When this article was written, there wasn’t much information on Empaths online, but now everyone refers to this one piece of wisdom.
How can you tell if you are an empath? what is the difference between being an empath and being highly sensitive? All the answers to your questions about empaths are below:
1. When in public, do you constantly feel overwhelmed with inexplicable emotions for which you can’t determine the reason?
Example. You drop by the mall one Saturday morning. You feel great. You get into the mall, walk past a crowd of people—and start feeling a bit strangely. It can be anything; you can feel very down, very angry, very sad, very excitable. (The key word here is very.) And you won’t have any explanation for it, you’ll just feel it. In other words, you’ve suddenly gone Bi-Polar without actually having the biological deficiency that causes it. And what’s worse, you can’t turn it off. You can carry on, trying to ignore it, but eventually it will be so overwhelming to the point you just want to go home and be alone.
This is the reality of an Empath—one who hasn’t yet learned how to block other people’s emotions out. Being around other people is such a harrowing experience that most of them prefer to keep their own company, living the life of a hermit. And they usually find it very much worth it.
2. Do you experience other people’s physical ailments?
This is most common with those you have an emotional connection with, but can occur with anyone. A very good example of this would be suddenly feeling very lethargic and fatigued for no reason, and having to remain in bed for a day or two. You’re not sick—not really. You’re not ill. Yet, you feel that you are. Profoundly. You later find out that your “illness” coincided with a lover or family member’s sudden fatigue (resulting from legitimate illness) even though they were in another country at the time and you had no idea until after the fact. Symptoms can also manifest in the form of chest pains, cramps, migraines, etc. You basically experience it all, without contracting the actual illness.
3. Do you feel overwhelmed when watching something horrible in real life or even on television?
This one sounds silly, but viewing the news or depressing commercials designed to induce sympathy and open wallets can debilitate an Empath for several hours. While most people get upset over homeless dogs and cats, an Empath will often feel like their hearts have been lanced. That’s a literal definition, by the way. It’s not something as shallow as sympathy or even ordinary empathy. It’s a feeling of guilt and moral empathy that cannot be easily assuaged.
4. Do you ALWAYS know what someone really means?
In other words, can you always, always, always tell what it is someone meant to say to you? More importantly, can you tell why they didn’t? If an Empath is face to face with someone and has just been lied to—they will know. And they will know why. They will know if the other person is trying to spare feelings; they will know if malice was involved. In other words, they will know the intent. You cannot lie in the face of an Empath and not be caught out. While they will not often be able to suss the specifics of what you’re hiding, they will know if you mean them well or not. No exceptions. This is more than good intuition and this isn’t a hunch; this is knowing.
5. Do you feel compelled to care for anyone in pain, no matter who they are and what they’ve done to you?
A true Empath cannot walk past someone suffering and not feel a need to stop and help that person. Homeless people can be particularly difficult, as they are everywhere and little can be done to help them unless the Empath has an occupation related to this. A true Empath feels compelled to go to anyone they feel pain from, be it angst or something physical. And a true Empath’s compassion will usually be accepted on the spot: People in pain, regardless of how they might normally react to strangers, will receive an Empath with open arms. They know instinctively that their pain matters to them.
6. Do people open up to you—even if you don’t want them to?
Some Empaths are the new-agey peace-loving types who want to hold hands with everyone, but many just want to be alone because they have difficulty processing everything they absorb from other people. (This is usually because they have yet to realize their abilities and haven’t learned to deal with it yet.) For an Empath, however, putting on a grumpy face doesn’t keep people they barely know from drawing near and seeking compassion and empathy from them.
That’s not to say Empaths can’t be mean and nasty people—they surely can be. But those particular Empaths tend to be those with profound sensitivity who’ve broken down inside and have no other way of keeping other’s emotions at bay. Again, these are Empaths who don’t know of their abilities.
7. Can you heal?
Most Empaths have the ability to heal. Yes, that means physically. This isn’t about Reiki or any other alternative modality, though they may seem similar in concept. An Empath heals instinctively, usually by drawing the pain or ailment out and accepting it into their own bodies. For obvious reasons, this is not recommended for anyone who doesn’t know how to keep from becoming ill in the process. In today’s day and age, everyone seems to want to be psychic to some degree.
That’s probably due our evolution of consciousness as human beings. Therefore, many people reading this will likely think themselves Empathic. I cannot stress the following enough: There is nothing fun about being an Empath. It’s often a very draining and miserable existence in which you feel like you have to be entirely alone in order to survive. It is not glamorous, it is not exciting and it is painful more often than not.