Empath: 8 Signs You Might Be One (With Quiz)
Are You an Empath?
Do you frequently experience the intense emotions of other, particularly in public settings? Do you find that at times these feelings are intrusive?
Do you struggle with trying to push these emotions away, causing you to become drained and depleted?
Are you able to feel the physical distress of other living creatures, like aches and pains? When a major global event happens that involves significant loss of life, are you able to sense the enormity of the tragedy before it hits the news?
Do strangers approach you and share their personal problems without your prompting?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may very well be an empath. In plain-speak, these abilities are more commonly used to characterize a person who is empathic, a term that may describe you.
You are not crazy nor do you have bipolar disorder or some other kind of mental health issue. For empaths, these experiences described above are very common and occur on a regular, ongoing basis.
What Is an Empath?
Empaths are very special people who for reasons we do not yet understand have the ability to scan another person’s psyche for emotions and thoughts that are connected to the past or present. A good number of empaths are not concerned about where they gained this ability and have accepted this trait as part of who they are.
Empaths are not mind-readers or people who are involved with magic or any of other stereotypical non-sense that you see T.V. Instead, they are very much like everyone else except they have a “chip” that gives them the ability to tune into the feelings and emotions of other living creatures.
An empath will be the first to tell you that their unique abilities can be a double-edged sword, often carrying more minuses than plusses.
This article will provide the eight common traits and characteristics of empaths, which you can use as a self-assessment tool in order to gauge your own empathic abilities.
People who are empaths commonly involve themselves with different forms of mindfulness, which is a 25-cent term for being present in the here and now with the added characteristic of being focused on the moment.
One however does not need to be involved in activities like Zen Meditation in order to be an empath. You are either born empathic, or you are not.
Both women and men can be empathic but it is thought that as a population group, incidences of empathic traits occur more frequently in women. As a group, empaths struggle with romantic relationships and often confuse love with obsession because of problematic emotional bonding.
Empath Zodiac Signs
Certain astrological signs may be more empathic than others, including Pisces, Cancers, and Scorpios.
Do you believe a person can be an empath?
The eight characteristics listed below are most commonly experienced by individuals who have the gift of being empathic. These traits however do not represent the complete list of skills. I am just touching upon the “biggies” here.
As a general rule, you will need to circle 3 out of the 8 traits appearing here in order to qualify as being empathic. Keep in mind, some empaths are more gifted than others and no two empaths are alike. I have included a rating scale towards the end of this article.
1. You Feel Emotionally Overwhelmed in the Presence of Others
This is a very common trait of an empath. When in public places, like a shopping mall, house of worship, school, or workplace function, empaths feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others for reasons they cannot explain.
Example: During a casual walk in the park, you pass by a group of children. Out of nowhere, you get a tingly feeling down your spine and begin to sense a myriad of emotions from one of the children in your presence.
You experience these emotions in a powerful way which can be overwhelming. Even though you try to block these feelings, they continue to stick with you, particularly if these feelings are profoundly sad. Needing to escape these emotions, you decide to go home in order to be alone and away from others.
2. You Are Drawn to Animals and Can Sense Their Emotions
Empaths are drawn to animals and vice versa. For the most part, animal emotions are experienced as happy by empaths, which helps to balance out some of the sad emotions felt in the presence of other people. Empaths however can tell when an animal is depressed or feeling blue—they can also sense if an animal is sick or in pain.
Example: A dog runs up to you that you have never met. As you begin to pet him, he looks into your eyes and makes strong eye contact. You begin to feel a bit strange and suddenly are able to experience the fullness of the dog’s feelings.
During the time spent together, you sense he has back pain. Later, the dog’s owner appears and tells you that the pooch has arthritis. He also shares that normally; the dog does not like other people and is confused about why he ran to you.
3.When Catastrophe Strikes, You Experience a Torrent of Emotions
One of the major signs that a person is an empath is their unique ability to sense that a tragic event has just happened, impacting many people somewhere on the planet. Empaths often know something “bad” has happened before they are ever told. While they may not know specifics of the event, they absolutely experience a torrent of connected emotions—primarily loss and sadness.
Example: You are out gardening when suddenly you start to feel a bit odd. Moments later, strong feelings of sadness begin to overtake you. It becomes clear to you that something tragic has happened somewhere on the planet.
Depending upon the intensity of feelings, you may even begin to feel like you are going to pass out because of their power. Suddenly, your cellphone rings. On the other end of the line is a friend who just informs you that an earthquake has happened, killing hundreds.
4. You Are Powerfully Drawn to People in Emotional Pain
As mentioned earlier, being an empath can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, empaths are able to “be” with someone during emotional difficulty. On the other hand, empaths are often drawn to those in emotional turmoil, particularly folks who live in chaos or in emotional pain. Empaths often try to resist people who are experiencing these emotions but are unable to do so because they can’t help themselves.
Example: The lady down the hall seems to constantly be in and out of abusive relationships. Even though you have tried to help her in the past, she doesn’t listen to your advice. You swear that you are done with her and make the conscious choice to not engage in her drama. Your ability to do this however only lasts a week because you are compelled to listen to her problems and allow her to unburden her pain.
5. You Need to Isolate Yourself From Others on a Regular Basis
Another hallmark of the empath is their ongoing need for “alone time”. Empaths often need to isolate because they “feel” so much. The alone time allows time to emotionally decompress and clear the mind of thoughts and feelings. Isolation is a normal part of life for empaths and is not a sign of being arrogant, narcissistic, or “crazy”.
Example: You decide that this weekend you will spend time by yourself and away from others. You make it a point of disconnecting yourself from the world, meaning no television or Internet. You do this so that you can relax and detoxify your mind and body of pent up feelings and emotions. During this time, you find yourself draw to creative things, like writing or painting to help purge emotions. During this period, only your pet (pets) can be around.
6. You Struggle With Self-Care
This is yet another sign of the empath. Because these individuals are magnetically drawn to other people’s problems, feelings, and emotions, they often have little time or energy to engage in proper self-care. As a result, serious consequences can happen in the areas of general health and finance.
Example: Sandy tells her friend Helen that she needs to exercise more and eat a “clean” diet so that she can reduce her bad cholesterol levels. Helen is eventually able to do this with Sandy’s help however, Sandy has done very little to address her own weight and high blood pressure issues.
7. You Have the Power to Heal
One of the final traits that some empaths have is the ability to heal other living creatures. This ability however is not universally shared and does not manifest itself in the same way for every empath. Some empathic folks for example can heal animals. Others can heal people. Healing may be limited to different realms, such as emotional or physical healing.
Example (emotional): An old man walks up to you and begins to talk about how alone he feels since his wife died. After you spend time with him, allowing him to share, he tells you that he suddenly feels much “lighter” and as a result, better.
Example (physical): A young girl approaches you at the mall. You notice that she limped a bit on her way over. After spending time with her, you are compelled to touch her ankle. The little girl tells you that she feels heat coming from around her leg. She giggles and walks away, leaving you feeling a bit drained. Moments later, the girl’s mother approaches you and says, “How did you do that? She sprained her ankle last week at school. She seems totally fine now”.
Example (animal): You are walking to your car and notice a small bird on the sidewalk, trying to flap her wings to gain flight. You are drawn to the bird and bend down to pick it up. The bird doesn’t seem to flinch when you do this and makes no cries for help. As you cup the bird in your hands, you stroke her wing. Moments later, you empathically know to toss the bird into the air because she is healed. You watch as the bird disappears into the sky.
8. You Dream of Future Events
Many empaths are able to see future events unfold during sleep, particularly deep sleep. While not all empathic people possess this ability, those who do see blurry imagery that represents an event of something yet to unfold. Attached to the imagery, empaths will feel powerful emotions connected to the future event.
Example: You see flames shooting up from a building during a dream. You are unable to make out a bunch of detail however, you can see the outline of a brick house with a dark-colored roof. A week later, you learn that your nephew’s home caught fire where a pet cat was trapped inside and died. Your nephew and his family are devastated over the loss of the home and the animal. Somehow you sensed the loss before you were told about it.
Empath Assessment Results Based on Responses
3 out of 8
5 out of 8
8 out of 8
You have some empath skills.
You have moderate empath skills.
You are a strong empath.
Skills may increase over time advancing you to moderate status.
Some people never advance from here while others can through self-training.
Highest level an empath achieves
How many empathic traits do you possess?
Empaths are very special people. Many empaths can be found in the helping professions, including the worlds of counseling, psychology, medicine, and natural healing. If you are an empath, you already know the ability to experience the emotions of other living creatures can at times be overwhelming.
Empaths are encouraged to engage in as much self-care as possible. If left unchecked, your special abilities can get the best of you and cause you great personal, emotional, and financial pain. You have been given something very unique by the universe.
The rest of the planet desperately needs your special powers for karmic harmony. You may not have asked for these abilities but you have them anyway—it was never your choice to begin with.