Are you Highly Sensitive or a Highly Sensitive Empath?
It wasn't until I read Judith Orloff's book 'The Empath's Survival Guide - Life Strategies for Sensitive People' that I fully understood the difference between being Highly Sensitive & a Highly Sensitive Empath.
I've always been conscious of picking up on things that I just knew, but couldn't logically expain why I knew them. When I learnt about the Highly Sensitive Trait & that sensing the subtleties that others miss was a key part of the trait, I thought I'd found the answer. Apparently not! I still seemed to know things intuitively that other Highly Sensitive people around me missed. What was going on?
I did the natural HSP thing of doubting myself. My perceptions weren't being validated by my Highly Sensitive friends, so surely I must be wrong? It's a good thing I can be stubborn as a mule. Deep down, I knew what I was feeling had at least an element of truth, so I would follow my instincts. It wasn't always easy, or the convenient thing to do, but I stuck to my - metaphorical - guns. And I'm so glad I did.
Reading Judith Orloff's book opened my eyes to the fact that just because you're a Highly Sensitive Person & therefore can be empathic, doesn't automatically mean you're an Empath. Having empathy means you can relate to another person's experiences. Your heart goes out to your friend when she's going through a tough divorce, & you're happy for her when she finally meets Mr. Right. Being an Empath however, means you sense in your body her pain & suffering in the bad times & her elation & joy in the good times. Unlike everyone else, Empaths feel things before they think - opposite to the way we're taught to operate in our modern World. We can walk into a situation feeling centered & at ease & leave grumpy & unsettled - just because we've picked up somebody else's bad mood!
Not all Empaths are Emotional Empaths though. You may be a Physical Empath, where you attune to other people's physical symptoms & can even absorb them into your own body. Intuitive Empaths experience extraordinary perceptions & come in many flavours, including: Telepathic, Precognitive - where you have premonitions about the future, Dream, Mediumship, Plant, Earth & Animal Empaths.
Just as being Highly Sensitive brings many gifts as well as challenges, being an Empath can be unsettling if you don't recognise your tendencies & learn how to live in harmony with them. If you think you may be Highly Sensitive & an Empath, I highly recommend reading Judith Orloff's book as a first step. There are self-assessment quizzes to help you identify what type(s) of an Empath you are, & you'll learn ways to walk through the World relishing the extra dimensions being an Empath brings, instead of feeling assaulted on all sides!
Please leave a comment below if you relate to what I've shared in the blog. I'd love to hear whether you already knew you were a Highly Sensitive Empath, or if like me, this uncovered yet another layer to understanding yourself.
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