Are you highly sensitive? You might be an empath!

Are you highly sensitive? You might be an empath!

Do you feel like you are different? Are you highly sensitive to energies and emotions? You might be an empath and not even know about it. Just like me. I grew up thinking there’s something wrong with me. I felt different compared to everyone else. Only a few years ago I eventually found a name for it – an empath.

Better understanding of what’s happening helped me to see the higher level of empathy as a gift rather than as a burden. However, that doesn’t mean that life of an empath is easy.

What does it mean to be an empath?

We all have a certain level of empathy – understanding of other people’s feelings and emotions. Most people will find themselves somewhere in the middle on the scale Narcissist – Empath.

Narcissists lack empathy. They are not capable of acknowledging other people’s feelings even though they might not be aware of that. On the other hand, there are empaths who are highly sensitive an intuitive people. They process other people’s feelings as their own and therefore they are easily abused.

Being an empath means you are open to perceiving energies more than other people can imagine. If you try to tell them, they won’t believe you.

Empaths are sensitive to vibrations

I’m very sensitive to vibrations of all kinds. Bluetooth for example gives me a severe headache. I find very unpleasant having radio or television on. It’s a very distracting and disturbing externally and internally.

Remember those old-fashioned tower computers? My brother used to have one and he would be on it late at night when he was supposed to be in bed. I used to be able to tell if the computer was on or off across the wall, complaining to my mum that I can’t sleep. Do you think she believed me? No, I can’t possibly feel it. Of course not. 🙂

Vibrations

It’s not just the technology. I can feel other people’s mood changes and their reactions to daily events. This is one of the most difficult things to manage.

I work in an office. For me a day at work doesn’t mean just having to concentrate on the job which is easy but to have to deal with several computers, air-conditioning and every single mood swing of everyone in the room.

Every time someone gets angry, impatient or frustrated, it’s goes through me. Sometimes it feels like dark heavy thick clouds are coming from a person and pressing into me, sometimes it’s more like sharp shards, sometimes it shows as tension or a sudden headache or a nausea. After a day like that I feel exhasted.

Empaths need to be alone – a lot

We all need some time away from other people. For an empath it’s much more important than for anyone else. If you are on your own, you suddenly don’t have to process everyone else’s emotions and you can be yourself.

As a teenager, I remember that I only felt ok when I was at home alone, which was rare. It felt like for a few brief moments I could be myself without having to deal with the burden of living in an abusive family environment.

If you ask someone about their earliest memories, they will tell you something nice and impressive. For me that wasn’t the case. My earliest impressions consist more of feelings than events. I remember my mum not being happy and how powerless I felt that I couldn’t do anything about it. That’s not exactly the kind of thing a five year old should occupy herself in an ideal world but we don’t live in one.

I was always a loner. My brother would spend most of his time running outside with his mates. I was at home reading books. Stories in them were colourful and exciting and I could let my imagination run wild. My mum would come and try to push me to go out to see some “friends” but I wouldn’t. Sometimes she even got angry when I refused to go out. I felt safer between the four walls with my books than having to deal with other kids outside. I didn’t know why that was and I wasn’t really thinking about it much till I hit my teens. When you become a teenager, the need for social life occurs sooner or later.

Sitting alone on a bench

Social life is difficult for an empath

For me, it’s very difficult to be in a room with more than one or two people at once. If I have to attend a social event, I would try to stay in the corner somewhere and pretend that I’m invisible or I would stick to a close friend all the time, “Please don’t leave me alone with strangers.”. 🙂

Empaths are easy targets to talk to. They are good listeners because they pay attention not just to what you’re saying but they process your feelings in the same time. I very often find that after a few minutes of conversation, even total strangers would start telling me about their personal problems, hurts and injustice. I think they somehow subconsciously feel that I really understand what they are going through.

It’s highly unlikely that I would enjoy an event for more than an hour or two. It’s too much to process all the time. I can concentrate on one person for an extended period of time but doing it with several people with all the background noise on top of it soon becomes exhausting. After attending a social event I usually have to sleep for a long time to replenish my energy.

Empaths are magnets for vampires

You think vampires are made up? Oh no. As much as you might enjoy watching zombies and vampires series on television, meeting one in real life or worse, living with one is not fun.

The difference is that the real vampires are killing you ever so slowly and suck your energy rather than your blood. Chinese people call your life energy chi, others call it etheric body. It’s just as vital as your blood. Blood is like a more dense version of chi. You can see blood but not the energy.

Emotional vampires are attracted to empaths because they are so open and vulnerable. They consciously or subconsciously suck your energy and after meeting one you feel from very tired to totally numb.

It’s not just about people, it’s about places too

Sometime I have feelings about places. Especially visiting historical places of interest can be pretty tricky. I guess it’s down to the energy of that particular place. I like it or I don’t and I slowly and painfully learnt not to question my instincts.

Olev and I were sightseeing in the Czech Republic and decided to explore Velehrad basilique. It’s a nice big church and a place of pilgrimage. The Pope John Paul II visited this place in 1990 and I was baptised there (although nobody asked for my consent as I was two months old). I haven’t been inside for years, so as the church was open, in we went.

Velehrad Basilique
Velehrad Basilique interior, photo by SchiDD, under the CC licence

Catholic churches like Velehrad basilique are in one sense scary, in other they create a sense of awe. I enjoyed the visit till we made it to the back of the church where the altar was. There was a path behind the altar and you could walk around. There was crypt with some important high clergyman being buried.

As we stepped into that space, my stomach turned over and I had to stop myself from vomiting there and then which is highly inappropriate in a church. I only remember trying to get out of there as quickly as possible and still be respectful.

There was something there. I have no idea what but it stuck to me and I couldn’t get rid of it. I was outside sitting on a bench still feeling queasy and it took several hours of internal work for me to feel ok. Although, it wasn’t as bad as once after visiting Avebury I has a severe migraine for more than a month till thanks to my friend I realized what the cause of the migraine was.

There’s more

Apart from the signs of being highly empathic mentioned above, there are many others.

Empaths can’t cope with any form of violence, real or virtual. They are easy targets for psychic attacts. They don’t cope easily with cluttered disorganized environment and they are over-sensitive to any form of stress.

Daily life is not easy for an empath. The key is to set your own guidelines and boundaries and not to let other people mess with them. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with you.

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