What is an empath?
Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions. Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people. You either are an empath or you aren’t. It’s not a trait that is learned. You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others. Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily. These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all. Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.
In general, an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker.
Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the “keepers” of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history. Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree.
They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments, and others can query how empaths can listen to one style of music, and within minutes, change to something entirely different. Lyrics within a song can have adverse, powerful effects on empaths, especially if it is relevant to a recent experience. In these moments, it is advisable for empaths to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with their emotions.
Empaths are daydreamers with difficulty keeping focused on the mundane. If life isn’t stimulating, off an empath will go into a detached state of mind. They will go somewhere, anywhere, in a thought that appears detached from the physical reality, yet is alive and active for they really are off and away. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths will not be receptive to such teaching and can (unintentionally) drift into a state of daydreaming.
Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors.
30 of the most common 'Empath' traits:
1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.
2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.
3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some, they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.
4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.
5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.
6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.
7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.
8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.
9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.
10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.
11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self-protection in order to hide from someone or something.
12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.
13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.
14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.
15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.
16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.
17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s, for this reason, many empaths get labelled as being lazy.
18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.
19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.
20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.
21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.
22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.
23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.
24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.
25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.
26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.
27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.
28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.
29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.
30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.
If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath.
What is an HSP?
Highly sensitive person (HSP) is the psychology term popularized in the 1990s to denote a person having a high measure of the innate trait whose scientific name is sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) (or innate sensitiveness, as originally coined by Carl Jung).
Highly sensitive people, who comprise about 15-20% of the population, process sensory data more deeply due to the biological nature of their nervous systems. This depth of processing underlies HSPs' greater proclivity to overstimulation, emotional reactivity and empathy, and sensitivity to stimuli.
If you find you are highly sensitive, or your child is, I’d like you to know the following:
The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’. To learn more about this, see HERE.
They're are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because their brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply.
They're also more easily overwhelmed. They notice everything, and are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
The HSP trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait.
Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told “don’t be so sensitive” so that they feel abnormal.
HSPs have a strategy of thoroughly processing information about a novel situation before acting (exploring psychologically), as distinguished from a strategy of novelty seeking (advancing immediately and exploring physically).
Awareness of HSPs has been gathering pace in the US for a while and a new documentary called Sensitive The Movie recently premiered in San Francisco. It explores the issue of HSP and features Dr Elaine Aron, a scientist and author of The Highly Sensitive Person (it’s sold over a million copies). It also includes new research that shows how the region of the brain that deals with empathy and sensory information is different in people who score highly on the sensitivity scale.
The singer Alanis Morissette, a self-confessed HSP, is among those who appear in the documentary. “My temperament is highly sensitive. I’m very attuned to very subtle things, whether it’s food or minerals or lighting or sounds or smells,” she says. “Overstimulation happens pretty easily.”
“Being HS is genetic,” says Dr Elaine Aron, who is a leading researcher in the field. “Twenty percent of us are born with it and it affects both sexes equally. I explain the condition in four letters: DOES. D is for depth of processing, which is the key to the whole condition. They process everything around them very deeply. O is for overstimulation, which is brought about because of D. E is for emotional reactivity and empathy. Research shows HSPs respond more to the emotions of others and to situations in general. And S is for sensitive stimuli – they’re incredibly sensitive to smells, sounds and light. However, not all HSPs are alike. For example, we know that around 30% are extroverts rather than introverts, which is what most people expect them to be.”
So what are the traits?
Dr Zeff says people who are HS “don’t have a natural shield – they find it hard to tune stuff out. For example, somebody standing close behind them and peering over their shoulder will really unsettle a HSP.” Dr Aron says HS men have a much harder time generally because society is less forgiving of them.
As for a cure, however, Dr Zeff says there’s no need.
“If you are a HSP you shouldn’t want to ‘cure’ yourself. It’s who you are.
In certain societies being highly sensitive is seen as a positive thing. Research found that highly sensitive men in Thailand and India were rarely, if ever, teased, whereas highly sensitive men in North America were frequently so.”
What is an INFJ?
(Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Feeling)
As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system.
INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.
INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be. This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.
INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates."
The world can be an extremely harsh place to live in when you feel/see the world a bit differently. So, I decided to share this post because of the many areas of HSP that relate to myself, my mother, and especially, my youngest son. I never understood peoples de-sensitizing to cruelty, lack of deep conversations, or losing their sense of wonder. To me, these were normal ways of viewing and experiencing the world.
My son, Lewis, is very similar to me, and it's hard on one hand because I admire the qualities of his sensitivity, but on on the other, I know that 'fitting in' is always going to be problematic. Not from his perspective, however, he is a happy, sweet soul, but because of what is/will be expected from him in a systematic world.
I often wonder why we, as a society, do not appreciate that people ARE different, and will, of course, continue to be so. Should we not then, accomodate lifestyles/teaching accordingly? Admit that there is nothing 'UN-Normal' in the variations of human nature as long as you're not harming anyone by being who you are, there really shoudn't be a problem.
I think, this is where I write from, and I'm learning each time that I type up words to explain the worlds that live within. Trying to learn the 'craft' as I go, enough that I may be able to portray the characters and stories as they play out in my mind, giving them justice, and a voice. I'm getting there. :o)
So, let's continue to inspire each other, philosophise together, and wonder at the stars, of love, quantum mechanics, and things beyond the usual.
love and light, my friends