You May Be An Empath

When your anxiety is overwhelming and feels almost uncontrollable it may not belong to you. You may be an empath.

If for no apparent reason, you are often overcome by feelings of grief, sadness, despair or loneliness; the emotions may not belong to you. You may be an empath.
If you’ve been told that you’re ‘too sensitive’…
If you find violence on TV or in the movies unbearable…
If crowded noisy spaces make you uncomfortable…
If you need more alone time than most people that you know…
If you have strong intuition…
If you experience any of these examples on a regular basis, you are an empath. Or you could say that you are a highly sensitive person, or have a sixth sense or intuition. These all mean the same thing, that your physical, emotional and spiritual make-up is tuned in to the energy emanating from others. You can feel what others feel as if the experience causing the emotion is happening to you. And often you may not even realize that what you’re feeling isn’t yours.
The 3 areas of importance in being an empath:
1. Accept that the emotions that you’re feeling may not be yours.
If you accept that every overwhelming emotion that you feel is your own, you will start to lose yourself. Absorbing and holding on to other people’s emotions is physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting and it will prevent you from living your best life. Whether you look at being an empath as a gift or a curse is your choice​,  but fighting it won’t make it go away. Using anything to numb or block your experience such as drugs, alcohol or food won’t work and will just give you another problem to deal with. Being an empath is not a choice; it’s an innate characteristic of your soul.
You were not created to be an emotional sponge. You can have peace in your life and the way to peace is learning how to identify which emotions are your own and which are not, and how to develop boundaries. Boundaries serve two purposes. First they allow you to sense incoming energy such as other people’s emotions, without absorbing them, and second they help you learn where your help is needed.
The best way to identify if the emotions that you’re feeling are your own and to develop boundaries is with meditation. Think of the eye of a hurricane. No matter how intense and destructive the storm becomes, there is alway​s an area of calm in the center. Meditation can help you find your center of calm. Meditation can take different forms; many people find their center of calm through gardening, surfing or being in nature. But breathing is easily portable. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing​,  you can always bring your attention to your breath. The more you focus on your breathing the more centered you become. Becoming centered naturally leads to being more calm. When you are calm it’s much easier to evaluate if the emotions are coming from inside of you or outside of you. This is where developing boundaries comes in. When you identify an emotion as coming from outside of you, look at it. See it as if you’re watching a movie. Think of it as a story that someone else is telling you. And breathe. As you focus on your breath, you become stronger and it becomes easier to see that the energy is not yours and to not let it in.
2. Looking within yourself to understand why you reacted so strongly.
Even when you learn to maintain strong boundaries, there may be times when other people’s emotions will feel so powerful that they may overwhelm you. This happens because these emotions are resonating deeply with one of your own unresolved issues. We all have things to learn in this life, some that we know about and some that we’ve kept hidden even from ourselves. If you find yourself reacting in a way that surprises you, sit with it. When you meditate ask yourself: Why did I react so strongly to this situation?  Then let it go completely and just focus on your breathing. It may take weeks or even months but eventually it will just come to you. The most important thing to remember when this happens is to be kind to yourself.
3. Accepting the responsibility that the experience may be a call for help.
The more that you work with your empathic abilities the easier it will be to know who they’re coming from. Sometimes you’ll pick up the mood of a crowd, a city or a country. Sometimes you’ll pick up the emotions of a relative, friend or acquaintance. If you’re picking up strong emotions from someone that you know, it’s time to check in. Calling or texting and saying: Hi, I just thought of you and wanted to say hi, could make a huge difference in their life. You don’t need to have a deep soul-searching conversation, just open the door and give them the opportunity to talk about whatever they want to talk about. If you do take an action and it doesn’t work out the way that you had hoped, let it go. You are not responsible for anyone else’s actions. You are only responsible for your own.
Developing and learning to work with your talent is a life-long endeavor. The more that you work with your empathic abilities, the more that they and your ability to control them will grow. As you learn to identify what is yours and what isn’t and to set boundaries​,  you’ll be able to find peace and take back your life.


  1. Though I have known for quite some time that I am an empath, I often forget to ask myself if what I am feeling is truly mine. And I definitely haven’t mastered the art of detecting the feeling as it approaches, so I can know in advance that it belongs to someone else. I’d love to be able to do that, though. And I hadn’t thought about it as a call for help! Thanks for these new insights, as well as the reminders.

    • Hi Jeanine, When you’re feeling strong emotions it can be very difficult to see them as separate from yourself. Some of my clients have found it helpful to put up a post-it on the bathroom mirror that says:
      Is it mine? Thank you for the kind words.

  2. I am also an empath – it can be trying AND it is fabulous, too. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this post. I am a sponge and all that comes from being an empath. Identifying that the emotions that you’re feeling might not be your own is very helpful for me. I’ve never thought of it that way.

  4. Hi! Great article. Being an empath definitely comes with an incredible desire of wanting to help others and be their champion. It can also be overwhelming and exhausting. Finding that balance is essential through everything you suggested -breathing, being present, and listening to others.

    Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • Thank you, Elisa. Being an empath can be challenging but as you know, if we can maintain balance it’s also very rewarding.

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