Have you been told you’re “too sensitive”?
Do you feel like your joy and well-being depend on that of others?
Can you experience others’ emotions from a seemingly first-hand perspective?
If so, you have a decent chance of being an empath. But these aren’t the only tell-tale empath traits you could experience. There are several things to look for in yourself that could point to you being an empath, most of them having something to do with your emotions.
What is an Empath?
The term “empath” derives from the word “empathy” and refers to individuals highly attuned to others’ feelings and emotions. While an empath feels great empathy, being an empathetic person and an empath are two different things.
If you are empathetic, you can put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from. If you are empathetic, you can separate your experience from theirs.
In contrast, empaths take empathy to a whole different level. As an empath, you take others’ feelings and emotions on yourself, feeling the way they do. It’s not just feeling empathetic. It’s experiencing what others feel as if it is your own experience.
Signs You Are an Empath
Understanding whether or not you are an empath is crucial to truly knowing and accepting yourself. Many empaths tend to feel bad about themselves because they are perceived as “overly sensitive.” As an empath, if judgemental narcissistic individuals surround you, you probably feel even worse. But if you genuinely love and accept yourself and see your empath traits as strengths rather than weaknesses, you can live a happier, more fulfilling life.
The truth is, it’s tough to do this on your own. The best thing you can do is partner with a trusted, compassionate, non-judgmental mental health professional who can guide you to understand yourself better.
Here are some common empathy traits to help you understand whether you are an empath. See if any of the following resonates with you.
1. Other people’s emotions become your own.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most prominent tell-tale signs you are an empath is that you not only understand what others feel, but you actually feel what others feel, as if what is happening to them is happening to you.
In a way, you absorb others’ emotions like a sponge. It seems a little supernatural, right? It’s definitely a curious empath trait, but it isn’t implausible. Experts don’t exactly know how empaths absorb others’ emotions, but there is a theory.
Everyone has “mirror neurons” within their brains. And as an empath, yours are highly active. These neurons read emotional cues from others to determine how others feel. In other words, as an empath, you can pick up on tiny changes in others’ body language, tone of voice, and expressions non-empaths miss.
These active mirror neurons cause you to feel what others are feeling. It’s a powerful empath trait and can help many people around you, but it can also be overwhelming and exhausting.
2. People often turn to you for advice.
Because empaths are naturally empathetic and understanding, your friends, family members, and peers may often come to you for support and advice. As an empath, you’re a good listener and will genuinely hear what others say to you and respond from your heart.
3. You can easily become overwhelmed when in public places.
When you are an empath, you can experience others’ emotions and feelings without warning. So when you go out in public, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by others’ emotions, seemingly coming out of nowhere.
As an empath, being surrounded by a large number of people can even lead to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical symptoms.
4. You need time to recharge.
Your heightened sensitivity to others’ emotions can be exhausting. Because you can’t necessarily “choose” to feel so deeply, not taking time for yourself can lead to burnout and negatively impact your overall well-being.
As an empath, you often require time to relax and recharge, typically by yourself. This doesn’t mean you are an introvert. In fact, empaths can fall anywhere on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Needing time away from others helps you avoid overwhelm and focus on your own needs.
5. Violent and tragic TV shows and movies are too much for you.
Even though you aren’t physically living through the violence and tragedy movie and television characters experience, you still feel it deeply. If you are an empath, watching such things can be really draining, even when others find the content exciting, entertaining, or gripping.
6. You struggle to set healthy boundaries.
Being an empath means you have a deep-seated longing to help, support, and show up for others. And that means you have difficulty saying no, even when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted.
You may feel like saying no or setting healthy boundaries would come across as not caring about others. Of course, that’s entirely untrue. In reality, setting healthy boundaries for yourself is highly beneficial and can help you avoid burnout and overwhelm. It’s something I can help you do as your therapist!
7. You tend to put others before yourself all the time.
Putting others before yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you always prioritize others’ needs over your own, you can do a number on your mental health and well-being.
8. You feel others’ physical ailments too.
Believe it or not, being an empath can extend beyond feeling others’ emotions. Sometimes, empaths can feel physical sensations like tightness, soreness, and pain that mimic others’. Your empathetic mirror neurons can not only mirror others’ feelings, but they can also project physical sensations to your body.
9. You have a strong intuition.
As an empath, your gut feelings and hunches about situations or people often turn out to be accurate. It’s difficult for others to hide their true intentions from you. This allows you to be somewhat of a human lie detector. It can be helpful but also make you wary of people.
10. You become overwhelmed in intimate relationships.
Relationships can be challenging in general. But if you are an empath, you can sense every mood shift from your partner – positive and negative. When you are in an intimate relationship with someone, a lot of emotion is involved. And as an empath, it can be overwhelming.
I Can Help You Learn How to Thrive as an Empath
Being an empath can be both challenging and wonderful. Living in a world with so much hurt, pain, and judgment can be difficult, especially as an empath. But there are so many beautiful qualities empaths have. You deserve to know, understand, love, and accept them in yourself. And you also deserve to learn how to set healthy boundaries and thrive in relationships of all types.
According to a 2022 study, no matter where they live in the world, their age, or race, women tend to be far more empathetic than men. And for that reason, there are many more women empaths in the world.
I provide highly effective online therapy for women in California and Ontario and can help you learn how to thrive as an empath. I focus on delivering rapid results in all my therapy sessions, so you can make the positive changes you need to make as soon as possible.
Living as an empath shouldn’t be a burden. I can help you figure out how to live freely, happily, and fully, even with your empath traits. Contact me to learn more about my therapy for women. You deserve to live a full and happy life. And I’m honored to help.