As I’ve discussed in several previous posts, empaths naturally feel the emotions of the people around them. They are driven by an internal need to relieve the pain or distress they “feel” in other people. They expend their energy to do this – often at the cost of meeting their own needs.
Based on the responses to the informal survey in my last post, empaths also tend to be Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs). They aren’t just sensitive to emotional energy; they are sensitive to all energy: interpersonal and environmental. Being around a lot of energy overwhelms the highly sensitive empath.
Even when an empath learns to set personal boundaries, maintaining them in a high energy situation takes – guess what? – more energy.
It appears that in this way, empaths are very much like introverts.
Empaths, High Sensitive People, and introverts.
Substitute the word “empath” or “HSP” for “introvert” in the quote below.
“[An introvert is] a person who, compared to extraverts[sic], has a higher baseline level of arousal, and uses more mental resources in scanning and processing external stimuli.
“Which makes you more sensitive to light, noise, and especially people. Which causes you to become easily overstimulated. Which makes you quick to tire of all the stimulation and desperate to retreat to a sanctuary where you can turn down the psychological volume.”
Does that describe you?
One of my recharging stations.
Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
No one is 100% introverted or extroverted. We each operate somewhere on a continuum between living in a cave in the Himalayas and camping out in Times Square. And to confuse things further, introverts can act extroverted. The way to determine which tendency you have is to follow where your energy goes and what you have to do to get it back.
“Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.
Empathy, HSPs and introverts: Is there a correlation?
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to take the following quizzes and leave a comment answering each of the three questions below:
- Are you an empath?
If you don’t already know, take The Empath Test.
- Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?
If you haven’t already done so, take the HSP Self‑Test.
- Are you an introvert?
Take A Quick Test to See Whether You Are An Introvert, Extrovert, or Ambivert.
I’d bet more than even money that if you’re an empath and a Highly Sensitive Person, that you also tend to be introverted.
I look forward to finding out if that’s true for you.