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Am I an Empath? Common Traits that May Explain Your Emotional Sensitivity

Guest Writer, Life LessonsGuest Writer

Being an Empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods.  

Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions. Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  

You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others.  Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily.  These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.  Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.

Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others).

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs.

In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.

Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!”

Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren’t released, the more power they build. The thoughts and/or emotions can eventually becoming explosive, if not crippling. The need to express oneself honestly is a form of healing and a choice open to all. To not do so can result in a breakdown of the person and result in mental/emotional instability or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease.

Here are some common traits of an Empath:

1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

More traits of an Empath...


Diane Katherine at Just Be is an Empath and has spent the past 15 to 20 years ('since waking up') researching and learning ways to make life as an Empath easier. She has discovered many ways for the Empath to stay healthy and in balance and shares her findings on her blog "Tools to Empower the Empath".


This is part of a series of guest posts on the subject "Being an Empath" and how to cope in the world as an Empath.

Further Reading:

Why Does it Feel So Important to Be in Service?

You May be an Empath If...


Chloë Rain is the Founder of Explore Deeply™ and the Explore Deeply Movement. She is a Shamanic Practitioner & Spiritual Guide.

Chloë has had the pleasure of working with countless women and men all over the globe to deepen their relationship to self love and experience greater fulfillment and success, so they can enjoy the happiness they have always wanted, and have confidence and JOY in their lives, relationships, and finances.

Many of her clients are seasoned professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives who find that their relationships and careers shift dramatically in new and exciting ways after doing this work, creating freedom and joy in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about working with Chloë go → here.

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