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