Do you cry when you watch videos like ‘dogs reuniting with their owners’? Are you able to feel the pain of your close friend as your own? Do you get anxious when you hear about an accident that’s unrelated to you?
If you answered yes to all three questions, then in all likelihood you’re an empath. An empathetic person is someone who not only feels what someone else is feeling but also shares their emotions—positive or negative. In some situations, an empath can even feel the physical pain of someone else. Traits such as being sensitive, being attuned to someone’s emotions, and being compassionate can be attributed to an empath.
In our daily lives, we come across people who are good at understanding where we’re coming from. An empathetic person is quick to understand someone’s emotions and read them to gauge if they’re going through something difficult. The empathy personality trait is mostly intuitive but you can also develop empathy by taking conscious steps in that direction.
Harappa Education’s Decoding Others course teaches you the basics of reading people. Things like catching micro-expressions and deciphering verbal and nonverbal cues will help you in helping others. This is especially useful if you work in a team in your organization because effective teamwork can help you achieve your professional goals.
Let’s discuss what is an empath, some of the key characteristics of an empath, and how you can become an empathetic person.
What Is An Empath?
There’s a lot of debate and theory around the term ‘empath’. But, in essence, an empath is someone who’s able to take on another person’s emotions. They share in someone’s joy as well as sadness. If you’re an empath, you’re happy to see those closest to you in a similar state. As an empathetic manager, you’ll find joy in rewarding your teammates for their hard work.
But sometimes an empathetic person takes on too much and becomes burdened by external pressure. As an empathetic manager, if one of your associates falls sick, you’ll be pressed to make that person feel comfortable. You’ll probably send them home and reassign their work to someone else—even if there’s an urgent deliverable.
Empathetic people often find it hard to distinguish someone else’s feelings from their own. This can be both overwhelming and challenging so an empath has to be careful by taking active measures to remove themselves from this situation.
Traits Of An Empath
Dr. Judith Orloff MD wrote about empathy traits in her book The Empath’s Survival Guide. These points will help you identify whether or not you have an empathy personality type.
- You’re a sponge for other people’s emotions
- You’re sensitive to your external environment
- You’re an introvert and need time alone
- You love nature and feel calm when you’re outdoors
- You’re the wise, old owl among your friends and family
- You feel overwhelmed with an excessive display of emotions
- You may sometimes feel someone’s pain physically
- You need breathing room and avoid crowded places
- You tend to avoid confrontations and conflict
- You have a unique perspective of the world that many don’t understand
These traits of an empath must be considered as broad characteristics. You might showcase a few of these traits or all of these traits. That’s not to say that you’re completely at the mercy of external stimuli. An empathetic person can certainly work toward switching off when needed. Many people with an empathy personality type prefer to take a few days alone to recuperate and overcome the rollercoaster of emotions.
How To Cope As An Empath
Empathetic people are uniquely intuitive because they’re able to see things from different perspectives. There’s no such thing as a ‘one-track mind’ for an empath. You want to make others feel better so you can feel better as well. If you see a teammate looking nervous or anxious, you’ll likely feel disturbed until you address the problem and hopefully, find a solution. Seeing someone close to you in pain can be an emotional upheaval for you personally. But this doesn’t mean that you have to cut off from the world for self-preservation.
You can build your own support system of trusted people who understand you and give you room if you want to unplug. Every incident and word may influence an empath’s mood, but they can equip themselves with the skills to draw a line between understanding someone’s emotions and absorbing their pain.
Harappa’s Decoding Others course helps you observe patterns in someone’s behavior so that you can act according to the situation. At the workplace, empathy is a key characteristic because it helps you listen and pay attention to what’s happening around you. This can prove useful if you work with people who display different workstyles or have different opinions on a common topic. Learn to become the mediator who formulates a working plan to accommodate others and prove yourself as a reliable member of the team.