Are you prone to sensory overload, experience discomfort with large crowds and fight the overwhelming urge to spend hours, if not days, completely and utterly alone? These are all signs that you might actually be an empath. An empath is someone who is highly aware of the emotions of those around them, to the point of feeling those emotions themselves. Empaths see the world differently than other people; they’re keenly aware of others, their pain points, and what they need emotionally.
But it’s not just emotions. Empaths can feel physical pain, too and can often sense someone’s intentions or where they’re coming from. In other words, empaths seem to pick up on many of the lived experience of those around them. Many highly sensitive people (HSPs) are also empaths. But there may be a difference between empaths and HSPs. Having a high degree of empathy is just one of the four traits that make someone an HSP, and HSPs are sensitive to many kinds of stimuli, in addition to emotions. It’s likely that most empaths are highly sensitive, but not all highly sensitive people are necessarily empaths!
Science Can’t Explain
Science is divided on whether or not true empaths; people who can tap into and take on the emotions of those around them – actually exist. Even though plenty of people claim to have such abilities.
An empath is a person highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around them. Their ability to discern what others are feeling goes beyond empathy. Defined simply as the ability to understand the feelings of others. Which then extends to actually taking those feelings on; feeling what another person is feeling at a deep emotional level.
What we do know is that researchers have discovered what they’ve dubbed “mirror neurons” in the brain which may help us to mirror the emotions of those we come in contact with. And it appears some people may have more mirror neurons than others; suggesting that empaths may exist.
How To Know You’re An Empath
There’s no doubt some people are more prone to empathy than others. We’ve all known someone in our lives who was just gifted at reading our feelings, just as we’ve all known people who seem completely disconnected from the feelings of those around them. So assuming empathy exists on a spectrum, with some people being highly empathetic and others (psychopaths) lacking empathy entirely. How would we measure our own? And at what level would we qualify ourselves as an empath?
Here Are Some Tell Tales Signs:
1. People Confide In You
We all like to think of ourselves as caring, trustworthy friends, but upon reflection have you noticed that a lot of people in your life and maybe even strangers have the tendency to reach out to you for support? If you find yourself to be the keeper of secrets, this could be a sign you’re an empath.
Because empaths are highly intuitive, many people pick up on that energy and turn to them in times of need. While it can certainly be touching and flattering to be so highly regarded, empaths should keep in mind how essential it is to their own self-care that they don’t fall down the rabbit hole and absorb too many emotions. There are even some who might take advantage of an empaths empathy, resulting in a lack of respect for ones boundaries.
If you find yourself drained by certain conversations, consider reevaluating how much time and energy you spend on helping them work through a problem. As hard as it might be to walk away sometimes, empaths need to prioritise themselves and set aside time to recharge.
2. You Need A Lot Of Alone Time
It’s an inherent desire in most empaths to be alone for prolonged periods of time. It make sense, though because if you’re spending an large amount of time helping others and taking on their emotional energy, you’re probably craving a little TLC yourself. This is because empaths are highly-sensitive people with reactive nervous systems who quickly become overwhelmed by the needs, desires and emotions of others.
Alone time can include taking a day off work, unplugging from social media or bingeing a favourite TV show. If this is something you do or crave frequently, it could be a sign that you’re an empath.
3. Nature Comforts You
Many empaths love nature, absorbing the healing sights and sounds through long walks or bike rides. It’s the perfect way to step away from everyday responsibilities and the grievances of others. After all, there are few things more healing than peace and quiet to reflect. It’s all part of healthy mindfulness practices that most empaths crave, alongside daily guided meditations, manifestations and journaling.
4. Large Crowds Throw You Off
Imagine you’re at a concert with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. Instead of enjoying yourself in the moment, you find yourself overwhelmed by the chaotic vibe and various energies you’re reading off of everyone around you. Everything is loud, the show, the venue and everyone’s emotions. It can be a lot, and that’s OK.
If this sounds like you, it could be yet another sign. Large crowds often leave empaths drained, sad, anxious, with muscle tension and headaches. Instead of enjoying the moment, they experience burnout.
HOW TO AVOID BURNOUT – CLICK HERE
5. You’re Highly Intuitive
Many highly-sensitive people are also intuitive, not only to their own feelings, but the feelings of others. They can read the energy of a room almost instantly. In fact, there are intuitive empaths that have an even higher degree of intuition than average. In these cases, you might be able to not only see and understand their feelings, but will also catch a glimpse of the reasons behind the actions of others. This ability to take a step back and look at things with a broad perspective allows empaths to find the links between cause and effect.
As a result, you not only become a confidant to many who respect and appreciate your viewpoint on their situation, but you could even have or want a career in counselling or psychotherapy.
6. You REALLY Love Babies &/or Animals
Lots of people love babies and pets, but if find you’re drawn to them more than the average person, this could be another sign that you’re an empath. For many, the pull to help others and ability to absorb feelings isn’t restricted to adults, it easily extends to kids and furry friends.
In some cases, babies and animals could even be a welcome reprieve for an empath who is typically more overwhelmed by the complex emotional anguishes associated with adults.
7. You Often Don’t feel Like You Fit In
Even when you’re surrounded by loved ones, do you often feel a bit of a disconnect? That’s because empaths tend to feel as though they’re always one step behind the crowd, an outsider who doesn’t quite fit in the world. Although they’re picking up on (and processing) the emotional pain of others, empaths may find themselves wondering why they still can’t connect with someone on a deeper level.
It’s believed that, because the empath takes on so many emotions, they tend to neglect their own. As a result, they never feel entirely rooted in this world. Empaths tend to struggle with 9-to-5 jobs, homesickness and structure, while embracing experiences over money and creativity over a the average career.
8. You’re Prone To Sensory & Emotional Overload
There can be a lot of emotional “noise” when you’re an empath. In many cases, highly-sensitive individuals may find themselves overstimulated to the point that they turn their back on the world. The only way to combat the issue, in this case, would be to set up healthy boundaries with the people in your life. Therapy sessions, guided meditation and redesigning your living space for a more Zen vibe are all ways you can go about reworking your boundaries so that they feel right for you. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first for once.
9. You Have A Hard Time Not Caring
Even if a situation doesn’t directly relate to you in any way, you struggle to turn your mind off. That’s because empaths care a lot. Whether it’s something going on in the life of your friend or something you saw on the news, do you find yourself consumed and even exhausted by all your feelings? This might mean you’re an empath.
We all hang on to cringeworthy moments in our lives or disparaging remarks directed at us, but empaths cling to these things a hundred time over and replay them in their minds. Even the smallest disagreement with a coworker can send an empath into a tailspin for days, if not weeks.
10. You’re A Walking Lie Detector
Sure, there probably have been times when someone successfully deceived you… but even then, you knew you were going against your gut instinct from the start. The thing about an empath’s ability to process even the tiniest social cues means that it’s almost impossible for someone to hide their true intentions. Even if you don’t know exactly what a person really wants, you know if they’re not being completely honest — or if they seem shifty.
11. You Go Out Of Your Way To Help Others
Do you feel a sense of obligation or guilt when you say “no” to someone? This could be one of the most important signs that you’re an empath but it’s also imperative that you set your own boundaries. Fact: you can’t help everyone. And you certainly can’t do it all the time. Even the most guilt-ridden of intuitive empaths need to take a time-out for themselves to recharge, even if that means saying no to another person in need of some TLC. Just remind yourself that you are also in need to love and care, and prioritise yourself without the guilt.
Pro’s & Con’s Of Being An Empath
There are some obvious benefits to being an empath. If you are able to tap into the feelings of those around you, you should also be able to better support and care for the people who matter most to you. Knowing that another person is feeling down, lonely or scared, even if they don’t outwardly show it, puts you in a position of being able to help them through that—gaining their trust and becoming someone they learn to rely on in the future.
This can make you a better partner and friend and can help to strengthen your relationships overall. Being this attuned also means you will be able to spot a liar from a mile away. Empaths don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of because they aren’t easily tricked or manipulated. And when they are, it’s because they ignored their initial instincts about someone, not because they missed the signs altogether.
Of course, there are also likely to be some real downfalls to being this connected to others’ emotions. Most literature on empaths suggests they are easily overwhelmed in crowded spaces or at emotionally charged events like weddings and funerals because they soak up the emotions of those around them like a sponge. It’s not hard to imagine how quickly that could become exhausting in certain settings.
It may also be difficult for empaths to unwind if they are constantly carrying the emotions of others. Empaths may struggle with sleep or maintaining their own mental wellness if they don’t find a way to balance the outside inputs they are constantly receiving. Finally, there may be some people who are uncomfortable with how easily you seem to read them. Not everyone wants to be an open book, and while you may think you are only trying to help, some may find your insights into their feelings and emotions to be invasive and unwelcome.
HOW TO HAVE EMOTIONAL CONTROL – CLICK HERE
If you regularly experience even some of these signs it’s very likely you’re an empath! True empaths make up 2% of the world, so you are unique my friend! Remember to always care for yourself first so you have the resources to care for others when they need. Not everyone deserves your energy so pay attention to how you feel around people. Keep smiling, petting those doggies and take that must needed afternoon off to unwind and check back in with yourself.