The Empath's Guide To An Emotionally-Balanced Life

The Empath's Guide To An Emotionally-Balanced Life


If there is one thing the past several months have taught me, it's that self-awareness is truly life-altering. I say that because, for so many years of my life, whenever relationship challenges would come my way, I'd spend more time trying to figure out the other person more than myself.

But like the French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne once said, "The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself." Indeed. And, if you want to get to the root of your relationship issues, look within…first.

And after going through a series of pretty devastating transitions in some of my relationships, I realized that a part of the reason why I attracted some people who weren't healthy for me — and why letting them go was difficult even though they were toxic — was because I show a lot of signs of being something that, while growing up, I didn't hear a lot about: An empath.


You don't have the time and I don't have enough word count space to get into all of what an empath is, but a bottom line definition is this — empaths are individuals who have an uncanny ability to not only understand other people but can literally feel what they are experiencing too; so much to the point that they are able to mentally and emotionally put themselves in someone else's position, sometimes to their own detriment.

This means that empaths are highly sensitive, extremely discerning, and can oftentimes absorb the emotions of others. Some other traits of an empath include being introverted, a loving nature, preferring to spend time alone, and they can get easily distracted by noises and smells too.

Although in many ways, it's a beautiful thing to be an empath, it does come with its challenges.

Because they are so intuitive, they tend to be targets to energy vampires and narcissists (check out the video "15 Things That Happen When an Empath Loves a Narcissist" when you get a chance). Empaths are also known for giving more than they receive plus, it's very easy for them to get completely overwhelmed in their relationships — almost to the point of caring more about the choices their loved ones are making than their own loved ones do.

Did you just read all of that and have a huge light bulb go off? If so, welcome to the world of being an empath (if you want to double-check, do this self-assessment test). Now that you know why you've been going through some of what you have, as a fellow empath, here are three tips to help you experience less harm and guard yourself better moving forward:

3 Ways To Protect Yourself As An Empath

1.Take Your Time in Relationships.

Getty Images

The more I've studied about empaths, the more I recognize the importance of taking my time at the beginning of relationships and finding balance once I'm in them, whether it's a professional or personal one.

In the past, because I could sense a lot of what a person was going through or where they were coming from, I would immediately invest my all — time, effort, energy, and even resources — without allowing time to reveal if they were someone that I should get that deeply involved with.

Sometimes you need months — even years — before you can comfortably say "This is someone I trust" or "This is someone I can call a friend." Personal bumps and bruises have taught me that sometimes feeling what a person is going through is not about getting intimately involved so much as offering a word of encouragement, praying for them, or just meeting an immediate need. No more, no less.

(Accepting this alone is a total game-changer!)

2.Recognize Patterns.

Getty Images

As I'm doing some healing from childhood trauma, I realize that because I am an empath and I didn't make dealing with the PTSD of my childhood and adolescence as much of a priority as I should have, oftentimes I kept re-victimizing myself by choosing my childhood abusers as an adult; only, they were in forms of different people.

Now that I am aware of this, I see that, as an empath, I have a tendency to even want to rationalize my abusers' abuse because I am wired to feel what they feel (deep, right?!). Knowing this helps me to recognize when I'm about to repeat this kind of pattern with other toxic individuals.

For instance, if you do research on narcissists and sociopaths, a lot of them become that way due to their own unresolved childhood stuff. A narcissist and an empath are an intense combo because the narcissist wants to drain the empath of their good qualities, while an empath wants to do whatever they can to make a narcissist better. See what I mean? #breakthepattern

3.Require Reciprocity.

Getty Images

Not everyone is an empath. That's not a good or bad thing; that's just the way it is. To me, I think empaths are a lot like silk — simultaneously strong and fragile. Because of that, they need the kind of people in their life who will treat them that way.

Something that a strong-yet-fragile individual — an empath — needs is the kind of relationships that will give as much as they take. Since an empath feels so much and their heart is so big, reciprocity cannot be a preference; for the sake of their overall health and well-being, it must be a requirement.

As I've been settling more and more into understanding that while I am an empath, my past relational bumps and bruises have been healing and, it's been quite some time since I've encountered any new ones.

I'm telling you, sometimes, the best way to resolve issues with others is to truly understand yourself. Self-awareness makes this possible. Whether you're an empath — or not.

Feature image by Getty Images

Hulu Series ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Will Be Your New Obsession
Raamla Mohamed created Hulu's latest series centering Black women, Reasonable Doubt. And we love anything created by a Black woman for Black women.
Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
'Abbott Elementary' Proves That TV Can Build Community

The first time I thought about how art could be a form of community building was with HBO’s Insecure. The dearly departed comedy series created and starring Issa Rae provided audiences with more than just weekly laughs over the course of five years, but it also created space for other Black artists and entrepreneurs to thrive-- from all the Black businesses that the show has collaborated with to the Black music artists that the show has put audiences onto. It even created opportunities within entertainment journalism for many up and coming Black journalists who got their start by reviewing the show or hosting after shows unpacking the mess that went on in the episode.

Keep reading...Show less
Laura Harrier On What Self-Care & Wellness Means To Her

Entergalactic actress Laura Harrier’s career continues to expand as she lands big-name projects that show her range. You may know her from Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but her latest roles can put her on track to becoming a household name. Currently, she is starring in Hulu’s Mike Tyson biopic series Mike as Robin Givens and she will also be featured in the White Men Can’t Jump reboot.

Keep reading...Show less
6 Items NYC's Most Stylish Can’t Wait To Wear This Fall

This year I had the pleasure of attending my very first New York Fashion Week where I witnessed the best of fashion both on and off the runway. In between highly anticipated shows and jam-packed schedules industry insiders dominated the street style scene making their very own impression on the world. Buyers to bloggers, editors, and stylists were captured serving one-of-a-kind looks that will forever live in Fashion Week history.

Keep reading...Show less
KevOnStage And His Wife Melissa Don’t Want To Be “Relationship Goals”

Being married or in any type of long-term relationship takes intention and diligence. No one could tell you that better than comedian and social media personality KevOnStage (Kevin Fredericks) and his wife and partner Melissa.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts