Sympathy has its place — when you feel bad or feel sorry for someone due to what they’re going through. On the other hand, empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and really understanding what they’re feeling. Maybe you can even feel what they’re feeling. Thus, according to Merriam-Webster, an empath is “one who experiences the emotions of others.”
Here are some signs that you might be an empath:
- It isn’t hard for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes
- You can’t *not* care about somebody’s problems
- It’s easy for you to feel someone else’s pain
- You’re a great listener when people come to you with their problems
- People tend to vent to you and open up to you in a way they wouldn’t to others
- You feel overwhelmed by strong emotions
- You feel drained in crowds
- You need time to recharge alone
- You feel deep connections to nature
- You have a strong intuition
Yes, being an empath can be exhausting. However, it’s not a bad thing to be an empath. It’s a gift, and it can also be a superpower! Even if you aren’t an empath by nature, chances are, you can still experience empathy and be empathetic towards people in your day-to-day life.
Whether you’re a hardcore empath or not so sure if you’re an empath at all, here are 8 ways you can utilize empathy as a superpower.
- If you feel like something is bothering your partner or feel as though they might be suffering, send some extra love their way. Tell them that you are there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on. You can catch emotions before they bubble over and your partner has a breakdown.
- When you’re in a fight or argument with your partner, put yourself in their shoes to understand why they are upset, angry, or feeling however they are feeling. If the same thing was done to you, how would you feel? Being more understanding during fights can help you be more compassionate and be less harsh with your words, fighting in a healthier way.
- Take your relationships to a deeper level by building more trust with your partner. You can create a stronger bond with your partner by being non-judgmental and a great listener. Listen for the sake of listening, not listening for the sake of getting to interject and give your own two cents.
- Listen to your intuition and those gut feelings you get when making big decisions, whether you’re problem-solving with a big project, working through conflicts with cross-functional teams and coworkers, or deciding what your next big career move is.
- Form deeper, stronger relationships with your coworkers by being a good listener. When coworkers vent to you about their problems at home, again, listen for the sake of listening. Then, you guessed it, put yourself in their shoes to better understand why they feel the way they do. Listening and understanding will be a bonding experience, and your coworker is sure to appreciate you.
- Feel like something’s off at work? Roll with the feeling and address the problem before it gets too big to handle, or figure out what you can do to prevent it.
In your community (local or global):
- Check your privilege. Being empathetic can help you to understand the way that people who are less privileged than you feel, and what they’re going through. This can change your mindset and allow you to be more grateful for your situation and have a greater ability to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as you are.
- Turn your feelings into something actionable. When you are emotionally charged, we have the potential to make great changes. Feeling upset and angry about social