I’m an Empath
As I read the definition of “empath” on dictionary.com, I roll my eyes. The definition reads, “a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.” It also says, “chiefly in science fiction.” That’s funny. Kind of.
That definition describes me perfectly. I have an uncanny ability to understand how other people see and feel the world around them. I am not an alien, and last time I checked, I wasn’t living in a sci-fi movie, but I may as well be. Most people experience empathy, but not to the extent that they can actually feel someone else’s pain. I actually feel the pain of others
Understanding the INFJ Personality
We don’t think like the rest of the world
My Myers Brigg personality type is INFJ. INFJs make up less than1% of the population. We are guided by intuition and feelings and have a strong need to improve the state of the world. We are idealists, we are sensitive, and we trust our gut before anything else.
Interested in what your personality type is? Take the test.
If INFJs make up less than 1% of thinkers in the world, that means about 99% of the world thinks differently than I do. For some INFJs, this statistic can create a sense of loneliness and a feeling that they don’t fit into the world. It can lead to feelings of depression and isolation. When I was younger, I struggled with those things. But, as I’ve learned about the INFJ personality, I’ve come to embrace myself and see how I do fit into the world.
If you are an INFJ, I hope this blog post helps you to find self-acceptance and cling to the magical ideologies you believe in. Our innate ability to understand others and intuit their motivations allows us to both help others (and that is our goal) and protect ourselves from those who lack the empathy we live and breathe for.
What is an Empath
Empaths feel the pain of others
There is a distinct difference between being empathetic and being an empath. Most people are empathetic, and when someone is in pain, they feel sad for the other person. An empath doesn’t merely feel bad for the other person. An empath absorbs and feels the pain of others.
It sounds crazy, but if someone hurts themselves physically, I experience physical discomfort too. This can be exhausting, but it is also a blessing. My ability to experience what others are feeling allows me an enormous window of compassion that I can use to listen, comfort, and love them with. I am not afraid of having a deep well of emotions. I experience pain and joy at exquisite levels, and this makes my life feel richer. It allows me to live in the reality of what life really means and THAT speaks to my soul.
The Empathic INFJ Can Read People Accurately
We intuitively know when someone means us harm
INFJs have an uncanny sense of intuition. I can read people from miles away. I can tell if someone is lying to me by their tone of voice, by looking into their eyes, by evaluating body language, and just because my gut tells me so. I also know when someone means me harm. I can see through people and always understand what someone’s personal motivation is. I can see harm headed my way, but I can also see love when it stands in front of me. Learn more about the INFJ’s intuition regarding evaluating others here.
It can be a double-edged sword to innately see a liar who I desperately wish were honest. It is hurtful to recognize that someone means me harm despite their sugary sweet language and actions. However, everyone gets hurt and everyone gets lied to. The difference is, I have the ability to see what will evolve (or devolve) before it actually happens. This allows me a preparedness that others lack.
That is a superpower and not an onus. I never let a negative person know that I see through them. I store that information, steel myself, and plan for negativity before it finds me. It doesn’t prevent me from being hurt, but it does prepare me for it. And, because I am so sensitive, that preparation allows me the much-needed coat of arms I need to face the world when it is harsh.
Empaths and INFJs are Sensitive and Kind
There is no such thing as being too nice
Most INFJs are empaths and all INFJs are idealists who want to understand the world and improve it. We are nice people. That doesn’t mean we don’t get angry. If you haven’t heard of the INFJ door slam, learn about that nasty trait now.
It does mean that for the most part, our objective is to be kind and try and make the world a better place. Despite our sensitive nature, our introspective personality, our understanding of life and its connectedness and our bent toward feeling misunderstood or isolated, we are powerhouses fighting for the force of good.
There is NO shame in that. There is no such thing as being too nice. I no longer feel isolated or depressed because I view the world in a different way than my fellows. I am who I am for a reason. All personality types, are exactly who they were meant to be. We all have a place in the world.
It’s ok to be a rare bird. It’s a beautiful thing to see life and recognize its meaning. It’s helpful to know when someone is up to no good and use that knowledge to try and change an unhappy outcome or protect myself from one that cannot be stopped.
If you are an empath, if you are an INFJ, please accept yourself and learn to love your gifts and embrace your rarity. Try not to wallow in the fact that others may not see the world the way you do. Instead, recognize that you see the world the way you do so you can work toward repairing it. That is a unique gift and one I cherish.
Please tell me about your personality type. Are you an INFJ? Are you an empath? How does it affect you?