If you can relate, you might be an empath.
Empaths are sensitive people with a strong sense of empathy, often leading to a higher sense of intuition. With this, they have many gifts to offer. On the downside, it can come with challenges too.
In this article, we’re going over what an empath person is and how to know if you’re an empath. See if you can relate to our list of 17 characteristics of an empath.
Before we get into the signs, you might be wondering “what is an empath person?”
The term empath is derived from the word empathy. Empathy means to be sensitive to the experiences or feelings of others. Someone who has empathy can sense and imagine what another is feeling.
Research divides empathy into two types: Affective and Cognitive. Affective empathy can mean mirroring what another is feeling. For example, getting sad when your friend is sad. On the other hand, cognitive empathy means that you can understand another’s emotions. For example, you’re able to look beyond yourself and into another’s perspective.
Most people have empathy. Some people have a lot. Some people have a little.
Now that we’ve covered what empathy is, what’s the meaning of empath people?
The term “empaths” relates to people who experience a lot more empathy than the average person. (Pronounce empath: em-path).
The idea of empath sprouted in 1956 in science-fiction literature. The story “The Empath” was about paranormal beings who were empathic. After references in other media, it became known as a term for people who experience high amounts of empathy.
To put it simply, empaths are highly in tune with the emotions of those around them. It’s one of the main characteristics of an empath. They can relate to being highly sensitive, having strong empathy and caring deeply about others. In these ways, empaths can be seen as a way to describe a group of people with a set of personality traits.
Empaths are also related to metaphysical topics. Since empaths have strong sensitivity, they are known to have good intuition. This can make them excellent healers and psychics. Since they are perceptive, they often also have a love of otherworldly things or topics. Empaths might be drawn to religion, astrology, paranormal phenomenon or self-help.
Psychologically, empath traits may develop from adverse experiences during childhood. If a child grows up heavily aware of other’s emotions, needs and reactions, their sensitivity may be stronger than others. Although you can be an emotionally healthy empath, it’s often tied to issues related to co-dependency. For these reasons, it can be helpful to work through the challenges of being an empath with a therapist.
To fully understand what an empath is, it’s critical to understand the gifts and challenges that come along with it.
While empaths can make excellent healthcare practitioners or spiritual healers, they shouldn’t be thought of as magical beings. Like everyone, empaths have their challenges. Being one doesn’t mean you’re enlightened and perfect. It means you have gifts, and with that, a different set of challenges.
Empath skills can help us in day-to-day life. However, it can also make situations and people more difficult to deal with.
Having strong empathy can have a lot of upsides. Empath skills include:
Empaths’ strong sensitivity can bring along a host of challenges too:
Not every person will experience every empath skill or challenge. Rather, like anyone, empaths should aim to worth through their challenges so they can benefit from their natural skills.
If you’re reading this, you might be wondering how to know if you’re an empath. Whether or not people are familiar with the term, these type of people share similar traits.
You may find it helpful to read through these signs you’re an empath. Do you relate? Do they describe you?
Not every empath will relate to every sign. Some will nod their head to more signs than others. There’s no specific empath test.
While reading these characteristics of an empath, try to be as honest with yourself as possible. If you genuinely relate to many, you may be an empath. If you relate to only a few, it’s possible you have strong empathy but may not be an empath.
The most important trait of an empath is strong empathy. Compared to the average person, they are better able to understand and feel the emotions of others. This can make you more sensitive to other’s needs. They can also usually accurately predict what someone is feeling.
For example, let’s say your friend is going through a breakup or divorce. Most people would feel empathy. If you’re an empath, you might feel more intensely. This could make you better predict your friend’s needs, like a shoulder to cry. It could also mean taking on her emotions, like starting to feel depressed yourself.
Besides having empathy, an empath can start to take on another’s emotions. Instead of just knowing your coworkers is stressed, you become stressed to. This can be overwhelming. It can also be hard to tell what are your emotions and what are another’s.
Compared to others, if you’re an empath, you might notice you care a lot. About a lot of things.
You care about your relationships and you might wonder why others don’t exhibit the same amount of thought. You care about injustices. You care about the rude comment someone made to the cashier. Or that your friend littered instead of using the garbage can.
People might love you for caring a lot—it makes a good friend and loving partner. But they might also dislike you for it, especially if it interferes with their carelessness.
Some empaths can also mirror another’s physical pains or problems. It’s one of the most common signs of an empath.
For example, if your friend complains of a headache, your head might begin throbbing. Although this might sound impossible, consider the brain-body connection—even the placebo effect can create physical changes.
Some people need to make a conscious effort to understand what another person is going through. Empaths usually don’t. They just get it.
They can imagine the perspectives of others and where they’re coming from, even if they don’t agree with it. They go beyond the surface to understand what’s beneath it or what has caused it. For example, someone may see a kid acting out in anger. An empath might sense troubles at home, or bullying at school, leading the child to act out.
Because of your strong empathy, people often go to empaths when they’re going through a hard time. They make excellent natural therapists because they’re good listeners who are ready to lend a shoulder to cry on.
Empaths might also relate to people opening up quickly to them. Strangers can be more likely to tell them their life stories. People sense that empaths are a safe, non-judgmental space to air their thoughts.
As mentioned above, people are naturally drawn to an empath’s energy. They’re usually giving, thoughtful, and willing to hear you out.
Of course, being the one everyone goes to can get exhausting. This is why empaths require boundaries, arguably more than the average person. The problem is that, compared to the average person, an empath can have trouble setting or keeping boundaries. Because they consider the thoughts and feelings of others, they can tend to downplay their own real need for boundaries.
Empaths aren’t ones to turn down movements that expand inclusion. Since they better understand the experience of others, they’re often moved by social causes.
Whether it’s protesting, donating, volunteering or being a silent supporter, empaths rally for change.
Like a highly sensitive person (HSP), one or more of your senses may be unusually strong. It can be one of the telltale signs of an empath.
You might enjoy good scents more than the average person. Or, you might be allergic to perfume. Other examples include avoiding loud venues, like concerts or being more sensitive or physical sensations.
Empaths value their time alone and it’s necessary for them to recharge. If they’ve been out with people all day, they will need a quiet evening in. For some, one social outing can be enough for the week or better.
Since empaths are sensitive people, they take what others have to say to heart. This can be difficult when there’s turmoil in relationships. Whereas some might let a rude comment roll off, it sticks with the empath, who can grow deeply hurt.
Empaths tend to have a few close friends rather than many distant ones. Since they thrive on meaningful relationships, they’re likely to draw close to those that are in their circle. Empaths are affected by the energy around them, which means they are usually mindful of the company they keep. Friends who create drama are unlikely to last (unless they have trouble setting boundaries).
Empaths have strong intuition. They can often sense what’s coming next, whether it’s a situation, conversation or relationship. You might also get gut feelings that lead you into the right direction or away from a wrong one.
You might also relate to reading people well. Without knowing someone, you may be able to get an accurate sense of them.
On a metaphysical level, empath intuition skills can make somoni a great psychic. Since your gift of intuition is already strong, harnessing it can make you feel spiritually connected.
On an earth level, empath’s intuition may have been developed by their strong sensitivity throughout childhood. This could make them more likely to pick up on subtle changes other miss. As years go by, this sensitive skill could develop into what we call intuition.
Empaths may dislike crowds for a number of reasons. Mainly, the energy can feel too intense, especially if there’s a negative emotion. They may be the type of people to avoid parties or dread large family gatherings.
You might love intimacy and closeness, but there’s typically an adjustment period. You value your alone time and space, so when something changes that, like a new relationship, you might feel overwhelmed.
Empaths have a lot to deal with emotionally. First, they have their own emotions. Then, they have the emotions of others. Also, add in that they can be prone to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
All of that can lead an empath to emotional overwhelm. They might often feel like there’s many feelings to manage.
Empaths often feel like they don’t fit in. While others might enjoy being ‘different’ an empath might struggle with their differences. This can be especially true during school, where kids aren’t as sensitive as you. Or in work environments, where it’s hard to connect with others superficially.
Empaths might feel alone and isolated. They might struggle to go out and not become a hermit.
As they learn to use their gifts and work through their challenges, empaths realize they might not fit in. But they belong to something larger: The ecosystem of energy that keeps everything going. That could be God, the Universe, or whatever you want to call it. This realization leads many empaths to seek connection through spirituality.
To understand what an empath person is and to know if you’re an empath, it can be helpful to look at some of the common traits. In this article, we’ve listed the main characteristics of an empath.
Keep in mind that out of all the signs you’re an empath, you might relate to a lot or fewer. If you’re not sure whether you’re an empath, it can be helpful to think of empathy as a spectrum. Rather than being “empath” or “not an empath,” you might fall somewhere on the higher end of empathy. Rather than labels, the important thing is what you gain from learning about it. For example, if learning about empaths helps you better navigate challenges or boundary setting, keep reading. Do what works for you.
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