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8 traits of an empath

If you’re like me, you feel a little “different” to everybody else. It’s not that you’re weird. 

You just see the world with a unique mindset.

Rather than fitting into a stereotypical box and operating like a robot, you instead have high a sensitivity to other people’s emotions and your own.

Your intuition guides your goals and actions and you have a huge heart that sometimes gives too much.

I don’t know about you, but always thought I was weird for being like this.

But then I learned about a personality type called “empath” and I realized that these unique traits were actually skills.

If you don’t know, the trademark of an empath is filtering the world through their intuition and feeling and absorbing other’s people’s emotions because of their high sensitives.

So if you think you might relate, here are 8 things you probably identify with:

1) You’re highly sensitive

Yep, whether it’s watching a movie or the news, your body and emotions react intensely to what’s going on.

When you see pain on others, it cuts you deep.

Unfortunately, people complain that you’re “too sensitive” and need to “toughen up” but they don’t understand what you’re going through.

This is one of the reasons you avoid the news – the constant negativity really gets to you.

“Empaths are like sponges who absorb the thoughts, feelings and sensations around them,” licensed psychotherapist Lisa Hutchison, LMHC, tells Bustle. “If you are talking to someone [who is] depressed then you may notice you feel down afterwards.”

But if you think this makes you mentally weak, you’re mistaken. If anything, it makes you a  better healer and giver to those desperately in need of help.

In a world in need of constant repair, people like you are crucial to let the healing begin.

2) You absorb other people’s emotions

You’re highly attuned to other people’s emotions, good and bad. You feel everything they’re feeling, almost to an extreme.

In one-on-one conversations, people feel comfortable opening up to you because it feels like they just get you.

“You may find that you’re in sync with some people from time to time,” Davida Rappaport, a psychic and spiritual counselor tells Bustle. “If both of you keep saying things like, ‘We are on the same page,’ ‘I was thinking (or feeling) the same thing,’ or ‘You took the words right out of my mouth,’ you are definitely connected to the other person.”

It’s rare to have this kind of understanding of others, but you experience it frequently because you’re highly empathic to what they’re feeling.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly divided between right and left, and upper class and lower class, you’re essential to bridge the gap for mutual understanding.

3) You’re introverted

Your high sensitivity means that big crowds aren’t for you. It amplifies your empathy.

According to licensed psychotherapist Lisa Hutchison, LMHC, “Empaths are easily over-stimulated by noise because their focus is often outward rather than inward.”

You probably prefer deep conversations and meeting people one-on-one. Learning about others is what gets your juices flowing.

And when you learn about someone else, it makes you feel like you’re entering a whole new beautiful and complex world.

According to Judith Orloff in Psychology Today M.D, “They tend to be introverted and prefer one-to-one contact or small groups. Even if an empath is more extraverted they may prefer to limit how much time they spend in a crowd or at a party.”

This makes you an amazing conversationalist, because the other person feels like they’re the only person on the planet at the time.

You also need to time alone to recharge, as your emotional energy gets zapped in the presence of others.

4) You’re highly intuitive

Those “gut feelings” you have about others are rarely wrong. That’s why you avoid toxic people who gossip about others.

According to Judith Orloff in Psychology Today M.D, “Empaths experience the world through their intuition. It is important for them to develop their intuition and listen to their gut feelings about people.”

[Not only does Buddhism provide a spiritual outlet for many people, it can also improve your health and wellbeing. Check out my new no-nonsense guide to using Buddhism for a better life here].

5) You can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships

Being so close to someone can be difficult for you.

Your emotional love for them can become overbearing to the point that you almost feel like you’re losing your identity.

According to Judith Orloff in Psychology Today M.D, “Too much togetherness can be difficult for an empath so they may avoid intimate relationships.”

But at the same time, this makes you an amazing lover as you’re always looking out for them.

You understand what they’re going through and you’ll always support them to reach their goals.

6) Narcissists are attracted to you

Narcissists are drawn to empathic people because they can feed off of the skills of the empath to help them.

According to Judith Orloff in Psychology Today M.D, “An empath’s sensitivity makes them particularly easy marks for energy vampires, whose fear or rage can sap their energy and peace of mind.”

Narcissistic people often feel worthless or undervalued in their own lives and seek validation to make themselves feel better.

The problem is that their toxicity and constant need of attention can you make feel drained and undervalued.

But once you realize that you don’t need to “save” everyone, you can spend more time working on yourself and give from a place of authenticity and genuine interest, rather than obligation.

7) You become replenished in nature

The busyness of cities and everyday life can become too much for an empath. But it’s the natural world that restores you.

According to Judith Orloff in Psychology Today M.D, “The busyness of everyday life can be too much for an empath. The natural world nourishes and restores them.”

The awe you experience from mountains and oceans makes you realize that there’s something much bigger than yourself.

It clears your mind and sets your priorities straight.

8) You have a huge heart but sometimes give too much

You’re always trying to heal the pain of others. Whether it’s a homeless stranger, or a close one that’s going through tough times, you’re so attuned to what they’re going through that you simply must do something to help. 

Davida Rappaport, a psychic and spiritual counselor tells Bustle, “If you are highly sensitive and cry easily, especially when someone hurts your feelings, you are definitely an emotional person. But you may also be an empath,”

This can drain your energy and make it hard to be around those that are suffering.

But at the same time, you’re the ray of hope that so many people are in need of. 

As an empath myself, I’ve found it essential to protect my sensitivities. Whether it’s carving our time alone, or communicating to your loved ones your needs and wishes, I find that setting boundaries and limits can do your mental health wonders.

Being an empath is a gift, but you have to learn to take care of yourself.

It’s people like you that keep the dream alive for a more caring, humane world.

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Lachlan Brown

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 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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