An empathic individual has a neurological system that is particularly sensitive. We can’t block out certain influences and stimulations because our “super power” of being empathic was built to sense things. It wasn’t built to filter out things. Consequently we experience stressful energies right along with pleasant and positive vibrations. It can be confusing, overwhelming, debilitating, all of the above or worse. It can be inspiring, strategic, stealthy, full of insights and wisdom or even better.
An introvert has probably felt the vice of cultural bias choking out one’s ability to speak out and breathe free. A remarkably narrow range of accepted personality styles seems to favor extraversion in the western world in particular. Here we’re encouraged to be bold, outwardly expressive, assertive and bubbly. The truth is, only one third to one half of Americans are introverts*. What this boils down to then is one in every two, or at the most one in every three, people is an introvert.
Am I One of These?
If you’d like to know how much of an empath you are or are not, try this free online assessment from New York Times bestselling author Judith Orloff, MD. I also recommend her book titled The Empath’s Survival Guide, which contains this quiz and other related self-assessments.
If you’d like to know if you’re more of an introvert or more of an extravert, try Susan Cain’s quick assessment. I also recommend her book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.
So What? Why Should I care?
In my practice I find three big reasons why having this self-knowledge is emboldening and productive:
- Each of these ways of being supplies certain and unique gifts upon the endowed. In order to live a strong life, one would be wise to access the power of each gift and develop as well as leverage the value it offers.
- Confucius said, “The beginning of wisdom is to name things by their proper name.” When we spend time battling our true nature or denying who we are, we waste our lifeblood (time, talent, energy). When we accept, come out of the closet to who we are and what we are capable of, we step into possibility. We step into the realm of greatness and satisfaction.
- We stop getting in our own way. When we know these things we can engage in a reality that allows us to understand how we’re wired. This permits us to navigate with ease, world-class results and confidence. When we know these things about ourselves and then learn to leverage them, we hold the keys to our own kingdoms.
If you have felt overwhelmed by this chaotic world or if you feel that your “extra-sensitivities” are a weakness, maybe it is time to think again.
- *Quiet, The power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain
The Empath’s Survival Guide | Judith Orloff MD and Barry Kibrick
The power of introverts | Susan Cain