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15 Things To Remember If You Love An Empath

15 Things To Remember If You Love An Empath

How to love an Empath, let me count the ways: fiercely, honestly and with all you’ve got.

We don’t take love lightly so when we truly choose to open our hearts to you, expect to be blown away. It’s intense and powerful and messy and some times hard to handle but it’s real. Empaths don’t know how to love any other way.

I should also clarify what exactly an Empath actually is. An Empath is someone who is highly sensitive to the energy/moods/emotions of people, situations and their environment to the point where they can take on those emotions as their own. They also have to some degree psychic abilities of “knowing” things without having proof. Somewhat mysterious and complex, as their emotions run deep but what lies beneath the surface is a world all its own.

When you’re looking into the eyes of an Empath who has opened up their heart to you will see vulnerability, honesty, hurt, pain, dreams, happiness,love. With emotions flying, thoughts racing and ideas flowing nonstop, not everybody is fit to love one. It can be hard but to make things a little bit easier I’ve created 15 (yes, 15!) ways to love us.

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Most can really be applied to loving anyone but some are specifically tailored to the highly sensitive Empaths in your life!

1.  We cannot change, so please don’t expect that. 

Nothing will drive an Empath further away more than if you try to change our sensitivity and emphatic abilities. YES, we are different from the majority of the people you know but so what? We’re sensitive. We’re intuitive. We get easily overstimulated. We cry. We see the beauty in everything. We feel the pain of others. Don’t try to change us. It won’t work and we will close ourselves off to you immediately.

2.  Caging us will cause damage. 

We are like birds; we need to be able to fly freely to wherever our emotions take us. There will be highs and lows and twisting and turning in-betweens. Caging us is like clipping our wings. We will lose the light that guides our way if you try to control us. If that happens, we will shut down and the love we have to give gets tucked pretty deep inside of us. The damage is hard to undo but can be avoided by not trying to cage us.

3.  Time alone is non-negotiable.

Empaths need to re-energize in a space that is all their own. It will look differently for everyone but chances are they need time to be alone. It can be tiring always feeling the energy of the people surrounding us, please don’t be mad or annoyed when we need to refuel on our own. It doesn’t mean we don’t love or want to be around you. It means we need to quiet our mind and replenish our energy. We will come back happier than before, I promise.

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4.  Take what we say seriously.

Empaths are extremely creative folks. There’s always a next idea that’s popping up in their head, listen to them. Take them seriously. Believe in them, even as crazy as the idea sounds. Empaths, arguably more than anyone else, have the ability to truly change the world. Listen to them when they pour their hearts out to you. Because somewhere in between their excitement, their passion and words that get jumbled, something quite amazing is ready to be created.

5.  Being supportive helps us open up

We know we’re different, this isn’t new to us. We know the way we see life doesn’t make sense to a lot of non-empathetic people. We also know there’s a whole world of people out there trying to change us. If you want to love us, support us. Step out on a limb and put a little faith in us. This actually helps us feel safe enough to more open about who we are.

6.  Our intuition is usually spot on.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually do know what we’re talking about. We’re empathetic, remember? We feel everything. So, when we have a good feeling about something, trust us. When we have a bad feeling about something, trust us. When we go after a dream because it speaks to our hearts, trust us. When we think somebody is lying, trust us. For a non-empathetic person I understand this is putting a lot of “blind faith” in someone but trust me, trusting the Empath in you life will show her that you believe in what she’s saying.

7.  Be honest; dishonesty destroys us.

As an Empath, most people think sugar-coating things is the way to go. I will tell you with 100% certainty being honest is the ONLY way to go. The betrayal we feel from being lied to, after we have opened up our hearts and souls to you, is something that will take a very long time to recover from. It can, and most likely, will ruin your relationship. Just be honest.The couple of days of crying sure beats losing an Empath for good.

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8.  Don’t compete with the love we have for our animals.

MOST, not all, but most Empaths feel unbelievably connected to animals and have a one or two (or seven) furry friends that they ABSOLUTELY LOVE. When I say connected what I really mean is they would do anything for them. Some days you will feel like you come second to them. If you want the honest truth, you kinda do. They can’t help it. The love they feel for their pets is different from the love they feel for you and it shouldn’t be competed with. Don’t try. I guarantee your wife will love you more if you can accept and appreciate the deep love she has for her dog.

9.  We need you to make us laugh.

Some days we need someone to pull us out of our non-stop minds and remind us what it is to laugh until our bellies hurt. To have fun like children do. To live in the moment and not be so serious all the time. We need someone to push the pause button for a moment and let us know it’s OK to enjoy ourselves.

10.  Know there are some things we will never give up.

There are things in this world that speak so clearly and directly to our hearts it feels like it’s apart of us. As dramatic as it may sound, it’s almost like we won’t be ourselves without it. It could be music, painting, photography, working for a non-profit organization, feeding the homeless. It’s love and passion. Some of the most passionate people in the world are Empaths. If we lose our passion, we lose ourselves. Please don’t ask or expect us to give up on something that has changed our hearts for the better.

11.  Our hearts break daily.

It’s overwhelming being an Empath. Some days all it takes is for somebody to say one “wrong” thing to me or to see an image of something terrible or hear a story about a person I don’t know who’s gone through the unthinkable and I’m crying like a baby. Our hearts break easily. It can be devastating at times to be an Empath so on those days, let us cry. No questions or advice needed, just accept our hearts are heavy from this world and we need to cry it out.

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12.  Understand we love with great intensity.

It’s no surprise that when you feel deeply connected to almost everything, you love with great intensity. We truly feel “one” with our surroundings! So when we love somebody we feel one with them and our love is intense. It’s powerful. It can heal but in the wrong hands, it can be dangerous. In the right hands, it will change you forever. And for the better.

13.  Accept our abilities to feel the world around us.

Poking fun at our sensitivity is one thing. Judging, ridiculing and belittling who we truly are is another. Acting as if “this” is something we will “get over” is a kiss of death when in a relationship with an Empath. Accept us. Love us. We have a unique ability to see and feel the world differently. Don’t judge us, please.

14.  Don’t cast your insecurity on us.

It takes a secure man to really love an Empathetic woman. That is the God’s honest truth. If you want to tear her down by casting your insecurity on her, sadly it may work. Feeling how others feel isn’t something she can turn off. But I know if you do that, she will hide the best of her from you. She will temporarily clip her own wings and it will be your loss. The beauty and most amazing parts of her happen when she’s in motion.

15.  If it is too much, please leave gracefully.

Maybe you’ve met her at the wrong time, or it wasn’t meant to be forever or this is too much for you right now. Either way, love her by leaving gracefully. Do not cage her or put her down or make her feel insecure about who she is. Love her by leaving with respect and honesty. She will love and thank you for it.

If you get the chance to love an Empath even just once in your life, you are lucky. It won’t always be easy but it will most definitely be worth it.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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