I used to wonder all the time why I’m so sensitive. I used to wonder why I’m cursed with high levels of empathy. And I used to see my heightened empathy and compassion as a bane. Perhaps you’re in the same boat with me, constantly feeling other people’s pain and wondering why you’re so much more sensitive and emotional than everyone else. But here’s the good news. Your heightened empathy and sensitivity is the result of superior intellect, and because of those heightened feelings you’re going to end up soaring high, going from one success to another.
The importance and value of empathy was scientifically proven in a study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership. The study investigated 6,731 leaders from 38 countries and concluded that empathy is positively related to job performance. This is especially true for managers. Manages with heightened levels of empathy are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses.
The definition of a highly sensitive empath is “an individual who is acutely aware of the emotions of other people.” You’ll know if you’re a highly sensitive empath from the following signs:
- You sense the feelings of other people,
- You have insight into what’s going on in the inner world of people
- You often feel isolated because you exist on an emotional plain most people never reach.
- You share the pain of others–“Empathy moves us to share in another’s pain, to really see the world through their eyes,” says David R Hamilton, PhD.
Note that this is different to simply being a highly sensitive person. Let’s take a quick look at the differences between a highly sensitive person and a highly sensitive empath.
Highly Sensitive Person VS Highly Sensitive Empath
The key difference between a highly sensitive person and a highly sensitive empath is that HSPs (highly sensitive people) are sensitive to things pertaining to themselves. They take jokes personally. They are easy to offend. They feel largely for themselves. A highly sensitive empath, on the other hand, is someone who is keenly aware of the feelings of other people.
Regardless of whether you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP) or a highly sensitive empath (HSE) it’s worth taking a moment to consider the root cause of your sensitivity.
One of the most common reasons for heightened sensitivity lies in your upbringing
“Research has demonstrated that exposure to conflict and violence in the home can shape children’s neurobiological, cognitive, and behavioral responses,” says clinical psychologist Rick Nauert.
The environment we’re brought up in changes our neurological pathways and alters both our recognition of, and response to, the emotions of other people, leading many to heightened levels of empathy.
To elucidate this reality, let me share with you a little of my own story.
I have always been extremely emotional because I had, for many many years, lived in a turbulent and explosive environment. There was a lot of arguing in my home when I was younger and a lot of emotion. Because of this, I essentially became conditioned to think that any minor issue would lead to a full blown argument and a lot of emotional suffering. That mindset made me incredibly sensitive to any negative emotions. It’s from this upbringing that I have become a highly sensitive empath. I’ve become extremely sensitive to the emotions of other people. My mind has trained itself to know precisely what’s going on with the people around me. Perhaps you are the same.
If you too are highly sensitive, then there are a few important factors to be aware of. There are some complications of the HSP personality that are worth bearing in mind. The truth is that while highly sensitive empaths are vitally important people they are also prone to some issues.