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8 Signs You’re Highly Empathetic Even If You Don’t Notice It

8 Signs You’re Highly Empathetic Even If You Don’t Notice It

Many people are highly empathetic, but some don’t notice it. They might believe they are different in a profound way, but they aren’t able to define what makes them unique or completely comprehend their emotional experiences. Being highly empathetic means that you can share and identify with the emotions of another person because you can easily step into their shoes. What highly empathetic people have in common is the uncanny ability to sense what others feel and think.

It’s important to distinguish between people who are highly empathetic and those who are empaths. When your emotions and experiences cross over into being indistinguishable from your own, such as you feel others’ physical and emotional pain as if it’s your own, you’re an empath.

Scientists are in the early stages of studying the correlation between empathy and our brains. Thus, as an example, researchers from the Department of Medicine at Penn State University concluded that that there is a neurologic basis for empathy.

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Do you think you might be highly empathetic? Check out these 8 signs and see how many to which you relate.

1. You are a Great Listener

People who are highly empathetic focus on listening, rather than speaking because they want to put themselves in the other person’s situation. In order to truly understand the difficulties or triumphs that the other person is feeling, they want to know all the details about what is happening in the other person’s life. They carefully listen to the words as well as study any non-verbal clues. They’re also mindful, meaning they’re focusing their thoughts in the present moment and staying engaged in the conversation.

2. You are a Source of Advice and Support

Highly empathetic people who are capable of naturally investing in the emotions of others become a source of advice, support and guidance for others — both personally and professionally. Their excellent listening skills help them offer well thought out advice, while making others feel appreciated, accepted and loved. The combination of their ability to listen well and to share in others’ feelings make them excellent counselors. This is why highly empathetic people gravitate to helping professions, such as therapists, teachers and medical practitioners.

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3. You are a Natural Leader

People who are highly empathetic easily build trust with their employees, students and others because of their natural capacity for compassion, excellent listening skills and honest interest in people. Highly empathetic leaders are active listeners, which fosters and cultivates open communication because of the trust that this skill builds. When a culture of trust is established in any type of group, progress and productivity flourish.

4. You Find Social Situations Draining

Social situations can be draining for highly empathetic people and they’re particularly draining for empaths, introverts, and highly sensitive people. Empathy generally provokes both positive and negative emotions, which can quickly make those with these abilities feel exhausted when overstimulated. In fact, according to this study from the University of Haifa in Isreal, social phobia is linked to elevated sensitivity to other peoples’ states of mind.

5. You Put the Needs of Others First

Those who are highly empathetic are inclined to take care of others before taking care of themselves. They completely put themselves in the shoes of the people or animals that they are caring for, putting others first over their own needs. Because they are highly empathetic, they are able to make excellent decisions about how their care affects the other person or animal both emotionally and physically, but might neglect their own needs.

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6. You Can Detect Positive and Negative Vibes

All matter in the universe, including our body, is in a constant state of vibration or movement. Vibrations from our bodies are spread to the space around us. Empaths are able to naturally feel this energy and interpret emotions that others are sending out — both positive and negative. Highly empathetic people can also recognize good and bad vibes, but they might require additional input, such as body language and verbal cues. For example, have you ever walked into a meeting a few minutes late and you know something wasn’t right? You instantly feel down, but there’s no logical explanation for it. Most likely, you are an empath or highly empathetic.

7. You Especially Enjoy Relationships with Your Pets

Animals instinctively know when people truly care about them. They’re attracted to people who are highly empathetic and highly sensitive, as described in this article about things highly sensitive people do differently. Consequently, those who are highly empathetic are able to form symbiotic relationships with their pets and other animals. With that being said, those who have a remarkable ability to understand the mental state in animals, such as the horse whisperer in the book from Nicholas Evans, can be described as “animal empaths.”

8. You are Successful in Sales

Highly empathetic people excel in sales because they’re able to put themselves in the shoes of a prospect and understand that person’s wants and needs. Furthermore, great salespeople build trust with prospects when they show that they truly care about the person’s requirements and desires. Of course, all great salespeople know that trust is essential for developing excellent relationships with clients and prospects, and highly empathetic salespeople have fine-tuned the ability to build this trust.

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Featured photo credit: My beautiful sisters :)/ellyn. via flic.kr

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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