Our culture definitely does not view the trait of being an empath, or any trait as neutral. We are taught from a young age to view certain traits as strengths and others as weaknesses.
The ideal displayed to us in movies, children’s books, adverts etc is strong, stoic, extroverted type. Whilst the shy, quiet or introverted types are often depicted as being anti social, awkward or left out of social situations. Think about how this may be affecting how you see yourself? Others? Or how perhaps you even treat people based on this cultural view.
If you’ve ever thought anything like…“ The world is always going to be too much for me and I am always going to be too much for the world. So what’s the point?” – False belief. Don’t give up. You are not alone. And your traits are beautiful.
A side effect of this is that it can lead to us feeling less accepted and less understood by the world. As our nature makes us less willing or able to fit into the ‘norm’ it can lead to feelings of not being recognized or valued for who we really are.
Living in a world that is emotionally foreign can feel unsafe and we can develop coping mechanisms to try to protect ourselves by “checking out” or dissociating and playing small because if we go unnoticed it feels like an energetically safer space to be in. What may have been necessary coping strategies that worked in the past may still be running in your current life and not enabling you to live your full potential in the present.
In other cultures sensitivity is seen as something to be admired and valued. In Chinese culture for instance ‘sensitive or quiet’ children are highly respected by their peers.