10 signs someone is a highly intelligent empath, according to psychology

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There’s a fine line between being emotionally intelligent and being an empath. And it’s even more complex when high intelligence comes into play.

Being a highly intelligent empath isn’t just about understanding people’s emotions, it’s about feeling them too. It’s having the ability to navigate through the emotional landscape of those around you, while also possessing a high cognitive functionality.

Psychology has identified certain signs that distinguish these individuals from the crowd. And trust me, if you’re one of them, it can feel like both a blessing and a curse.

Let’s dive into the 10 signs that indicate you might just be a highly intelligent empath, as per psychology.

Because understanding ourselves is the first step to harnessing our abilities.

1) Deeply affected by the emotions of others

An unmistakable sign of a highly intelligent empath is their profound sensitivity to the feelings of others. It’s not just about understanding what someone else is feeling, but actually sharing in those emotions.

Empathy is an understanding so intimate that the feelings, thoughts, and motives of one are readily comprehended by another.

In other words, empaths don’t just understand the emotions of others – they feel them. This can be both a blessing and a burden.

It allows them to connect deeply with others, but it can also leave them feeling drained or overwhelmed by the emotional turbulence around them.

If you find yourself deeply affected by the emotions of those around you, in a way that most other people don’t seem to be, you may well be an empath.

And if you’re able to process and understand these emotions in a nuanced way, it’s likely that you’re not just an empath, but a highly intelligent one at that.

2) The quest for solitude

Another sign of a highly intelligent empath is an intense need for solitude. It’s like an innate craving, a thirst that only solitude can quench.

I remember when I was younger, I’d often find myself seeking out quiet corners in the hustle and bustle of the school yard. While other kids were running around, playing games and laughing loudly, I’d be sitting under a tree, lost in my own world. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or didn’t want to interact. It’s just that I needed that time alone to recharge, to process the flurry of emotions I’d absorbed throughout the day.

In the words of famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, “In each of us there is another whom we do not know.”

Perhaps for empaths, this solitude is not just a preference but a necessity to understand that ‘other’ within us.

If you’re someone who craves solitude and uses it as a way to recharge after being around others, it’s quite possible you could be a highly intelligent empath.

3) The burden of emotional overload

Being a highly intelligent empath can sometimes feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s as if you have an internal sponge that soaks up the feelings and emotions around you, whether you want to or not.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room and immediately felt a shift in my mood. It’s like I can sense the collective emotional state of the room, and it seeps into me, changing my own emotional equilibrium.

It’s a raw, sometimes overwhelming experience that can leave you feeling emotionally exhausted. In these moments, the words of renowned psychologist Carl Rogers resonate deeply: “I have learned that my total organismic sensing of a situation is more trustworthy than my intellect.”

If you also find yourself experiencing this emotional overload, this could be a sign that you’re not just empathetic, but a highly intelligent empath.

It’s not something to shy away from but an aspect of your personality to understand and harness.

4) Intuitive understanding of others

Highly intelligent empaths are often able to intuitively understand others. They can sense the emotions, thoughts, and motives of people around them, sometimes before the person themselves are fully aware of them.

I’ve often found myself in situations where I just ‘know’ what a person is feeling or thinking. It’s not something I can explain logically, it’s just a gut feeling, an intuition that rarely proves wrong.

Psychologist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung famously said: “Intuition gives outlook and insight; it revels in the garden of magical possibilities as if they were real.” This magical garden is a familiar place for highly intelligent empaths.

If you too find yourself understanding others intuitively, even when they haven’t explicitly expressed their feelings or thoughts, you might be a highly intelligent empath.

Trust this intuition, it’s one of your greatest assets.

5) Emotional boundaries can be a struggle

While it may seem counterintuitive, highly intelligent empaths often struggle with setting emotional boundaries. They feel so deeply and understand others so intuitively that it can be difficult to create a line between their own emotions and the emotions of others.

I’ve caught myself in situations where I’ve absorbed the emotions of those around me to such an extent that I’ve lost touch with my own feelings. It’s a struggle to distinguish whether I’m feeling upset because I’m genuinely upset, or because someone around me is.

Psychology pioneer Carl Rogers once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Understanding and accepting that this struggle with emotional boundaries is a part of being a highly intelligent empath can be the first step towards managing it better.

If you too find it hard to draw these emotional boundaries, it could be a sign of your empathic abilities. It’s not a weakness, but rather a signal of your deep emotional intelligence.

6) High sensitivity to sensory stimuli

Highly intelligent empaths often have a heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli. They may find loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells particularly overwhelming.

Highly sensitive individuals are those who get more overwhelmed than others by stimuli like loud noises, big decisions, violent movies, and coffee.

If you find yourself more affected by sensory stimuli – if bright lights make you squint more than others, or if you can’t stand the sound of loud music – it could be a sign of your empathic nature. Don’t dismiss it as mere over-sensitivity. It’s a part of who you are as a highly intelligent empath.

7) A natural inclination towards healing

Highly intelligent empaths are often drawn to roles that involve healing or caring for others. They have a natural inclination to help and heal, driven by their deep understanding of others’ emotional states.

I remember as a child, I was always the one friends turned to when they were upset or needed advice. I just seemed to know what to say to make them feel better. It wasn’t something I consciously decided, it just came naturally to me.

As psychologist Carl Rogers said, “When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think in some real sense he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, ‘Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me.'”

If you’re also drawn towards healing and caring roles, or if people often turn to you when they’re upset, it could be a sign that you’re a highly intelligent empath.

It’s an indication of your ability to connect with people on a deep emotional level.

8) A tendency to feel misunderstood

As a highly intelligent empath, you might often feel misunderstood by those around you. This can stem from the fact that you experience the world so differently than most people around you, that it can be hard for others to truly understand your perspective.

There have been countless times when I’ve felt lonely and isolated, not because I was physically alone, but because I felt misunderstood. It’s like living in a world where everyone else is speaking a different language.

As famed psychologist Alfred Adler said, “Understanding human nature is the highest knowledge, and only by understanding it can we realize how much is un-understandable.”

This resonates deeply with the empath’s journey.

If you often find yourself feeling misunderstood, it could be an indication of your empathic nature. It’s not an easy path, but understanding yourself is the first step towards helping others understand you too.

9) Unusual connection with nature and animals

This might seem counterintuitive, but highly intelligent empaths often have an unusual connection with nature and animals. They are able to sense the emotions and energy of not just humans, but animals and even plants.

I’ve always felt a deep connection with the natural world. A walk in the woods or a quiet moment with a pet has always been a source of comfort and rejuvenation for me.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, “The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.”

For empaths, this “backyard” extends to nature and all living beings.

If you too feel a deep connection with nature and animals, it’s another sign that you might be a highly intelligent empath.

It’s a testament to your ability to connect on a deep emotional level with all forms of life.

10) An innate sense of knowing

Highly intelligent empaths often have an innate sense of knowing. It’s like an internal compass guiding them, a gut feeling that goes beyond simple intuition.

Throughout my life, I’ve had moments where I’ve just ‘known’ something without any logical explanation. It can be about a person, a situation, or a decision I need to make. This deep sense of knowing has rarely led me astray.

As psychologist Carl Jung once said, “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” This sense of ‘awakening’ is a familiar state for highly intelligent empaths.

If you too experience this deep sense of knowing, it’s a strong sign that you’re an empath. And if you’re able to use this insight in complex emotional situations, it shows not just empathy, but high intelligence as well.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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