a space so that new aspects of themselves can emerge and unfold.”