Below are 10 traits of an empath. Read through and you’ll know if indeed you are a true empath – someone who is highly sensitive – and intuitively knows what other people are feeling and thinking.
You don’t have to have all 10 out of 10 of traits of an empath to be a true empath.
But the more traits of an empath you have, the more likely you are one.
Being an empath can be a very beautiful way to live a life – because you’re fully present and deeply connected to others.
Being an empath can also be an emotionally stressful journey – because of your high levels of sensitivity.
Because I recognize that being an empath has its particular challenges, I’ve also included some tools below to help you to better harness your high levels of sensitivity.
One of the main traits of an empath: You’re a compassionate listener. You easily pick up on people’s thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it feels like “clairvoyance” because empaths can quickly get a “gut instinct” about someone.
For this reason, many empaths are often highly drawn to learn more about spirituality, metaphysics, religion and/or the paranormal – in a desire to better understand how and why they feel the energies of others so deeply.
When empaths are around someone who is angry, tired, depressed (etc) they can easily pick up these negatives feelings and absorb them into their own bodies – mirroring these negative emotions as if they are their own.
As a result, many empaths can feel the burden of other people’s dark emotions and feel drained and exhausted after an encounter with someone who is dealing with a challenging time.
When empaths are around someone who is happy, loving, peaceful etc, they will similarly take on these positive energies and feel energized, delighted and inspired.
Another key trait of an empath: A lot of closeness, intimacy and exchange of shared emotions can feel very exhausting to an empath.
They might feel as if they are losing their identity – as if their “sense of self” is being absorbed into the other person and the relationship.
For this reason, empaths need to be sure to give themselves the right balance of closeness and alone time.
Unfortunately empaths are often sought out by narcissists, codependants, and the highly talkative – who crave constant attention and support.
Empaths should do their best to put up strong boundaries with these people – and avoid romantic entanglement with them.
Empaths are often very loving people who are intuitively drawn to wanting to help release people’s suffering.
If they see a homeless or injured person they will be eager to help.
Many empaths also choose professions which help people – because they’re naturally wired to want to relieve other people’s pain.
They often go on to become nurses, doctors, veterinarians, social workers, massage therapists, etc… because they feel an emotional tug to help others.
A reminder if you have this particular trait of an empath
Empaths who get involved in a healing profession should be extremely sure to create healthy boundaries so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the energy of others.
Empaths can often get their feelings hurt easily – and are thereby often told they are too sensitive.
In fact, empaths will frequently find themselves being told that they should not allow the things that are said to them (or done to them) to affect them so deeply.
Plus because empaths easily take on the heartbreak of others – they might cry at a sad story – which others might perceive as “too sensitive.”
Empaths often have a challenging time watching movies or videos which are highly emotional and/or violent. They feel the scenes on the screen so fully in their own minds and bodies.
Empaths are often overwhelmed in crowds of all kinds: subways, malls, conventions, parades, train stations, etc.
For this reason they often prefer to travel by car instead of public transportation and meet with people one-on-one or in limited groups.
They are also sensitive to too much noise. And places with highly strong smells.
Plus empaths have a challenging time in settings which are particularly filled with people in pain: hospitals, funerals, group therapy, etc.
It makes sense that empaths might experience some moodiness. After all, they are often experiencing extreme highs and lows of emotions – because they take on other people’s emotions so easily.
This constant absorption of emotionality can be taxing on their psyche.
Plus, empaths often wind up wanting to help others so much – they can forget to caretake themselves.
Many studies report how interconnected our minds and stomachs are. So much so, some studies even call “the gut” a “second brain.”
After an empath absorbs the sadness, or fears or anxieties of other people, they often find themselves feeling nauseous, exhausted or ill.
Empaths feel things highly deeply. And so it makes sense that they might want to find a way to escape from the “emotional bombardment” they feel on a daily basis.
Many empaths will take on an addiction (aka: alcohol, or drugs, or binge eating, or shopping, or gambling, or sex addiction, etc…)
Their hope: This addiction will numb them and distract them from the overwhelm of their emotions.
Empaths often find themselves feeling emotional overload, so it’s important they give themselves lots of quiet time and alone time.
This can include:
If you’re an empath and you feel like someone is draining you, it’s essential you speak up and clearly define your boundaries.
Plus, if you know in advance that parties or events can be overwhelming, let your host know that you will attend – but only for a limited time.
If you’re an empath and have an addiction or a mood disorder – it’s essential you get help.
If your problem is at an advanced level, be sure to see a professional who can give you the tools you need.
If your addiction and/or moodiness is not at an extreme level, then you can try to let go of your emotional challenges by creating a regular meditation practice.
Meditation is a wonderful way for an empath to master their thoughts and emotions more effectively.
Plus you can also try to swap out your negative addictions for highly “positive addictions” – like a new passion or hobby.