If you have noticed yourself becoming overwhelmed with emotions that don't seem to make a lot of sense, or feel bombarded with with energy in social situations, you may be confused. You may even think it is because you are an introvert and need quiet time to rejuvenate. While it is true that introverts need time alone to reflect and process new information, there may be another cause for that uncomfortable feelings. You may be an empath. Empaths sense the energy of others. If they are not careful, those feelings can overwhelm them or leave them drained. Determining whether you are an introvert or an empath - or both - is the first step to learning to cope with the feelings you are experiencing. Let's take a look at how the two differ and how they are similar.
What is an introvert?
An introvert is a person who gains his energy from within. He prefers quiet settings, long conversations with close friends and time alone to process his thoughts and feelings. An introvert often feels drained or exhausted by social interactions and finds his balance by solitary activities like reading, writing or artistic pursuits such as craft work or gardening. Unlike the extrovert who gains his energy from social interaction, the introvert needs to spend time thinking things through. He typically prefers a circle of a few close friends who share similar interests, while the extrovert prefers interacting with a wide selection of people on a more superficial level. The introvert gets new ideas by stepping back and quietly considering his many options, while the extrovert gains new ideas from interacting with others. The old stereotype of the introvert as shy and reserved, while the extrovert is outgoing and talkative, doesn't always hold true. The difference between the two is where they gain their energy, not how they act in public.
Traits of Introverts
- Enjoys time alone.
- Likes to think things through.
- Gains energy from solitary activities.
- Prefers a small circle of friends.
- Avoids small talk.
- Finds social gatherings taxing.
What is an empath?
An empath has the ability to sense and feel the emotions of others. He often picks up on feelings that others are not aware they have. Empaths tune into the energy around people or places and may have difficulty distinguishing between the feelings of others and their own feelings. These are the people who others instinctively confide in, seek out for advice and feel comfortable with. An empath is often introverted, but can be an extrovert. Being an empath is about tuning into the feelings and emotions of others. He often needs quiet time with nature or some other solitary pursuit to regain his balance and shake off the emotional energy of others.
Traits of an empath
- Feels the emotions of others.
- Avoids sources of negative energy, such as news broadcasts and negative people.
- Avoids conflict.
- Is easily influenced by the emotions of others.
- May cry easily at sad movies, reading sad books or just observing a sad or emotional situation.
- Often has difficulty distinguishing his own feelings from those around him
- May feel overwhelmed in social situations.
- Find nature soothing and rejuvenating.
Whether you are an introvert, an empath or both is part of your nature. It cannot be changed, but you can learn ways to find peace and comfort in your everyday life. Learn to take the time you need to ground and protect yourself from the energy around you. Many find meditation, time spent in nature and developing hobbies that embrace their solitary nature helpful. If you continue to struggle, seek the advice of others such as Judy Higdon.