If you are a delicate person who feels everything very deeply and can sense and absorb other people’s emotions, there is a high chance that you are an empath. These sensitive individuals often feel exhausted when they are among many people and might go through mood changes which couldn’t be explained with obvious reasons. They possess strong intuition and are always ready to help others by listening to their problems.
Here is a professional definition of what it is to be an empath provided by Dr. Judith Orloff a psychiatrist and writer, author of the book The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People:
” Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners. If you want heart, empaths have got it. Through thick and thin, they’re there for you, world-class nurturers.”
Indeed, these are the most typical characteristics of an empath, but they are not all of the traits that could define such an individual. The reason is that some of the features of this special group of people are not so evident and sometimes cannot be associated with empathy or someone who has an empathetic personality.
Here is why we’ve done detailed research and checked the professional opinions of experts including Dr. Orloff to outline 8 not so apparent characteristics of every empath.
This list could help you identify whether you are an empath or not.
1. They cannot live normally if they don’t have enough alone time
Although spending much time alone is a typical trait of loners empaths also need to be on their own for more extended periods. As they are sensitive and are often strongly affected by the emotions and moods of other people, they need a lot of time alone to regain their energy. It’s a way of keeping their overall wellbeing. Spending time on their own is also recommended to empaths by dr Orloff in her book. She says it could be one of the primary strategies to beat low energy. Here is what she advises empaths in her book:
‘Empaths need alone time to reconnect with their power. If you’ve picked up unwanted energy, be sure to take some alone time to center yourself.”
On top of that, according to her empaths also could act as introverts:
“Empaths become overwhelmed in crowds, which can amplify their empathy. They tend to be introverted and prefer one to one contact or small groups,” she says.
2. They cannot set their boundaries
There is not an easy relationship especially when it comes to romantic ones. But for empaths things seem to be even more complicated. The reason is they need to set clear boundaries with other people, something they are hardly capable of. Here is the opinion of dr. Orloff:
“There’s no way around it. To survive and thrive, you need to set limits with people.”
3. They cannot stay focused.
This trait is the result of their highly sensitive nature. Empaths are usually capable of noticing all the little details, around them. However, this way they get distracted easily because they cannot keep their focus on one thing for a long time and very often daydream. Empaths need to be stimulated to stay concentrated on a particular task.
4. They get differently affected by some drinks and medication
This is also a side effect of their sensitive nature. Soft drinks, drinks which contain caffeine, and energy drinks have a much stronger effect on them than on the other people. These stimulants could make an empath feel too anxious and excited. Empaths could also have side effect with medications that no one else has had so far. Here is the opinion of dr. Orloff who advises all empaths who take medications to ask themselves what is their bodies reaction to the medication:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who ever had a side effect if you experience something, it IS real. “
Being so sensitive means that when others try to lie to an empath they would most probably understand it and this could provoke a strong negative reaction. That is why empaths tend to avoid people who have betrayed their trust.
6. They play the role of confidants
Empaths always try to help others at least by listening to their problems. These individuals play the role of confidants not only for their friends and family but even for people they are not close to. Empaths possess high intuition, and as mentioned in the beginning tend to absorb the emotions of others, which is the reason why people feel that an empath could be a shoulder to cry on.
7. They have a unique connection with animals
Empaths love animals but seldom have pets, because they think it is wrong to deprive an animal of its freedom. Empaths adore seeing animals walking free in their natural habitats. And that’s not all – very often animals can feel the empaths’ sensitivity and act differently around them.
8. Empaths very often feel exhausted
Helping others while you have your own problems is totally exhausting for everybody, especially for the empaths. As these people are able to sense others’ feelings it is little surprise empaths feel extremely drained and exhausted at the end of the day.
It turns out that being an empath could be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, empaths possess rare qualities which most people don’t and could feel everything much more intensely than others. However this way they quickly become “emotional sponges” and experience much more emotional pain.
That’s why if you are an empath you should pay more attention to yourself and be careful who you spend your energy on.
“Create boundaries. Honor your limits. Say no. Take a break. Let go. Stay grounded. Nurture your body. Love your vulnerability. And if all else fails, breathe deeply.”