Empath Personality Traits
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Self Love

Being An Empath Is Comforting, Not Weird

Who knew it was a real thing?

Alvin Mahmudov

First, background information. I am not a religious or spiritual person. I don't believe in ghosts and I've never visited a psychic. I don't wear crystals, unless they're faux and used solely for aesthetic value in my jewelry. And I'm an empath.

If you know about empaths, and maybe have been told that you are one, cool, you've found a kindred spirit in me. If you don't know what an empath is, but you feel like emotions are hard and overwhelming and everything in this article seems relatable, you may be one too.

I didn't know anything about empaths except vague preconceived notions of psychics and crazy people with colorful scarves, big eyes, and too much jewelry. Until I visited my family counselor and was told that she had diagnosed me as an empath.

More background—my family visits a counselor because I have a younger brother coping with some anxiety and depression issues, and occasionally I have been asked to visit so his therapist (a legitimate psychologist with about ten degrees hanging over her head in her study) can distinguish the family dynamic from all angles. I've been to her maybe four times, and the last time I went she dropped the empath label.

My first reaction was laughter—I thought she was being metaphorical, or kidding. But no, she was serious. And, as it turns out, so is the world of empaths.

Now, being an empath doesn't mean that I have crazy powers that can manipulate emotions and see auras. And no, this knowledge has not altered the way I feel or see things, it has just given definition and reasoning to the way I already interacted with the world around me.

Being an empath is simply a personality type. It's a very specific and fairly rare one (and much more common in females than in males) but a 'normal' personality type nonetheless. The name, and all the associated interactions and names that go along with it—energy vampires, auras, and all that—are simply harkened over from the only understanding of empaths before science and psychology stepped in.

So, what does it mean to be an empath?

Basically, it means you are hypersensitive to the thoughts and feelings of people around you. Some common traits of empaths include being able to tell when someone is lying without studying mannerisms/expressions, being able to feel the emotional "climate" of a room, feeling both the need to be around people and yet drained after being around large groups, and/ or feeling a change in your emotions because of the feelings of someone near you. Empaths are usually dog lovers, loyal friends, creative thinkers, and avid readers. They are usually shy but perceptive, and enjoy small gatherings of close friends over large groups. Many empaths are frazzled by large crowds and public spaces, and feel the need to 'recharge' after being around people for long periods of time.

In other words, it means you are empathetic. The weirdest things on the list, though I didn't know they were weird until I mentioned them to friends, are the abilities to read the 'climate' of a room, and tell when people are being dishonest/withholding information. I thought everyone could tell just by standing near a person whether they felt happy, sad, angry, or whatever else. Apparently, this is not the case. Which, though it doesn't change anything, is good to know about myself, and about people around me. It's important to remember that most people can't tell I'm upset just from the "vibes" I'm giving off. It is my somewhat unique ability to detect these "vibes" that gives way to the idea of 'auras'. Now, I don't pretend to see glowing colored projections around people or anything. But, I do get a sort of feeling, call it intuition or observation, whatever you wish, almost like a bit of how they are feeling is clouding how I'm feeling. My own mood shifts just a little when I'm in contact with someone who is feeling differently than me, and I am aware that it is a force outside of me that causes the change. And I realize now that I'm putting all of this to words for the first time, that it sounds a little out there. But it's true. And up until recently, I thought it was like this for everyone.

After I received the label of empath from the therapist, she told me a little bit about the reality of the personality type, and the ways to manage myself to ensure that I stay happy and healthy. She explained that, because I feel what others feel, I make it my duty to improve their emotional state, both out of legitimate concern and out of the hope that it will improve my emotional state if the people influencing it are experiencing positive emotions. She warned me that I am—in metaphorical and basic terms—giving pieces of my own emotional security away when I do this, which isn't a bad thing, as long as the effects are positive and the people I exercise this on return the good feelings and positivity as a result. When people continue to come back again and again with constant negativity, and I provide support to no avail, it can become incredibly draining and harmful to my emotional security. This is where that crazy term "energy vampire" comes from.

The phrase still makes me laugh to myself, but it really is just a simplified term for explain the effect of a toxic personality on an empathic person. It applies to people who need the constant attention, support, and reassurance of others to feel secure, and don't reciprocate that support, which, for an empath, means a continual drain.

So, if any of this sounds familiar, you might be an empath. It sounds funny and a little psychedelic, but for me, it's been an incredibly reassuring revelation. Now I have a reason for why my mood is so severely affected by people around me. I have an explanation for why I am so uncomfortable at parties or in large crowds when my friends have no problem with it. And, more than anything, it generally helps me to understand and accept myself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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