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What It Means To Be An Empath and 4 Ways To Cope

to be an empath

Empaths are highly sensitive people with a limitless sense of empathy towards other people. From the time we were children, it’s likely that some of us have worshipped characters that can read minds and pre-empt thoughts, save the day by staying a step ahead of the bad guy, and so on.

We’ve read of magic pills, powerful potions, and psychic powers, and we’ve been swayed. Now that we’re grown up and can settle for what’s closer to what we can understand and logically explain, the term “empath” may make more sense, even if it didn’t come with any magic or superhero powers.

But believe it or not, some of you reading this might already be empaths, with your share of gifts and sensitivities, for whether you know it or not, empaths often make the world a better place. 

Read 27 Traits Of An Empath

Who Is An Empath?

An empath is a highly sensitive human being who is prone to sensing and feeling more, even that which is experienced by other people.

Empaths are said to absorb the emotions that other people feel and in some examples, are cited as people who are able to tap into the mood of a room, almost as soon as they walk into it.

From a more spiritual sense, the word is sometimes used to mean someone who is able to feel more than the average person and may even exhibit certain psychic powers. Because of a more fine-tuned energetic makeup, empaths tend to become ridden with anxiety and stress. 

Are You An Empath?

As you may have already figured out, the term empath is a large one. It includes all kinds of people with the common trait of a highly sensitive temperament. So if you’re coming across this term for the first time and also trying to find out if you’re an empath yourself, then read on.

The following are feelings and behavioral traits that most empaths share. 

1. The need for “alone time”.

The response mechanism empaths come with to the world is usually very refined, allowing them to “read” underlying themes in interactions and moods, compared to an average person.

But while this sounds like a boon that anyone and everyone would love to have within themselves, the fact is that it is as much a curse. The highly sensitive nature of an empath predisposes them to feel drained and exhausted, especially in the company of large crowds. Does this ring a bell?

empath alone time
What It Means To Be An Empath and 4 Ways To Cope

2. The need to avoid “certain people”.

If you by now, have a sense of how empaths function, you’ll know it’s a paradoxical state. While empaths, by definition, hold a reservoir of empathy, they’re also the same people who can easily fall under the mercy of energy vampires.

Like empaths, energy vampires are of different kinds. The Oppressor, the Victim, and the Drama Queen are just a few examples. If you’ve been an empath, it’s highly likely that you’ve felt the need to get away from certain people, while also feeling the need to interact with them and “help them out”.

This side to an empath’s behavior typically continues until they become aware that they need to find ways to interact without giving up on their own well-being. 

Read 9 Reasons Why Empaths Are The Best People To Have Around

3. The need to “stay away” from intimate relationships.

We’re back to discussing the paradoxical nature of empaths that makes them want to stay and run away!

The reason why many empaths unconsciously choose to weave in and out of relationships is that they don’t want their personal space to be hacked away.

This relates back to empaths wanting “alone time”, which again is connected to people feeding on the energy of empaths. Be it close friendships or intimate relationships, empaths tend to want space that is unquestioned and unhindered.

Traditional formats of friendships and partnerships may not work for these people, because they’re constantly trying to tread a fine line between togetherness and independence. If this cause-effect explanation sounds familiar to you, then you could very well fall into the category of empaths. 

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Sunanda Pati

Sunanda Pati is a certified expressive arts therapist and facilitator and a freelance creative writer. Having developed an early interest in psychology and later various forms of bodywork, she has actively worked in knowing her own inner world and processing various traumas. She believes every person is blessed with an endless reserve of inspiration, courage, and wisdom. Sunanda lives, writes, practices, and facilitates in Bangalore, India. More of her writings can be found at Gaia Comes to the City. She also runs an expressive arts initiative of the same name (Gaia Comes to the City), which can be found on Facebook.View Author posts