Being an empath isn’t a curse—if channeled with intention and awareness

I wake every day with a drive to show the people I serve — introverts, empaths, and highly sensitive people — how to unlock, embrace, and amplify their gifts.

Rather than seeing them be paralyzed by old stories of “you’re too much” or confused from unwanted childhood feedback, like “that’s not really what you’re feeling,” I hold a vision of a collective of rockstar sensitives at EVERY level of society — who are full of confidence, nervous system resilience, and bravery.

But, “Am I an empath?” might be a question for you.

But for that to happen, more folks need to feel excited by the idea that they’re empaths and/or highly sensitive; identities that aren’t always super appealing or empowering to embrace! So, this article is for folks that think they might be an empath — but don’t really resonate with most of the conversations or resources currently in circulation.

May these five questions help you understand — and embrace — your inner empath. If you’re highly sensitive, these are gifts, not burdens.

I’d also love  to hear if this article helps you, so please reach out on Instagram to connect: @moonandmanifest

5 Questions that You Need to Ask Yourself if You’re An Empath

1. Do you secretly feel like a volcano (that’s about to erupt)?

Have you been feeling like you’re walking on eggshells lately? Maybe you just got triggered by something your kid said to you, or a rush of anger boiled up, seemingly out of the blue… (I know I’m not the only one!)

Most of the empaths and HSPs that I speak and work with walk around like sleeping volcanoes-we look and seem in control of everything (thanks, inner perfectionist!)…

But, every dormant volcano has a lake of lava underneath. Empaths and HSPs are often processing SO MUCH energy, emotion, psychic insights, and other sensory information—a lot of it without ever being aware of it—that they are at serious risk for blowing up, burning out, and shutting down.

How can you tell that this might be happening for you, without even knowing it?

Take an honest look at your emotional resilience.

Are your addiction or numbing patterns flaring up? How is your physical and mental health? For example, sometimes a cold is just a cold… But, other times, getting sick is an indicator that your body’s systems are stressed, overwhelmed, overloaded, and vulnerable. It could be that—even without intending to—your nervous system is tuned into deeper layers of reality… things like people’s true intentions, their fears, their stories, their energies, and even the imprints of things that happened days, decades, or even lifetimes ago.

Of course, once you become aware of this superpower, you can learn to use it for good (and be intentional about when you turn it on). But, if you keep letting that energy—AKA lava—boil below the surface, it’s eventually gonna burn you from the inside out.

So, here are a few tips to help you handle the flood of overwhelming “stuff” that you’re tuned into:

  • If the trigger or cause of your sudden emotional surge is apparent, move away from the source! Distancing and attention adjustments can quickly soothe your fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions.
  • Breathe. Breath is always available to you, and it’s one of the fastest ways to return to a non-stressed state. Paying attention to your breathing also helps you to shift your focus back onto you and your needs.

    Some simple exercises are in through the nose and out through the mouth, ten times. Another good one is a three-second inhale followed by a six-second exhale. Visualize inhaling calm and peace, while exhaling and releasing the intense emotions back to source/spirit/Gaia/goddess, etc.

  • Create healthy boundaries. If you notice your volcano coming to a boil after socializing, spending time with certain people or doing certain things, it’s a self-caring practice to establish your boundaries before entering.

    Remind yourself that you have free will to walk away from conversations, groups, or situations that make you feel uncomfortable (or where you find yourself acting inauthentically).

man asking am i an empath at train station

Are you an empath? Many times, as empaths, we’ll bottle up and hold our emotions inside until a — usually unrelated — event triggers us to explode and vent like an active volcano causing damage everywhere in our lives

2. Are you an introvert?

I find that many — though certainly not all — empaths and highly sensitive people are also introverted. I recently took an informal Meyers-Briggs personality type poll in my podcast community (be sure to answer the intake questions to be approved), and a whopping 76% of the members said they were introverts. I wasn’t surprised. Given that empaths and HSPs feel SO much when they’re in the company of others, it’s no wonder that so many of us need solo time to recharge.

It’s kind of an “extrovert’s” world out there, so it’s important to honor your needs as an introvert and prioritize caring activities that restore your body, mind, and spirit. Read a favorite book (maybe try some light fiction instead of self-improvement, every so often!), brew up some tea, read tarot cards, bathe in epsom salts, cue up a favorite podcast (hint, hint: such as Moon + Manifest!) or take a freaking nap every once in a while!

Another thing that REALLY helps us move energy and charge ourselves up is to exercise. Any form will work, but my personal favorite ways are to dance (even if it’s just solo in my living room) and to take regular pilates classes.

Even a 5-minute walk or stretching break can be very supportive. Keep it simple and find an accountability buddy if it’s hard to follow through on your intentions to work out.

3. Do you procrastinate more than you’d like to admit?

Are you procrastinating right now asking yourself and reading, “Am I an empath?” All jokes aside, you already know you “should” be doing xyz, but you keep getting distracted by social media, tempted to chat instead of work at the coffee shop, or maybe you’re actually just worried that whatever you do won’t be “good enough”, so you just don’t do it at all. You stay busy with safe, easy tasks that don’t ask you to grow (and don’t really move you toward your goals, either).

Yikes. But, don’t worry—if this is you, you’re definitely NOT alone. Perfectionism is something that a lot of empaths and HSPs deal with – partially because we can feel how other people are responding to us and our efforts (and see through any of their B.S.), and partially because many of us are habitual people pleasers, thanks to the big and little traumas of our childhoods. 

We’re patterned to stay safe and earn love by getting it right—whatever “it” is.

With my clients and community, I find that—a lot of the time—procrastination is a mask worn by our inner perfectionist to hide our fears of inadequacy, mistakes, rejection, or ridicule. 

If you’re finding yourself farther away from your dreams and goals than you thought you’d be by now, then take a look at where you might be procrastinating on things to avoid messing up, being dismissed, or looking stupid. After many years of being in the public eye and receiving some truly cruel “feedback”, I can honestly say that the meanest critic is still the one that lives in your own head. 

But, with practice and intentional acceptance of imperfection, you can untangle yourself from the perfectionist prison, stop procrastinating so much, and finally get shizz DONE. 

Let yourself get a little messy and TRUST that you’ll learn and grow from whatever unfolds.

4. Do you know about everyone, but hardly anyone really knows you?

When you’re an empath (even if you don’t know you’re one), everyone and their dog will tell you their life stories, their secrets, and their troubles. So, if you find yourself suddenly nodding and smile-frowning to some random dude’s breakup story as you’re waiting to be seated for dinner, this might be why!

The trouble is — while you probably know too much about almost everyone in your life — very few people know the real you… which is a very lonely and confusing feeling! How can you feel so connected and so disconnected at the same time!

I believe this happens because many empaths and highly sensitive people don’t feel 100% safe to be intimate/vulnerable with others. It can even become a defense mechanism to listen more than you are willing to share/reveal yourself. In other words, people feel safe with you, but you don’t feel safe with people.

Pair this with a tendency to attract narcissistic people — who won’t ask about you and your needs — and you’ve got a recipe for highly connected loneliness and a whole lot of frustration.

Now, in order to reduce your feeling of getting drained, here are a couple tips to practice for healthier conversations.

  • Choose how (and with whom) you spend your sacred time. For example, you can offer a simple, polite decline to your oversharing friend’s invitation to coffee by stating, “Thank you so much for the invite, but I am going to catch up on my [reading/chores/nap/etc].” You might disappoint them, but you also need to think about your wellbeing. It’s actually OKAY to disappoint people, especially people who don’t lift you up.
  • Request that certain topics not be brought up. If you have a friend or family member who consistently complains or negatively gossips, you can redirect the conversation (and save your energy in the process). You can say something like, “I notice that we talk about _________ a lot, and it really brings me down. Can we focus on __________ instead?”
empath male friends chatting in coffee shop

As empaths, we sometimes protect ourselves by letting others constantly share without any personal sharing of our own

5. Have you been called psychic or super intuitive before?

Many empaths and Highly Sensitive People are also psychic. Why? Because our senses are highly developed, which means that it’s easier for us to pick up on unspoken signals, energies, body language, and even—if we’re open to it— non-ordinary communications from other realms. If you feel like you’ve ever picked up on things like this, I want you to know that you’re not crazy!

Even though it can be confusing and overwhelming, being so tuned in is actually a HUGE advantage…. It gives you far more information from which to make intuitive choices… that is, if you TRUST your intuition enough to follow it’s often irrational guidance!

So, how do you learn to trust your intuition? 

So often, the things that “make sense” to us are the very things that are holding us back in our lives. So, one of the most important things to practice when developing trust in your intuition is to lean into opportunities that make a little less “sense” than usual (but that feel “right” – even if they scare you a little)! 

The more you follow what I call the “intuitive yes,” the better your relationship with your intuition gets, and the more intuitive information you receive. It’s a positive feedback loop.

The intuitive yes is something that excites and scares you, and that probably—from the outside looking in—makes little to no rational sense. It could be an online training, a retreat, a relationship, a class, a location, a book, a film… The intuitive yes, whatever it is, holds important clues for you about shifting your life into a place of more internal alignment. In other words, THIS is a key way you create a life that feels authentic.

For this very reason, we often resist listening to the intuitive yes. Because some part of us is usually scared to make positive changes and grow.

My question to you is, what intuitive YES is calling to you?

Are you willing to get a little (or a lot) uncomfortable and explore it further?

Now, what’s the one question that resonated the most for you?

Did any or all of them stand out for you? Let me know by sharing this post and tagging me @thelolapickett! I love connecting with my fellow empaths and HSPs!

I hope that these questions and tips helped you acknowledge if you’re an empath more vividly. If you want to unlock more about navigating the world as an empath, feel free to share your adventures through my free Facebook group, Empath To Power (be sure to answer all the questions to join!—it’s how I help hold a safe container for us highly sensitive people and introverts).

Always know that you’re never alone in this journey.

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And hey, let me repeat this for you—you’re never alone!

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