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6 Struggles Empaths Understand (And That’s Why You Should Appreciate Them)

6 Struggles Empaths Understand (And That’s Why You Should Appreciate Them)

If you have empathy, you can understand and even feel what other people are going through when they are up against grief, hardship, disappointment, pain, and a host of other harrowing emotions. The word “empathy” comes from two Greek words: emaptheia, which means “passion,” and pathein, which means “to experience.”

Why are some people more empathetic than others? Research by Dr. Elaine Aron of Stony Brook University of New York shows that the brains of empaths have a stronger reaction when faced with certain emotions.

“We found that areas of the brain involved with awareness and emotion, particularly those areas connected with empathetic feelings, in the highly sensitive people showed substantially greater blood flow to relevant brain areas than was seen in individuals with low sensitivity during the 12-second period when they viewed the photos [of happy and sad faces].” — Dr. Aron.

If you are empathetic, you show you understand, you listen and you are compassionate. You may even take action and reach out by being sympathetic and helpful.

But when you are an empath, you are in a whole other category. You are so sensitive that you may actually absorb people’s emotions and suffering, even to the point of actually feeling them yourself. This is so intense that empaths have a hard time trying to put up shields so that they can actually survive without becoming engulfed. Here are 6 struggles that we empaths have to cope with on a daily basis. If you are one of us, you will have no trouble relating to these. If you are not, you might appreciate us even more.

1. We feel overwhelmed

If we are close to a person who is suffering a bereavement, we may feel that person’s sorrow so intensely that we will want to cry with them. The only problem here is that this prevents us from taking helpful action or being useful in some practical way. We are paralyzed and we wish we could do more.

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2. We are shock absorbers

When it comes to witnessing harrowing scenes of migrants drowning while fleeing war, we cannot control the flood of emotions we feel. This is a highly desirable state in many ways because it makes us more compassionate human beings. The downside is that we become sponges for the world’s suffering and injustice. Every time we turn on the TV news, it is dragging us down and making us exhausted.

3. We have to learn to say “no”

We realize that there is a limit to getting drawn in when people who are negative and toxic try to suck us into their worlds. Empaths have to realize that true happiness, joy, and contentment come from within a person. It is not our job to make other people happy, but this is so hard when we have to set the limits and boundaries. A good tip is to play for time and not respond immediately to a cry for help — we all need to assess whether our energy and space are at risk.

4. We may be physical empaths

The problem here is even more acute because if we are physical empaths, we seem to absorb other people’s pains, illnesses, and stress. It often means we are hypochondriacs. We seem to have a very thin protective shield, which means that other people’s negative energy is getting through to us much more easily. Nobody is quite sure why this is so. The best way we can protect ourselves from this is to learn to practise mindfulness, breathing exercises, and to surround ourselves with friends who emanate positivity and healthy energy.

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5. We can spot the fakes

Our empathic antenna sometimes have to work overtime. You know those people who praise you to the skies or those filled with anger or hate but who are charming on the surface? Being an empath helps us to spot these ones. It also helps us to be on our guard when certain people want to exploit our sensitivity and compassion.

“Empaths often possess the ability to sense others on many different levels.” — Christel Broederlow

6. We are super sensitive

This goes for everything from being aware of what a person wants, thinks, and desires to being super sensitive in the physical sense. This usually means that we are easily startled and are disturbed by bright lights, rough fabrics, and our sense of smell is extremely sharp. Now you know why we rarely watch police shows and other violent stuff on TV.

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Are you an empath? Why not take the quiz here to actually find out? Remember these are labels and that life is for living and helping others when we can.

Featured photo credit: Sympathy/Javier Kohen via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

The Reinvention Checklist

Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

Resilience

Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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Support

Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

Self-Care

During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

  • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time with your support system
  • Taking some time to walk in nature
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

How to Reinvent Yourself

Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

1. Discover Your Strengths

This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

2. Plan

This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

3. Try Things Out

Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

4. Manage Your Finances Well

Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

5. Muster Your Courage

Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

6. Use Your Support Group

As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

Final Thoughts

If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

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Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

Reference

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