Being an empath – it is who I am and I know no other way to be

Being an empath

Challenges of being an empath like me

It is quite a challenge when you are an empath to have close relationships with those who are non-empaths. They may be a manager, a colleague, a partner, a relative or a friend. You possess the very strong ability to be empathetic with a deep understanding. You feel what someone is going through or dealing with. A non-empath does not and may not be willing to attempt to comprehend what you are experiencing.

Labels cast upon you could include ‘being overly sensitive or emotional’ or ‘feeling too much’. Another one is that ‘you wear your heart on your sleeve’. Common statements like these made by those unable to truly respect who you are. They also lack the level of sensitivity and empathy you feel. They have little or no understanding of how it affects you. These are all labels that others have tried to stick on me. As an unknowing child, I found this slight against me rather painful. In my adulthood, it has still shaken me at times. With growing older I can now make sense of components of my being and my world. I accept who I am without leaving room for those to mock me.

No apologies for being an empath

I will not apologise for being an empath. It was not a choice I was able to make; it is traits I have carried for a long part of my journey. Perhaps even longer than I can remember. However, I would not change it if it was possible to do so. Shedding tears is no longer a cause for embarrassment when I feel the pain of another. I am grateful for having a much deeper understanding and connection than the majority of the population. I have the ability to relate to people’s situations, feelings, moods, issues and so forth with a greater sensitivity and empathy. Feeling positive experiences more profoundly is a wonderful gift. Although this is at the expense of heightened reactions to certain stimuli.

When others are non-empaths

Over the course of my life I have had people around me who are the polar opposite to me. They have been managers, colleagues, partners and relatives . Being in close quarters to these individuals has drained me more times than I care to count. At the time I was unaware that I was an empath despite being empathetic by nature. When I reflect on those relationships, I am now able to make sense of why they were problematic. They did not serve me well.

The third party interrogation comes to mind when a senior staff member could not comprehend me taking leave. There was no understanding why I would be beside a colleague and friend at his mother’s funeral. So too does the quizzical expression that flashed across the face of an acquaintance. I had wept for joy at a dear friend receiving exciting and wonderful news. Following right behind is the puzzlement at me shedding a tear watching a story or a documentary on the television. It had moved me deeply.

Experiencing those who are either non-empaths or others who I term ‘emotionally neutral’ provides a greater challenge for them in some respects. I can see that they do not envision the world as I do. Nor do they feel with such sensitivity and so profoundly as I. On the flip side, there are challenges for me with my interactions with these folks. They lack an understanding of me and what it is like being an empath. Dismissal or an attempt to mock is not unusual when they cannot ‘get it’. It also impacts the quality of the communication and engagements with these people. I am often unable to have rather deep intellectual and also very meaningful conversations with them on life topics. Feelings of frustration as well as low tolerances can surface.

understanding the impacts of being an empath

Learning more about being an empath has provided me with recognition that fatigue or feeling drained is a natural trait. I have acquired a greater understanding as to why certain things are a challenge for me. Such things as crowded places, over-stimulation and heightened sensitivity to sounds and smells. It also explains why I spend a lot of time with my own thoughts. I am trying to make sense of my world. It is like pieces of my puzzle have finally come together. I can now see the overall picture and it has become clear.

I empathise with any of you who are in situations where you are an empath and dealing with non-empaths. Or vice-versa. My hope is that we can have a mutual respect for one another. By sharing I hope that non-empaths can gain an understanding and awareness that provides room for more thoughtful communication.


Image credit: Gerd Altmann @pixabay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.