Excerpt from Recognizing Empathy in Yourself, Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?
Recognizing Empathy in Yourself. Being a Highly Sensitive Person
Article Written By: Lyn Rose-Hornabrook
Many of us who were born with empathic abilities have not understood this “gift” until well into our adulthood. Those who were lucky enough to have parents that recognized this “gift” would have a head start in understanding how to deal with your intensely feeling life and sensitive nature. You were possibly fearful as a child because you did not understand those intense feelings, which may have made stepping out into the world quite terrifying. In my own case I was not always able to process what was going on around me as a young child and would sometimes end up having convulsions.
In an unaware state, an empath will experience the feelings or pains of others – be it distress, sadness, anger, etc., and any physical pain that accompanies it, and think that it is his / her own feelings or illness. It will be quite confusing because he / she will not understand what it is that is making him / her feel that way. It can be sudden and intrusive. This “taking on” is known as surrogation. Of course this surrogation can also be beneficial – say if you are a healer and need to know exactly what needs treating in a patient. For this to be effective you need to be able to discern your own feelings from those of the other person, and be able to clear yourself effectively afterwards.
The task is to learn to understand this gift– to understand how to discern between your own feelings and pain, and that of another. In this way you will have the ability to feel compassion for others from a self contained point of view instead of merging with them and taking on their pain in order to heal them. Because you understand what they are feeling you can then lead them to the correct path for them. You do not have to do it for them.
Being an empath, you see people as their naked selves. No matter how hard people try to hide who they are, an empath will see through them. This can be a blessing for some who feel unable to express themselves or unnerving for others if they are trying to hide something or if some ill intent is meant.
Some “Symptoms of Empathy”
- Acute senses – i.e. sense of smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing etc.
- Acute awareness of the feelings of those around them and feeling deeply for those in pain or suffering
- Often easily hurt
- Avoidance of conflict where possible preferring to keep things harmonious
- Easily startled by noise
- Easily moved to tears because of deep feeling
- Nervous in crowded situations
- People feel safe around them and able to talk to them easily. Even complete strangers will talk to them about personal things without consciously intending to do so
- Animals and children love and are attracted to them
- Easily affected by the weather
- Their greatest gift is to perceive with the heart
- They are usually a blessing to be around as they are nurturing and caring
- Music and harmony are very important to them. They can lose themselves completely while listening to music that resonates with them.
- Water is very beneficial and therapeutic to the empath