It took me a long time to figure out that I'm an Empath. I'd like to save you some of the pain and exhaustion I went through!
How do you know for sure you are an Empath? Here are 7 Empath traits:
Empath Trait #1: You feel pain and suffering deeply.
I can't watch war movies. Or violent movies. Or the news.
It's not that I'm in denial of the bad stuff that goes on in the world; far from it. The problem is that when I see this kind of stuff, I feel it in my body like it's happening to me.
Afterwards, I feel sadness or pain about it for days on end. For instance, a few years ago, I saw a goose that had been seriously injured by a car. All the other geese were gathering around their fallen friend. Cars were still coming at all the geese. I stopped, went to the middle of the road, and began waving cars around the geese while calling wildlife rescue. I did everything I could for the geese, but the image of that poor injured goose and his loyal friends made me cry for days.
That's the kind of "deep feeling of pain and suffering" I am talking about. Upon seeing or hearing about any kind of pain or suffering, you will be deeply affected by it, taking it on personally. People will tell you to "just let it go," but you can't. You might be called a "crybaby," "treehugger," or "overly emotional." I'm sure you've been made to feel bad about your sensitivity.
If you've ever been around someone in pain and felt that pain yourself, you'll know what I am talking about. More than just human pain, you also are likely to be able to connect with the suffering of animals, plants, and nature itself.
Empath Trait #2: You are a natural healer.
Does everyone look to you for help or advice? Do you tend to rush in to help take care of people when they’re sick? Do people say you “brighten their day” or they “need their fix of you?”
That’s what I am talking about with being a “natural healer.” Whether you are in an official healing profession or not, people in pain (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically) will seek you out, looking for you to help. And, whether you are conscious of it or not, you WILL help with your caring, concern, and energy.
In addition, you may also seem to just have a sense for what someone needs to do to be able to heal. From knowing the best path for someone to take to understanding the connection between a recent stressor and a new sickness, this information might flow out of you (with or without your conscious thought).
Empath Trait #3: You are a tuning fork for everything going on around you.
Have you ever walked into a room and "felt" that people were angry, sad, or upset before anyone said a word? Or, have you been with someone that had a headache or pain in their body, and you develop the same, only to find it leaves you after you part ways?
If so, it's a pretty strong bet you are an Empath. As an Empath, you are open to and capable of sensing, subtle (and not so subtle) shifts in people's emotional and energetic states. Because of this, you become like a tuning fork, vibrating at the same frequency as they are.
If you are an aware Empath who has the skills to simply feel this and move it on, you're fine.
If you are unaware this is happening, you end up feeling sick, angry, sad, happy, or whatever else is going on around you, making you wonder why you are suddenly feeling so much different than you did just moments before. Actually, it likely makes you wonder if you are crazy.
You're not crazy; you just have more finely tuned empathic sensors than the average person.
Empath Trait #4: You are more sensitive to your environment.
I can't tell you the number of times I will say to my husband, "You don't hear that? It's driving me crazy."
It will be some little intermittent beep that is crystal clear to my high-sensing ears, but misses him completely. (As I write this, I just got up to figure out where a constant bumping sound was coming from that he didn’t hear at all. Ends up, it was our washing machine having gone out of balance; I was at the other end of the house from it with doors closed; THAT's what I am talking about - an Empath will hear things others just won't, even if the source of the noise is behind closed doors on the other side of the house.)
If you're an Empath, you'll experience the same. You'll notice when a room doesn't feel quite right. You'll hear the annoying buzz of a fly that no one else seems to hear. You'll sense the vibration of a giant air conditioner unit or smell a specific spice in a meal.
Because of this, being on a plane can be one of the hardest things for an Empath, as you will not only feel every bump and jerk as if you've just gone over a mountain, but you will also be in an enclosed space with a lot of people and their varying emotional states. I find that many Empaths become fearful of flying without realizing that it's their hyper-sensitivity causing the fear, rather than any real danger.
Empath Trait #5: You are charismatic (even if you don't think you are).
For most of my life, I couldn’t figure out why people seemed so drawn to me, especially when I didn’t think I was being or doing anything special. Everywhere I went, strangers would end up telling me their life stories like we’d known each other forever. Moreover, I had no idea why I attracted so many very needy people to myself, and then had a difficult time setting healthy boundaries or extracting myself from the relationship.
Once I realized I was an Empath, I got it.
Because of the high-vibration of energy that Empaths naturally put out, you end up being like a flame to a moth; people are just naturally drawn to you because your energy and your caring ways make them feel better (many times they don’t know why they need to be around you so much, but that’s why - you recharge their batteries!).
If this sounds like you, you will notice that people start up conversations with you in public places like coffeehouses, airports, or restaurants. You will notice that people seem to need to recharge by being around you; because of this, you may also notice that you have a preponderance of very needy people who become very demanding of your time and energy as well.
Empath Trait #6: Hurting other people is unthinkable to you, even if it’s in self-defense.
Do you ever feel like a wimp because you can’t seem to stand up for yourself, even when someone has said or done something cruel to you? Is it physically impossible for you to say something purposely hurtful to another human being, even if everyone says they deserve it?
If so, it’s very likely you are an Empath.
For years, I felt like there was something really wrong with me because I just simply could not say something purposely cruel to someone, no matter how awful they had been to me. What I realized is that there was nothing wrong with me, nor was I a wimp (my other common thought), but rather, because I could actually feel in my body how something would make another person feel, I just simply couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to make another person knowingly feel pain.
To be totally honest, this caused me a lot of trouble in my life; I definitely didn’t stand up for myself because I didn’t have the words to be able to do so in a way that I felt was positive. However, I now have those words and can set healthy boundaries, which is one of the key things I am teaching in the Empowered Empath Academy.
Empath Trait #7: You need to get away from all stimulation sometimes.
A few years ago, my in-laws had been in town for a week. Now, they are lovely people that I care about, but you just don’t get a lot of peace or privacy when they are there (my mother-in-law likes to follow me around, no matter what I am doing). They also like to marathon-watch the Weather Channel (I cannot imagine a more fear-based network - everything is an “IMPENDING DISASTER” “WORSE THAN EVER BEFORE” with “HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES FOR ALL MANKIND”!! Ugh. Not all storms can be that bad, but I digress.). It's enough to drive an Empath to drink.
Finally, I just HAD to find some quiet, non-stimulating time. I went to the master bedroom closet (I was pretty sure she wouldn’t come in there), closed the door behind me, turned off the light, and laid face-first on the floor.
Hey, an Empath’s gotta do what an Empath’s gotta do.
Do you find yourself feeling the same need to retreat to some sort of safe, quiet space upon occasion? Do your nerves feel like they are all vibrating or like you have a static charge to your whole body? Are there times when you cannot have someone talk to you, touch you, or even be around you for a while?
And after you come out of your quiet space, do you feel 100% better?
If so, it’s a very good indication that you are an Empath.
Do you recognize that you have many of these traits? Do you feel overwhelmed by your empathic nature sometimes? Sign up to join my upcoming Empowered Empath Academy, and go from being exhausted to being empowered to help yourself and the world with your gift.