If you have high empathy, spending time around people can feel like a roller coaster ride.

You walk into a room and instantly read everyone’s emotions. You can tell who feels uncomfortable and who is enjoying everything. You may have become an expert at changing the environment or conversation to help put others at ease. And when they’re not at ease, you feel it too. Anxiety, despair, grief, it can all hit you pretty hard.

High empathy presents some challenges. For instance, you may find yourself accidentally getting pulled into others’ dilemmas and crises without meaning to. Setting boundaries is tough when the moment you tell someone no, you feel their disappointment to the very core. Burnout is also a common experience, especially after sensing a ton of intense emotions at once.

High empathy doesn’t have to be a struggle, though! It’s a valuable trait that, when nurtured, enhances your life and the lives of those around you. Here are three common myths about high empathy and their corresponding truths for more clarity:

1. Myth: If you can feel what others are feeling, it’s your responsibility to make them feel better.

Truth: People are responsible for their own emotions. You can choose to offer help if you’d like, but you’re not obligated to fix what they’re feeling. If you struggle with this, try visualizing others working through their difficult emotions on their own and feeling better afterwards. Imagine them taking a walk to let off steam or giving themselves a five-minute break.

2. Myth: If you have high empathy, it means you’re too sensitive, and that needs to change.

Truth: Sensitivity is a neutral trait. Those high in emotional sensitivity can perceive subtle details others miss and often come across as warm and caring, though they may struggle at times with feeling overstimulated or taking things personally. Those low in sensitivity are able to navigate harsh environments more easily and are good at setting boundaries. However, they may not notice subtle cues in relationships and can come across as blunt or indifferent. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and both types of people are needed!

3. Myth: You have no choice but to take on others’ emotions.

Truth: You can practice noticing others’ emotions without fully taking them on as your own. Try imagining a glass wall between yourself and the other person, where their emotions bounce lightly off the wall back toward them before reaching you. This can help you distinguish between your own feelings and theirs, and can also give you time to think about the situation without immediately feeling overwhelmed.

High empathy is what allows you to deeply connect with those around you in a way that feels exhilarating, meaningful, and fulfilling. Empathy is also key to qualities like kindness and generosity. It’s a gift to be celebrated and it’s part of your charm.

Associated media: https://www.verywellmind.com/cognitive-and-emotional-empathy-4582389  

(This article helps define what empathy is and the different types)