Are You Too Sensitive?

Do You Feel Too Much?

An empath is a highly sensitive person, aware not only of their emotions but often absorbed in other people’s emotions and exhausted by sensory overload.

It can be draining.

[See if you’re an empath here with Dr. Orloff’s list: Top 10 Traits of an Empath]

10 Traits of an Empath

Thriving as an Empath

In 2017 Dr. Judith Orloff published The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.

But in October of this year she is publishing a daily self-care guide for empaths, Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People. (I’m reading an advanced reader copy.)

Empathy is a strength

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Winter: Going Inward, Sensing Truth
  • Spring: Rebirth, Growth, and Rejuvenation
  • Summer: Passion, Play, and Abundance
  • Autumn: Harvest, Change, and Letting Go

It’s not dated so you can start anytime, but obviously it is sequential. I started last month,  lining up the days so I’d read the summer solstice devo on the right day (the longest day of the year is one of my favorites AND I got to spend it at the beach this year!).

The theme for summer solstice was “Pinnacle of Light” and included this:

“Focus on emanating your inner light too. Be yourself to the fullest. Speak your needs. Say no to energy vampires. Express your creativity. Tell your partner how crazy you are about them. Laugh. Meditate. Open your heart.”

(Note: Although this not a Christian book per se, it is a spiritual book. You can adapt it to enhance your own faith practice.)

The daily tips work with the seasons, with solstices and equinoxes (“The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is a perfect point to be quiet and ignite your inner flame. The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is your opportunity to take in this abundance of light”), with new and full moons (“The new moon represents fresh starts. The full moon signifies the peak of a pattern in your life”), as well as with the primary elements of fire, air, water, and earth.

Each day provides short thematic commentary, then a couple of sentences to help you “Set Your Intention” for the day.

For example, July 4’s theme was “Celebrate Freedom,” typically a day of social interactions. Orloff’s advice was to delight in enjoying family, friends, and good food, but also give yourself permission to limit the time you socialize. Make wise decisions about your energy.

Sensitivity As a Strength

Instead of viewing sensitivity as a weakness, Orloff reminds us of its strength.

“Sensitive people are meant to bring light into the world. Empathy is a strength, not a weakness. I applaud everyone who looks different, feels different, or thinks different. The world needs the difference you will make.”

Sometimes I am too sensitive. But by learning to stay balanced by “breaking the momentum of sensory overload, setting boundaries, and protecting your energy,” maybe I won’t be too sensitive too often.

Our sensitivity could just be our gift to the world.

* * *

Have you ever been told you’re too sensitive? Or felt like you were? Please share in the comments.

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book

18 thoughts on “Are You Too Sensitive?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Martha. I haven’t read all the book yet since it is meant to take 365 days, but what I’ve read so far has been very encouraging.

  1. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Lisa,
    I have to put this on my summer reading list. After reading the traits, they described me to a “T”!! I know being sensitive can be a blessing – especially to others, but sometimes it makes it very hard to go through life. I get perplexed by people who seem to have no regard for other’s feelings. Looks like a good read! Thanks for sharing!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Stacey Pardoe

    I’m definitely an empath, Lisa! This looks like a fantastic read, and I appreciate your insight and wisdom, as always! May God use our sensitive spirits for his glory!

  3. Pam Ecrement

    Great review, Lisa, and very full of great truth! My personal and clinical experience suggest she is speaking soundly, but I would also add that a true empath who is also a “Feeling” on a Myers-Briggs can manage well if they have matured emotionally and spiritually so they don’t fall prey to getting stuck and have clear boundaries. I have seen both sides of the equation and there isn’t always a straight line between poles.

  4. Yvonne Chase

    Lisa,

    I’ve never been told I’m too sensitive, however, I know I do have a very sensitive instrument meaning my soul and it is very responsive; two of the top three things that makes one a wonderful actor. I am beyond highly intuitive; there is no pulling the wool over my eyes. My senses are HIGHLY tuned; I can smell a dead animal from far away, I hate noise; whistling, loud talking, and just noisy noise irritates my soul. And yes, my heart is huge and I give a lot, however, I no longer take on other people’s stuff. I know when I’ve done all I can do and when to leave it alone.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a gift to have a such a sensitive soul, Yvonne. It’s also a gift to recognize when you’ve done what you can and walk away. Without it, we often get ourselves in trouble in our relationships.

  5. Barbara Harper

    I am sensitive — sometimes too much so. I can identify with a lot of the characteristics in her top ten. I easily pick up on any underlying discord in the family and am not easy til all is right again. But in other situations I seem to shut off feelings before they start — maybe in some measure I intuitively know when it would be too much for me or beyond my abilities to help. I agree, sensitivity has its strengths as well as its problems.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can go both ways, too. I often recognize when I’m being too sensitive but other times I’m probably not sensitive enough. As with many things, it’s not easy to find that exact balance and live in the sweet spot.

  6. floyd samons

    I appreciate flipping the view about empaths. Of course everyone is special and can bring something to society.

    The days of wearing my heart on my sleeves are long gone. With time, of course, it gets a lot easier to not take things personally. Everyone is doing the best they can for themselves and their family and it makes them do things in emotion sometimes.

    30 years in business helps too!

  7. Valerie

    I am 100% empath and lately I am 200% overwhelmed. Thank you for reminding me that there is nothing “wrong” with me and that there is strength in my percieved weakness

  8. Anastasia

    Thank you for this! I most certainly have identified as an empath and for too long, saw this as a weakness. I’m learning to channel my empathetic nature for God’s glory to help others come to Christ!

    I really appreciate this post – love and blessings! x

  9. Betty Draper

    I am married to one of those sensitive people. My husband is the kindness person I know and is always trying to build up others and not tear them down. He senses others hurt way before I do. It is a strength, not a weakness. I am a blessed women.

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