The Unedited Truth About What It’s Actually Like To Be An Empath

I wish people understood what it is actually like to be an empath.

I wish that people could see that caring so deeply about so many people is painful and often debilitating. I wish that people could see that when you’re an empath, you’re the one person that people always go to. You’re the one that people go to when they need a shoulder to cry on. Your brain requires you to hold someone’s heart in a fragile way while they explain to you the darkest corners of their situations.

You see, being an empath takes a lot out of you. It takes energy to be compassionate, and it often makes us physically exhausted. Due to this, we need time to decompress, and we need to find ways to relax. If we don’t do this, then we are just days away from a severe mental breakdown. So when you’re an empath, it is more than just a mental attribute or a personality trait. It is your entire self, being consumed into the life and feelings of others.

Being an empath means that you often sacrifice your well being for the well being of others. It means that you would rather help someone than be left alone. This causes a lot of emotional turmoil because you’re constantly in a state of not caring for yourself. You don’t dedicate enough time to dealing with your own emotions, so in return, they bottle up and become absolutely damaging.

When you’re an empath, you always battle between being introverted and extroverted. There are times where you want to be with the people that you care about, but if you’re with them for too long, then you will become completely drained. It is the reality of constantly being torn in two different directions and trying to find the balance. It is your heart telling you that people are hurting in the world and it is your responsibility to care for them. It is your head telling you that you haven’t slept in weeks and your body is deteriorating.

Living life as an empath means that you will always be on the lookout for people who are emotionally struggling. It means that you can’t have a conversation without wondering if the other person is happy, and it sure as hell isn’t always pretty.

For some reason, there is this myth that being an empath is a beautiful thing. There is a myth that when you are this way that your life is just filled with repeated moments of deep connection and love. While yes, those moments do exist, there is so much pain behind being an empath. There are so many dark moments when you’re trying to hold the world in your hands, and it’s slipping through. There are so many days where you just want to lie in bed because the world requires too much compassion from you. There are weeks where you just want to actually say what you feel, and not be limited by your massive heart that is aching for the person sitting across from you.

Being highly sensitive comes with a price. It comes with the price of always living in fear that the people you love are heartbroken, or even worse, that you broke someone’s heart. It comes with the relentless struggle of trying not to get attached to certain people because they will just walk all over you and leave you empty. It means that even on your darkest days, you’re the light for someone else.

So we need to change this idea that sensitivity is equated with the ability to live a good life, because being sensitive isn’t a sanctuary. It isn’t an attribute that flows without cost, and it brings a lot of pain. It simply doesn’t consist of crying elegantly or speaking eloquently as it does in the movies. Being highly sensitive and living as an actual empath comes with a risk. It comes with the risk that your needs won’t be met, that your scars won’t be healed and that all of your energy will go to someone else, who probably doesn’t even deserve it. 

This is what it’s actually like to be an empath, and it isn’t beautiful.

It actually really hurts, and it brings some of the greatest pain that the human heart can handle.

About the author
A girl obsessed with words trying to navigate through the world. Follow Isabella on Instagram or read more articles from Isabella on Thought Catalog.

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