Most empaths will tell you that they’ve always felt different and have struggled with fitting in. Many are mystified by how “normal” people can navigate the intensity of the modern world without becoming overwhelmed and exhausted. When you understand what characteristics of an empath set them apart from other souls, you can begin to transform your hyper-sensitivity into a superpower to use for your benefit and the benefit of others.
Characteristics Of An Empath
Not all empaths exhibit these characteristics to the same degree. However, there is a lot of commonality. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself in the list below.
1. Empaths are attuned to other people’s emotions.
If you’re an empath, first, it’s essential to acknowledge and accept that you’re just wired differently. You’re like a radio receiver for energy. You feel and absorb the physical sensations and emotions of others.
Because empaths feel and absorb the emotions of others as if they were their own, they may experience extreme mood fluctuations–ranging from anger and anxiety to peace and relaxation.
Appreciating how being an empath affects your energy and what you can do to ground yourself is a significant first step in embracing the unique blessing and gifts of your authentic nature.
2. Empaths are highly sensitive to sensory input and stimulation.
In addition to absorbing the emotions of others, empaths are highly sensitive to sensory input:
- Visual: TV shows and movies with scenes of violence and emotional abuse can cause empaths to feel anxious, even physically ill.
- Sound: Empaths can become overwhelmed in public places, especially where there is loud, chaotic noise.
- Smell: Empaths may also have an acute sense of smell, and be irritated by heavy perfumes and other odors.
- Sensation: Empaths may be very particular about the texture of the clothes they wear, preferring soft fabrics made of natural fiber.
- Food: Spicey foods and stimulants like caffeine and sugar can cause empaths to feel anxious and irritable.
3. Empaths need time alone.
Being a sponge for others’ emotions is draining. When exhausted and over-stimulated, empaths often resort to time to themselves.
Time alone allows the empath to decompress and release the emotions and other sensory input they’ve received from being out in the world.
If an empath internalizes the feelings of others, she can sometimes have difficulty distinguishing her feelings from those of others. Quiet solo time is especially crucial for sorting out what’s hers and what’s not hers, so she can ultimately re-establish her inner connection.
4. Empaths connect deeply with the natural world.
Another of the characteristics of an empath is finding solace and peace in nature, where she can tap into and be supported by the larger energetic forces of life. The energetic environment and physical beauty of nature soothe, heal, and ground empaths.
For many empaths, their relationship with nature is a spiritual connection that gives them a sense of peace and communion with all living beings.
5. Empaths struggle with low self-esteem and lack of belonging.
Empaths who grew up in households or school environments where their sensitivity was not understood were often told they were too sensitive, too emotional, too dramatic, or too timid. Many were told they needed to grow a thicker skin.
Even if the adults were well-intentioned, they likely had no inkling just how intense the world of emotion and sensation was to their young empath children.
As a result, many empaths grew up feeling invalidated for their own experiences. They may have internalized a sense of shame, believing something was wrong with them.
As adults, empaths may feel lonely and misunderstood and be plagued with self-doubt. Fortunately, there is greater awareness and appreciation in our culture now for empaths and their unique gifts.
6. Empaths express natural intuitive abilities.
Empaths are not only emotionally attuned; they’re highly intuitive as well.
Intuition is “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” And empaths just know stuff, without knowing how they know it.
Because they can read people without obvious clues, empaths can see beyond facades, understand motivations, and sense when something is off.
The more empaths acknowledge their sensitivity as wisdom, and trust their gut, the more their intuitive gifts can blossom.
7. Empaths embody compassion and altruism.
Other characteristics common among empaths are compassion and altruism.
Because empaths have powerful insight into people’s inner experiences, they’re able to appreciate people’s challenges, pain, hopes, and desires. This understanding helps empaths to tap into a deep well of compassion, humility, and grace.
Empaths can be generous with their time and attention in service of others’ well-being. They’re good listeners, listening with all of their senses, with the desire for people to feel heard and understood.
These big-hearted givers are often drawn to work in the helping and healing professions like counseling, philanthropy, and social justice.
But you can also find them in other roles where their abilities are keenly needed. For example, the empath teacher intuitively understands a student’s struggles and aspirations, and can draw out her strengths to help build confidence. And the empath entrepreneur can understand and foresee the needs of her business partners to craft mutually beneficial agreements.
8. Empaths are drawn to spirituality and metaphysics.
Because empaths know that there is much more going on in life than meets the naked eye, they’re curious about the nature of spirit and are inspired to ponder the big questions of life.
Many empaths experience a deep passion for the richness of life through the study of spirituality and metaphysics.
In their quest for higher truth, they may seek to align their lives with their spiritual nature and live in harmony with a higher purpose.
When you understand what characteristics set empaths apart from other souls, you’re able to embrace your true nature. As you do, not only will you learn to manage your sensitivities, but you’ll also hone your superpowers like intuition and compassion that lie within.
If you’d like to understand your nature as an empath and receive support in managing your empathic talent, I’d be happy to work with you through a Clairvoyant Reading & Energy Healing Session. Click here to book a session. I look forward to hearing from you!