6. We love serving.
Empaths have servant hearts: It’s hard for us to see suffering and not want to help. When we’re choosing how to spend our time, we often look for activities that have a purpose and meaning behind them. While I’ve been a student, I’ve always been drawn to organizations surrounding volunteer work. Maybe it’s partially nurture — how I was raised — but I think it’s also definitely a part of my nature, linked to the empath I am. Looking after others is also one of the ways we ourselves feel fulfilled because it’s often easier to focus on the struggles of others rather than ourselves.
7. We get other people’s feelings but not always our own.
It’s kind of like having the ability to know who is crushing on your friend but being completely oblivious to the possibility that someone likes you. Reading other people’s feelings? For an empath, that’s a piece of cake. Sorting out our own inner turmoil? More often than not, a complete and utter fail. You’d think self-awareness is a fundamental human trait, but for some of us, it’s a bit trickier to figure out. Empaths feel and understand so much that sifting out their own feelings from the feelings of others can be a daunting task — albeit a necessary one.
8. We read people well.
Empaths often consider the effect their words will have on the listener, because they want to know that what they’re saying or doing isn’t going to negatively impact someone. This mode of calculated conversation and action can provide empaths with a large store of knowledge as to what makes people tick.
9. We have strong, lasting connections with people we may not have interacted with in years.
Once we bond with someone, it can often take on a “till-death-do-us-part” type of existence. Distance, separation, and time may cause our surface level relationship to corrode, but we still feel a strong affinity for the person who meant a lot to us at one point in time, even long after we’ve parted ways.
10. We’re often labeled as being overly sensitive or emotional.
Telling someone that an emotional response makes them weak is an argument people have been using against various groups for ages. They may not be singled out in this, but empaths often fall into one or more of the groups under such reproach. Especially if you’re a male empath, people might see your sensitivity and tell you that you need to “man up.” Our culture associates masculinity and power with rationality — as if an emotional response is never the rational one. (Personally, I think there are many scenarios in which it could be construed as highly irrational to lack any emotion.) So empaths, stay strong in your own uniquely sensitive way; the world could use a whole lot more people like you.
11. Empaths are sought after but often underappreciated.
Not all empaths are introverts, but the ones that are tend to be affected more by this one. When you’re a genuine, attentive listener who gives good advice, people and their problems tend to flock to you. It doesn’t even matter if they know you hardly at all, but something about empaths makes people decide to bare their souls. It’s not really that much of a shock that this happens if you consider how good at being understanding empaths are, though it can at times become frustrating. We do care immensely about the well-being of others, and that’s why we may bite our tongues and sit down to listen to someone rant about the same things again. However, empaths need to beware of one-sided relationships where they’re giving all of themselves and not receiving anywhere near the same in return.
A Final Note to Empaths
My dear empaths, you were born hard-wired to put others first. Your selfless attitude is both courageous and compassionate. Just don’t forget that it’s important to take care of yourself, too. There will be people who won’t appreciate your sensitivity or will seek to use your empathetic demeanor for their own gain; and these are the people that are not worth anguishing over. Instead, seek out the people and the places that will value you and support you as much as you support them. And don’t let someone convince you that caring for other people isn’t worth it. But then again, I’m sure you know that already.