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Most of us have heard of the word “empathy.” It means to put yourself in another person’s position, in a bid to understand what they are going through. From a young age, we are often encouraged to develop this feeling, as it is what makes us compassionate and a better individual. However, there is a marked difference in being an empath and having empathy.

Who Is an Empath?

An empath is an individual who has an uncanny ability to sense other people’s emotions, even before they have shared those emotions. Often, an empath can pick up on what others around them are feeling, which makes them want to reach out and help said individual overcome those feelings. The thing with empaths is that not only do they feel to an excessive extent, they are feeling not for themselves- but for others around them. You may ask: ‘Isn’t this a good thing?’

Well, this is definitely a good thing- but it can turn into something which isn’t all that healthy. Not only will an empath feel for others around them, but they take the responsibility to help those around them. Owing to this, they start getting affected by those feelings to an excessive amount, just as if those feelings were those which belonged to them, and not to another person.

How Can Being an Empath Prove to Be Harmful?

Well, to begin with, feeling any emotion too strongly is bound to have lasting effects. If these emotions are positive, you don’t really have much to worry about. However, when these emotions are negative, an empath may find it extremely difficult to cope. Because they are extremely sensitive, negative emotions are something which can lead to anxiety and depression. It can also affect their relationship with other people, thus causing long-lasting harm.

Owing to this ability to absorb other people’s emotions, empaths can get fatigued. This isn’t just equal to mental fatigue, but to the physical condition which develops owing to an excessive amount of stress. When an empath has become fatigued by dealing with other people’s problems, they have no room left in their life to deal with their own problems- which can make it very difficult for them to lead a happy life.

The first thing to do to avoid such effects is to identify yourself as an empath. Once you have realized this, you can work towards limiting the impact being an empath has on you.