7 Signs You're An Empath & How To Use It To Your Advantage

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Have you ever been told that you are "too emotional"? Or realized you seem to feel so much more than others around you? Chances are, you're an empath.

Empaths have the ability to feel the emotions, mental states, and physical symptoms of others as if they are their own. This tendency to feel the experience of others combined with an empath's own emotions can make the volume on life feel like it's set to 300, maybe even 1,000.

Many years ago, I learned that I was an empath, and it validated the way I experience life for the first time. After years of being criticized for caring so deeply about my work, the state of the world, and the people I loved in my life, I finally felt seen and less misunderstood. I stopped fighting against my empathic nature and desperately trying to shut it down. Instead, I learned how to celebrate my superpower to feel exceptionally.

I discovered that with skillful application of the right tools, many of my "weaknesses" could become my greatest strengths. I discovered that I can be a nurturing partner for both myself and my loved ones.

Curious about whether you are an empath? Here are seven dead giveaways:

1. You feel other people's feelings as if they are your own in your body.

Whether the person is a stranger or a close friend, you somehow sense what they are feeling. For example, you always know when a stranger who walks into the grocery store is angry, without saying a word to them. Or you can tell your roommate is feeling nervous about their job interview because you get butterflies in your own stomach when they pass by.

2. Charged emotions and people drain your energy fast and can wear you down. 

Whether you are working with your own big emotions like anger, frustration, and sadness or spending time with someone else who is feeling these charged feelings, you often find yourself completely exhausted afterward. You may feel like you need a long nap as if someone pulled the power plug out of your internal battery pack.

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3. You fear getting lost in relationships. 

You may have a history of becoming unusually consumed by "new love" when you start a relationship. Or you may fear not having boundaries in a relationship, giving how much you tend to give yourself to others. Either way, relationships can feel like quicksand, blurring where you begin and where you end, in a way that scares you.

4. You are easily affected by the media, images, and movies.

You are the one friend who always cries during movies. You feel the weight of pain and despair behind a 30-second news clip or the grief behind a person's eyes in a photograph. Moments on a screen can have a big impact on you.

You may suddenly get upset and be unable to locate the source that triggered the emotion.

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5. You feel before you understand. 

You can feel big waves of emotions or sensations that you cannot quite explain. For example, you may suddenly get upset and be unable to locate the source that triggered the emotion. This often may be from an unaware energetic "consumption" of the feelings of others or the environment around you.

6. You are deeply giving, sometimes at your own expense.

You are the friend that people can count on. You love big and you care deeply. However, this can come at a cost. It can make you forget to give back to yourself.

7. You feel deeply interconnected to the world around you. 

Your connection to other humans, animals, plants, and nature is uncanny. You can easily sense an interconnected web of life when you are feeling well and balanced, leading you to feel extremely openhearted.   

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If you see yourself in the list above, congratulations, you are at least a little empathic! 

Empaths may feel isolated, lonely, and deeply misunderstood given their unique experience of life. But rather than fighting against the fact that feeling is at the center of your life, you can choose to celebrate it as an essential part of your wholeness.

You can facilitate positive changes in your life when you decide to embrace that you are an empath. To begin, start recognizing when you experience any of the seven signs listed above, and how they affect you. 

Then, consider what would shift if you chose to embrace your feeling nature rather than resist it. This can mean you learn how to choose what feelings we allow in and which ones we release and exploring the balance between giving to others and giving to ourselves. What if being an empath was…your greatest gift?

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