What Is An Empathic Person?
An empath is a person who has the ability to feel and understand the emotions of other people. In addition to this, empaths can take on others’ emotions and energies as “emotional sponges.”
Empaths are extremely sensitive and intuitive individuals who can feel what another person is feeling or thinking at a deep emotional level.
Being an empath can be a blessing and a curse. There are a lot of benefits of being an empathic person. First of all, empathic individuals are emotionally intelligent and extremely intuitive. Due to these qualities, they can immediately sense when someone is trying to manipulate or deceive them. They can spot phony, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful people from a mile away.
Additionally, empaths are caring, compassionate, and generous individuals. They are great listeners and friends. They build deep and meaningful relationships with others as they have the ability to connect at a deep emotional, mental, and spiritual level. They are entirely loyal and committed to their friends and partners, and although they might have only a handful of friends, they go out of their way to protect and nurture their friendships as no other person does.
As we already said, being an empath can sometimes be a curse. Empaths can put themselves in other people’s shoes and feel their energies and emotions, whether they are positive or bad as if they were their own. So, just imagine how great being able to absorb constantly other people’s sadness, anxiety, anger, or stress could affect your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Bear in mind that besides feeling and taking on other people’s energies and emotions, empathic individuals feel the emotions within themselves. All of this can often make them feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and even anxious or depressed, as most empaths don’t possess the skills necessary to protect themselves from exhaustion and sensory overload.
How Do You Know If Someone Is Empathetic?
Recognizing if you or someone you know is an empath can sometimes be difficult, so in what follows, we’ve presented 10 personality traits empaths have in common. If you possess some or all of the traits presented below, you might be an empath as well. Here they are:
1. You Have Trouble Not Caring
If whenever you see someone sad or suffering, you try to put yourself in their shoes and feel a strong need to help them and ease their pain, take this as a sign that you’re a highly empathetic person.
However, there’s one thing you should remember: Although you may find it hard to watch someone dealing with problems or struggling with emotional pain, know that it isn’t always possible to help others. Keeping this in mind will save you from feeling disappointed whenever you see someone struggling, and you’re not able to help them.
2. You’re Highly Intuitive
Have you ever had a gut feeling that something was off in a relationship or that someone was phony and manipulative? If you answered positively, you could take this as a sign that you’re an empath, as empaths have good intuition.
Empathic individuals have the ability to pick up on subtle cues that can tell them what another person is thinking or feeling. Their intuition can tell them whether they’re dealing with an authentic, honest person or someone who is fake and disingenuous.
3. You Feel A Lot Of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and feel the emotions of other people. So, let’s say a close friend of yours has recently lost someone they loved. Empathy is what enables you to put yourself in his/her shoes and understand and feel the pain they’re experiencing, even if you’ve never lost a loved one.
As an empath, you can feel other people’s emotions and energies on such a deep emotional level that it can be said that other people’s joy and sadness become your joy and sadness.
4. Crowded Places Make You Feel Overwhelmed
As an empath, you can take on another person’s energy, whether positive or negative, only by being around them. In crowded places, this sensitivity can become intolerable.
In addition to absorbing other people’s energies and emotions, you tend to feel things deeply. So, when you’re in a busy place, you’ll likely have trouble dealing with all the emotional “noise” from all the people surrounding you for some period of time.
Absorbing the negative emotions, pain, energy, and distress of others can make you feel overwhelmed and physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. To protect yourself from exhaustion and sensory overload, you may feel the calmest and most comfortable in the company of only a handful of people at a time or by yourself.
5. Closeness And Intimacy Can Intimidate You
It’s not that you don’t want to connect and build deep, meaningful relationships with others, but you simply find close contact overwhelming.
Spending too much time with your friends, family members, and partner makes you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. That’s why you tend to avoid engaging in long conversations with others and often feel the need to spend time on your own, which often negatively affects your relationships. For instance, when you tell your partner you need to spend some time alone, you take on their hurt feelings, and as a result of this, you feel even more emotional distress.
6. You Need To Spend Time Alone To Reset
Picking up on other people’s emotions and energies can be draining, which is why empathic individuals may often find themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
Even absorbing other people’s positive emotions can make you feel overwhelmed. Therefore, it’s very important to spend some time on your own to recharge your batteries.
If you are not able to get away from overwhelming emotions and prevent sensory overload, you run the risk of experiencing burnout, which can adversely affect your overall well-being. Therefore, to protect yourself from this, make sure you take time for yourself as often as you need. In this way, not only will you recharge your batteries, you’ll also reconnect with yourself and your power.
7. People Tend To Share Their Problems With You
If your loved ones often tell you their problems, come to you for advice, and confide in you, take this as a sign that you’re an extremely empathetic person.
As an empath, you’re caring and compassionate and a great listener. That’s why your friends and family tend to reach out to you first every time they need help or emotional support.
However, know that not everyone will appreciate your benevolent nature and support. If you’re not careful, selfish and manipulative people can easily take advantage of your kindness. So, make sure your desire to help people experiencing difficulty doesn’t make you more vulnerable to toxic behaviors.
8. You Love Spending Time In Nature
Empathic individuals enjoy spending time in nature more than anything else, as natural environments make them feel calm and relaxed. They perceive nature as a place where they can recharge their batteries and retreat to rest from emotions, sensations, and sounds.
So, as an empath, you might feel utterly peaceful when riding a bicycle alone or walking along the beach and listening to the beautiful sounds the waves make when crashing against the shore. Even going for a leisurely stroll in the nearest park may improve your mood, help you relax, and make you feel energized.
9. You Can’t Stand Conflict
Empaths either fear Conflict or do everything in their power to avoid it. If you’re an empath, know that your sensitivity makes it easier for others to upset you and make you feel overwhelmed and distressed. Even unthoughtful remarks can deeply affect you, and you may take criticism to heart.
Getting involved in an argument makes you feel distressed because, in addition to dealing with your own reactions and feelings, you are also taking on the emotions of the person you’re having an argument with. When you want to call someone out on their behavior because they said or did something that hurt your feelings, you don’t know how to do this, and even slight disagreements can become more difficult to handle.
10. You Have Trouble Setting Boundaries
Boundaries are an inseparable part of any healthy relationship.
If you are an empath, you may have a hard time controlling your ability to feel things deeply and find it very difficult to stop being caring and compassionate towards others, even when you feel drained.
One reason why you might have trouble setting boundaries in your relationships is that you think establishing boundaries means you’re reserved and you don’t care about others, including your friends and family. But, in fact, the opposite is true.
What you need to understand is that setting boundaries in your relationships is increasingly important as doing so can help protect you from other people’s words or actions that can have a negative influence on you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Characteristics Of Empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand what another person feels, take their perspective, and put yourself in their position.
People who have high empathy, i.e., empaths, can “walk a mile in another person’s shoes.” For example, when they’re around someone happy, they can feel their happiness and get caught up in their joy. Similarly, when they see someone sad or suffering, they can feel their sadness and emotional pain as if they were their own.
Feeling empathy enables you to put yourself in another person’s position and feel and understand what they’re going through. It enables you to recognize their emotions and communicate that.
There are three types of empathy: affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and somatic empathy.
1. Affective Empathy
A person who has this type of empathy has the ability to feel another person’s emotions physically alongside them. They can understand how the other person is feeling and what they’re going through and respond appropriately.
2. Cognitive Empathy
This type of empathy involves the ability to take another person’s perspective and understand their mental state. For example, a person who has cognitive empathy can put themselves in another person’s place and sense what they might be thinking.
3. Somatic Empathy
This type of empathy involves the ability to experience physically what another person is experiencing. For instance, when a person with somatic empathy sees someone suffering, they can feel their pain and feel a strong need to help them. Or when they’re around someone who is feeling embarrassed, they might feel embarrassed too or even have an upset stomach.
What Are The Best Careers For An Empathetic Person?
There isn’t one perfect job for empaths since not all empaths are the same. For example, some empaths get great satisfaction from working in environments that include many new people. Other thrive more in jobs in which they can interact with a small number of people and create deeper personal bonds.
Empathic individuals do well-being artists, writers, graphic and website designers, self-employed business owners, lawyers, accountants, and health care professionals.
It’s worth mentioning that the best jobs for empaths are those that can allow them to choose how many people they want to interact with and make their own schedules. Not overscheduling themselves, working at their own pace, and setting firm boundaries concerning when they can be reached are essential for them so that they don’t get overwhelmed and protect their mental and physical health.
Another thing worth mentioning is that many empaths choose to pursue heart-felt careers. They choose to work as nurses, physicians, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, physical and massage therapists, dentists, life coaches, or yoga instructors. In order to benefit from these professions, empaths need to learn how to stop picking up on the symptoms, emotions, and stress of their patients and clients. Three ways they can do this are by setting firm boundaries with people, taking breaks between clients, and spending quality time outside of work to recharge their batteries, relax, and reset.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.