30 Traits of An Empath

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30 Traits of an Empath By Christel Broederlow

  1. Knowing: Empaths have a deep sense of knowing that is unwavering and unquestionable which comes with pinpoint accuracy in its description.  They are capable of reading others without obvious cues and can describe what’s really going on beneath the surface.  They know if someone is being dishonest or not speaking their truths. The more attuned they are to their empathy the stronger and more frequent the knowing and reading abilities will be.
  2. Effective Listeners & Communicators: A natural ability to listen with all their senses acutely attuned allowing the person to feel as though they are being heard and understood.  They can intuitively guide a conversation with sincere compassion enabling even the most reserved person to respond and express their deepest and even most painful thoughts and feelings they wouldn’t ordinarily share.  In most cases it is carried out in an unspoken confidence and trust, yet if a situation potentially calls for outside intervention (i.e. self-harm) they will weigh up the need to act in the best interest of that person, not self, even if it means risking ongoing relations.
  3. Overwhelmed in Public Places: Shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where masses of people gather can be overwhelming and even lead to panic attacks or anxiety due to the myriad of emotions being sensed and until this is contained and manageable they will steer clear of being in said surroundings.
  4. Feeling Others Emotions Pains, Illnesses and Stresses: Due to heightened sensitivities to emotional and physical energy it is a very common occurrence to take on-board the emotions etc. of others and not even realize they are doing so.  Directly mirroring it as though it was their own.  It can make it very difficult to distinguish what is belonging to self or another and life can become extremely overwhelming. Self-awareness brings a greater degree of control and the ability to determine whose emotions etc. are whose and not get caught up in it.
  5. Mood Swings, Unpredictable & Needy: They can experience extreme highs and lows which makes them unpredictable in behaviour at the best of times.  One minute they can be happy and the next minute very sad and withdrawn which is not always the result of how they actually feel but what they have picked up in others, this can be confusing let alone depressing. They can also be very demanding of attention be it for good reasons or not, if they feel they are not being heard they will act out and come across as needy, even narcissistic, although they would seriously question and oppose the latter.  Just because one may have strong empathy at some point in time does not mean they are not akin to being so overwhelmed with it that they fall heavily towards narcissism.
  6. Sensitive to TV, Radio, and Movies & Real Life Chaos: Violence, cruelty, shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain or abuse can bring an empath to tears.  They may even feel physically ill, bewildered and struggle to comprehend such acts as being justified.  One sure way of dealing with this is to turn off the TV or radio or disassociating yourself from the chaos.
  7. Prone to Illness, Disease and Physical Pain: Because of the onslaught of emotional energy they are overly sensitive too and in most cases they don’t know how to deal with this can become problematic and manifest into varying forms of illnesses or disease.  It is vital to learn about emotional energy, distinguish its origin and apply the tools that will allow the person to move forward with balanced wellness.  Existing illnesses and disease can potentially be laid to rest once and for all in doing so.
  8. Magnetic Pull of Trust: Others, including strangers are drawn to an empath like a magnet and find it easy to express themselves and resonate with them on a deep and meaningful level; they will often feel like they have known each other for many years even though they may have just met.  People have this innate sense of trust and feel comfortable and relaxed in their presence yet are conscious they would not normally feel this way.
  9. Constant Fatigue: They are drawn to helping others and in doing so take on more than their fair share to personally cope with both emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually and will experience constant fatigue.  They may need to take daily catnaps or retreats just to replenish their energy and feel revitalized.
  10. Addictive Behaviour: Can be caused by wanting to escape from what they are bombarded with or a desperate need to feel connected.  Their heightened sensitivities more than often don’t come with an awareness of how to deal with it, (the energies they pick up on like sponges) let alone what is happening and they will adopt addictive tendencies to drown out, numb and distract them, such as drinking, smoking, taking drugs, binge eating to gambling etc.  Unfortunately for some, in doing so (i.e. taking drugs) it can heighten their sensitivities even more and create greater issues.
  11. Healing, Holistic Health & Wellness: Whether it is a career as a nurse, doctor, physiotherapist, neurosurgeon, psychologist or massage therapist, homeopath, naturopath, Chinese medicine practitioner and social workers or a veterinarian, those who have strong empathy from a young age are often drawn to these fields due to a pull to helping heal people and/or animals.  Strict and long-term education and work protocols however is known to stifle ones innate empathy and remarkably deter them from what drew them to the field in the first place.  Once in the field, there is a great need to be aware of ones empathy and not become overwhelmed in taking on others energy as it can become a catalyst in burning out and walking away all together.
  12. Curiosity & Seekers of the Truth: Driven by curiosity to understand the intricacies of life and an intense desire to seek the truth and question much of everything until they feel a resonance to any given answer, if it doesn’t sit well with them their curiosity will grow and they will continue to seek answers even if it takes a lifetime.
  13. Interests in Spirituality & Metaphysical:  They can be drawn to the unexplainable, paranormal, metaphysics and have a deep sense of spirituality (not necessarily religion even though they may lean towards such in order to find a sense of belonging).  They will dabble in many areas until they find their niche and they will actively pursue it throughout their lifetime.
  14. Cultural & Indigenous: They are drawn to ancient cultures that adhere to long held traditions cloaked in universal laws as they embody innate logic, common sense and practical uncomplicated ways in which to do all manner of things.  They will often shake their head in disbelief when others do and act in a way that opposes universal laws.
  15. Ancestral Lineage – Who Am I? From a young age, they are the child that listens to the stories of old that are passed down throughout the generations.  They have a genuine interest in wanting to know where they came from and who their ancestors were and what they did in their lifetime and will grow up to be keepers of the family tree and possess a collection of photo albums and heirlooms.  Feeling a sense of connectedness holds great importance and as they learn this, they in-turn will be the one to pass this knowledge on to their children.
  16. Quiet Achievers & Strong Leaders: Although they are quiet achievers who prefer to do the hard yards behind the scenes they will often be found in positions of leadership due to their ability to be focused, organized and supportive, quick thinking and capable of inspiring and motivating others with magnificent poise.  They are more comfortable in giving sincere praise upon others rather than accepting it and are often found mediating to maintain a balance of harmony.
  17. Creative Talents: A great love in expressing their creativity as artists, musicians, singers, dancers, performing artists, acting, poets and designers etc.  They love to tell a story and can captivate an audience through a vivid imagination and an ease in which they can take you directly into the picture as though you were actually experiencing it firsthand.
  18. Love of Nature & Animals: Inclined to have a pet as they love to give and receive unconditional love that come from dogs, cats, rabbits etc. and are often advocates or supporters in the prevention of cruelty to animals.  They enjoy being outdoors, amongst the forest or high in the mountains and are content being connected to the land and will often escape from the busy world to rejuvenate their senses.
  19. Cleansing Water: Be it swimming in the sea, floating in the pool, walking in the rain, a long soak in the tub or a hot shower to cleanse and wash away the troubles of the day, they sense the healing properties of water and reconnection to the womb for the safety and comfort it held can be recaptured in that moment.
  20. Need for Solitude: Although they can be very sociable, they also like to escape from the hustle and bustle and are content with their own company enjoying the tranquillity that comes with being in a quiet space reading a book, watching a movie, drawing a picture, pursuing a hobby they love to just relaxing.  They will display this tendency from childhood and throughout life.
  21. Boredom, Distracted & Daydreaming: A need to be stimulated and focused on one project or another and will give all their energy to any given task whether it is at school, work or home life. If the task fails to stimulate their senses they become bored, distracted and will either begin to fidget, doodle or be off in their minds daydreaming.
  22. Adventure Seekers, Travel & Spontaneous: Enjoy spontaneity in their life by exploring all that life has to offer and will seek out adventures, travel to far off places or find enjoyable activities nearby.  They enjoy being free spirited, leaving the constraints of the world behind them and if they don’t get to do this as often as they would like will become quite restless and agitated.
  23. Clutter, Energy & Flow: An awareness of energy comes naturally and they will feel weighted down by clutter and chaos, although they may collect things everything has a place and order and they will constantly do clutter clearing to allow the balance of energy (flow) in their environment.  They have an ability to place furniture or even plant gardens in a way that energy flows in and around everything.
  24. Rule Breakers: Routine, repetition and rules can become mundane for the creative empath who continuously seek ways in which to express their loves, the things they enjoy in life.  If they are told they cannot do something, within reason they will find a way that they can as the willingness to challenge themselves goes hand in hand with being spontaneous.
  25. Enthusiasm & Appreciation of Life: Bursting with energy and an appreciation towards life and living it as fully as they can is filled with enthusiasm.  However the downside is they can exert so much energy that they will burn out and need to take time to recuperate and when they do they will bounce back and give themselves fully.  They don’t do anything in halves; it’s all or nothing and they tend to feel disappointed if others around them don’t share the same zest for life as they do.
  26. Humanitarians, Peacemakers & Mediators: Conflict is extremely unsettling regardless if it is with family, friends, colleagues or even complete strangers or if it is direct or indirect, locally or internationally and will voice their feelings towards such.  They will endeavor to find a peaceful resolution even if it means being a mediator.  They have a love and respect of all people and cultures and vehemently oppose wars, political unrest, cruelty, racism, hatred and separatism as they believe deeply that we can all live together in harmony and will advocate this in one way or another, if not by being pivotal to the establishment of humanitarian organizations or in support of.
  27. Sensitive to Antiques, Vintage or Second-hand: Holding objects such as rings, jewellery, clothing, ornaments or touching door handles to old buildings, entering historical homes etc. can bring through very vivid and accurate accounts of the owner(s) history and life experiences.  This can be extremely daunting and off putting to those sensitive to picking up energies, whereas those who are more aware and in control of their empathy will feel at ease, and be drawn to such.
  28. Lucid Dreamers: The dream realm is not just a meaningless place where one goes when they are asleep.  An empath often has vivid dreams from a very young age and throughout and will have lucid dreams where they are awake in their dreams and have an ability to control certain aspects by wilful thought alone and are capable of describing in graphic detail the dream content.  They also have a strong desire to interpret the dream knowing that it has direct relevance to their physically awake life and in doing so can find answers to guide them well.  It is not unusual for an empath to at some point in time in their lives to have experienced and Out of Body Experience or Astral Travel, be it voluntarily or not.
  29. Lovers Not Fighters: Empaths love to love others and be loved in return and will seek meaningful relationships throughout their entire lives, though they are not always adept at self-love as they are inclined to give of themselves freely to others and can grow up thinking (by what they learn from society) that it is selfish to love thine self and that that is narcissistic in behaviour.  They do not like to be caught up in fights be it verbal or physical as communication comes easily to them, however they will not be passive either but they will aim for a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible.  They will get extremely frustrated if the other person is not willing to resolve the conflict fully as they don’t see the logic in dragging things on.
  30. Visionaries, Entrepreneurial & Problem Solvers: Intense visionaries blended with their adventurous love of life streak and enthusiasm they will dabble in many ventures and business opportunities and find ways in which to expand their potential, feed their creative minds and do the things they love to do.  They have this instinctive knowing they are capable of achieving greater things and will constantly think outside the box and push through any and all boundaries, (often against the odds) with focused and dog determined energy.  Where there is a problem, their immediately lies an answer and they won’t stop until they find it even if that means inventing it themselves!

It is important to note that most people experience varying degrees of empathy, however if you can say yes to most, if not all of the above you definitely are an empath.

(First published in 1998, Revised an Updated August 2016)

Copyright © 1998 Christel Broederlow

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