Recently I had a chance to see a very powerful empath in action. Interestingly, this person has spent most of his life not knowing he was an empath and not understanding the anxieties, inner turmoil, and avoidance reactions on the darker side of this gift. He spent years seeking peace through mediation, spirituality, and self-improvement. While those helped, they didn’t completely resolve the discomfort he often felt living in his own skin.  All it took was some explanation, information, and encouragement, and he stepped into the role he was born for without a single faltering step.

But the energy drain that comes with the territory for empaths was unsettling for him. He’s spent most of his life avoiding tense interactions and negativity because he knew they took a toll on him even though he didn’t know why. Now he was eyeball-deep in conflict resolution, and though he handled it like a pro, he was left feeling like he’d been kicked by a mule. Even simple conversation was a chore.

What advice do you give an empath suffering from energy drain?

For starters, rest. Rest is critical for empaths, who for very organic reasons need more of it than non-empaths. Meditate. Seek positive interaction. And yes, seek other empaths who are in a position at that time to impart good energy back into the vacuum.

What Is an Empath?

Empathic gifts are difficult to explain to non-empaths. The word “empath” itself makes one assume that it’s all about commiserating with others and even telegraphing thoughts and feelings. While those things can be part of an empath’s toolkit, they are far from the most dominant aspects of this calling.

Emotions are the empath’s wheelhouse. Not that they’re experts—empaths are often overwhelmed by emotions, both theirs and those of others around them. They frequently need hours to decompress, in isolation, requiring a great deal of “alone time” and space. They take on the moods of other people to the point it’s often impossible to distinguish them from their own thoughts and feelings. Empaths easily pick up mannerisms, habits, and accents of people they spend time around. They’re emotional sponges, absorbing both positive and negative energy from the ether. For these reasons, while being around a positive and encouraging atmosphere can supercharge an empath to nearly euphoric heights, exposure to negative energy can nearly incapacitate them.

There are ways to shield against this and most empaths learn quickly. But shielding in itself can be an energy drain. The more powerful the empathic gift is in a person, the more energy is required to restore balance when they suffer a deficit.

Skilled empaths can learn to influence the energy and mood of an entire room. I’ve seen it happen—a crowd of people having tense discussion, and then a quiet, unassuming person slips into the room, offers a few smiles, a bit of casual conversation, and before long, loud voices become modulated, stern expressions become soft, and conversation shifts to something more pleasant. People will often be drawn to this newcomer without knowing why. In this situation, the empath is often able to recover some of the positive energy they expended from the room’s new energy itself. If not, they’ll need an eventual retreat to a quiet place to recover.

Are Empaths Telepathic?

As a general rule, no. Nor are they psychic, and they don’t see dead people. Empathic gifts are about emotion. Not thoughts, not spirits. Dual gifts can coincide in the same person, but empaths target the energy from a live and beating heart. They often just “know” things, but they don’t read minds. The things they “know” are extrapolated from the emotions they sift from the energy fields of other people.

Animals can also possess empathic gifts. Service animals are notoriously insightful about what their human companions need. Human empaths often seem to attract animals to them, even wild animals and birds. The empathic calling is a legitimate psychological phenomenon, not at all mystical although it is indeed full of mystery for those who need concrete and tangible proof of a thing’s existence.

One thing is sure: empaths who understand their gifts are a force of nature. Possessing this gift can be grueling for the bearer. But when nurtured and cared for properly, these people have an effect on the world around them that is unequaled in any other aspect of human existence. If you know an empath, please tend their emotional needs carefully. Watch them for signs of stress and exhaustion. And love them unconditionally. They’ll sense it if you don’t.

More reading about this topic:

How to Know if You’re an Empath–Judith Orloff, M.D.

10 Traits Empaths Share–Judith Orloff, M.D.

All the Traits and Signs of an Empath: Are You One?–Exemplore