cover image Empath Heart: Relationship Strategies for Sensitive People

Empath Heart: Relationship Strategies for Sensitive People

Tanya Richardson. Sterling Ethos, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-454-94688-5

Richardson (Love Notes to My Self) sets out to help empaths better navigate relationships in this upbeat guide. Empaths, she writes, are hyper-perceptive and pick up energies of other people and groups, which frequently leaves them drained or overstimulated. She encourages readers to “treasure [their] energetic heart” but also to manage their sensitivity and maintain meaningful relationships with partners, friends, and others. To that end, she emphasizes personal “assertiveness” and advises empaths against becoming default mediators in social settings, and instead “own their power”—which involves setting healthy boundaries. She addresses empaths’ tendencies to share in loved ones’ emotions, and recommends they instead validate others’ feelings without internalizing them. And as empaths can be vulnerable to relationship issues like codependency, it’s important to form habits that strengthen self-identity, such as maintaining close friendships or keeping up hobbies. Richardson does a good job of highlighting empaths’ strengths without sugarcoating challenges they face, lending her advice credibility and real-world applicability. Empaths aiming to improve their relationships and coping skills should take a look. (Feb.)