Okay to set this straight, some people tend to separate emotional intuition from empathy, i believe its like a pre-stage, the fact that you can recognize emotions other than your own in that way is good, but that does not mean you are an actual empath at least not yet. Speaking from experience empaths literally feel the emotion of another person. You must not be overwhelmed by other's emotions you should just feel them and understand them. So for recap you are and empath when you can literally/ physically feel another's emotion
As for shielding i advise you practice and open your sacral chakra, this for one is to further develop your empathy for better control so you will not always have to place barriers, you actually have a resistance that no barrier can give.
For shielding in the mean time, you can visualize an orange barrier around your empathic energy, let this barrier posses qualities that you want, let it retain certain emotions if you desire
Empathy can be defined as the ability to be in-tuned to others,by scanning their thoughts,feelings ect.
These thoughts feelings can be voluntry or involuntry depending on the individuals empathic capacity.
Empaths are mostly unaware of how it actually works and accept it as they are more sensitive to others feelings,emotions be it future past and present occurrences in life.
Empaths are capable of sensing others true emotions and feelings that are hidden deep below the surface and relate to that person(s).
It's an ability to uncover the truth behind let's say for example cover/barriers people sometimes put up, and relate to that person with compassion and help them feel at ease being able to express themself more freely and not feel isolated and alone.
Empaths can feel empathy towards a variety of things family, friends, close associates, strangers, pets, nature ect.It's an ability to feel from a distance they are highly sensitive and are often compassionate, considerate and understanding of others, it can only be explained as a deep sense of knowing.
There are varied strengths in empaths and these are related to the individuals awareness of self, understanding, acceptance/non-acceptance of those associated with them,family,friends, peers ect.
Most empaths do not learn these tendencies until later on in life.
Empathy is something you are born with it is inherent in one's DNA, and comes from generation to generation by being passed down.
Empaths can sense others on lots of different levels by observing what others say, feel, think and understanding others body language , eye movement ect, and become very proficent in this , communication being a large part of empathy.
Empaths are able to sense others energetic vibrations and frequency by tuning into them, everything has a energetic vibration/frequency and an empath can sense these vibrations and recognize changes undetectable to the naked eye and five senses, this energy is picked up by empaths be it spoken, thought and by feelings.
Empaths are affectionate, great listeners and help others by putting their own needs aside first.
They can also be the opposite and be loners, depressives, neurotic and day dreamers and are often associated with the Bi-Polar disorder and can be withdrawn from others.
Most are drawn to nature and often like nothing more than escaping to the out-doors as a form of release from ones hectic everyday life such as country walks , woods ect.
Empaths are quite emotional people and news broadcasts such as violence, hurt pain, cruelty to animals , earthquake disaters ect, reduce them to tears, i find myself doing this also quite often it's an ability to relate to their pain ect.
Empaths are often people whom draw others to them even complete strangers,i find this alot also i can be shopping on the bus ect and get people just start talking about problems and life in general, it's like we are a magnet to others including animals , people feel at ease and can talk freely and openly about most personal things.
Empaths shielding is very important to block out others emotions, and recognize if they are your emotions or others, i also find meditation helps.
close your eyes.
Envision/visualize a bubble of pure white brilliant light,big enough for you to step into.
Imagine/visualize your negative emotions being passed into this bubble and only good energy emotions passing through freely.
Visualize yourself standing next to the bubble releasing all your negativity.
Visualize yourself stepping into this bubble of light.
Say to yourself this is my sheild and nothing can pass through it.
Take a few minutes breath in deeply a few positive breaths then open your eyes.
Do this on a daily basis to strengthen your shield it's quite easy to do with practice.