Being an Empath is Not Easy: Are You an Empath?

EmpathNotEasyBeing an empath is not easy. I know. I am one. What is an empath? It’s someone sensitive to the energy and feelings of other people. The energy you pick up may be positive, or it may be unhealthy and draining. 

And so much more. Being an empath means you have to take care of yourself and manage your energy.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be an empath, and navigate in this world of ours. 


What is an Empath? You Might be an Empath if….

According to Judith Orloff, M.D., an empath is someone who actually picks up the energy of other people. It may be that you often can get overwhelmed or anxious. Crowds may be challenging to manage for you. 

Some empaths may overeat to cope with picking up so many feelings they absorb from others. To nourish themselves, they may be drawn to alone time in the woods or nature in general. 

Because empaths absorb the feelings and energy of others, they often need more alone-time than others. They also can be negatively affected by noises, scents, or even excessive talking. 

Sometimes you may feel like you don’t fit in with others around you.

These are just some of the symptoms of being an empath. For a complete list, see Dr. Orloff’s website. 


What Does This Mean for You?

It means you need to manage your energy level on an ongoing basis consciously. Therefore, if you don’t, you can quickly feel emotionally and physically drained.   And over time, you may feel overwhelmed by being around others. 

You need to discriminate against those around you who quickly suck up your energy. Being aware of those around you means you carefully choose the contact you have with others. Are they healthy for you, or do they take away your energy?

Being an empath requires valuing yourself enough to be healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. Boundaries are going to be very important to set. But before you can effectively do that, you have to determine what works for you in terms of nourishing contacts around you. 

Pay attention to those people whom you enjoy versus those you do not. What are the similar traits the healthy people have versus the unhealthy ones?

Even watching the news, especially horrific events, can be overwhelming and difficult to let go once you know the facts. So you need to be mindful of things that negatively affect you and zap your energy and mind.

Being an empath will involve many people seeing you as either exceptionally quiet or even socially withdrawn and possibly even emotionally cold. The right people around you will understand and accept your needs.

Therefore, healthy people will be mindful of not zapping your energy level but will still need you to monitor your own temperature.


So How Can You Manage Your Energy and Contact With Others to Remain Healthy?

  • First of all, you need to set healthy boundaries for yourself. Setting boundaries is your responsibility. It’s healthy to set proper boundaries – it’s not mean to do so.
  • You need to avoid accommodating others at certain times, especially when it’s unhealthy for you. Doing that is self-care, not selfishness.
  • Stay away from those people who drain your emotional energy as much as possible.
  • Create your own “haven” to recuperate and recharge your energy.
  • You need to identify what drains you versus what rejuvenates you.
  • Be aware of picking up negative energy in a room with other people. You may need to move to another space or take time out to regain your positive energy. 
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep and rest.
  • Remember, don’t change who you are. Set boundaries and choose healthy people to be around you.
  • On a blog called Conscious Rethink, the author recommends that you create an energy shield to block negative energy. An energy shield is formed by creating an imaginary “bubble of light” as they call it. Creating this shield takes practice over time.
  • Some empaths avoid romantic relationships due to fear of feeling engulfed by the other person. Learning to set healthy boundaries allows you to be around the right people in your life.


Setting Boundaries in a Romantic Relationship

Especially in a romantic relationship, it’s even more important to set boundaries that fit you as an empath. The right partner will understand and accept your needs. Here are some additional tips from Judith Orloff, MD:

  1. Help your mate understand your needs, even down to the space you need in bed to sleep comfortably.
  2. Explain to your mate that it is about your need for emotional space, and has nothing to do with him or her. It’s about creating balance as an empath because of one’s energy blending with another as we sleep.
  3. Make sure you take “me time” breaks. 
  4. If you want more information about being an empath, check out Dr. Orloff’s book entitled The Empath’s Survival Guide.  


Final Thoughts

If these feelings hit home for you, identify what you need to do to be comfortable around others to avoid an energy drain. The right people around you will understand. Those who try to change who you are and what you need are the wrong people. When we value someone, we make room for their needs and wants as well as ours.


About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on and on

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