The word “empathy” is a term used to describe the ability to recognize, live, share someone else’s feelings, sadness or joy, whether or not explicitly expressed.
Without it, a person cannot be capable of compassion, that is, an emotional reaction to someone else’s suffering.
In current language, empathy is often referred to as “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” and should not be confused with altruism, neither with compassion nor with sympathy, in other words, the sharing of similar feelings or emotions.
Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist and founder of the school of individual psychology, explained:
“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.”
15 Signs Of An Empath
#1 You Have An Open Mind
Empaths have no problem learning new things about the world and actively seek out information not found in the mainstream news, TV shows, or movies.
They want to learn things considered weird or underground by society as a whole and find the everyday way of living too boring and restrictive. If you got restless and easily distracted in school and always felt like there was so much more out there to learn, you are most likely an empath.
You truly care about everything and everyone, so you are instinctively driven to ask questions or to do research to understand things and people on a deeper level.
#3 You Are Sensitive To Light And Noise
City noises, loud sirens, traffic, bright lights, and anything which carries with it a feeling of intensity, chaos, or possible confrontation puts you on high alert.
You may feel an aversion to city living, particularly if you find yourself surrounded by concrete and huge buildings without easy access to greenery or nature.
#4 You Are Fascinated By Metaphysical Topics
Whether unconsciously or consciously, you are interested in stuff like tarot, intuition, meditation, past lives (reincarnation), energy healing, or mediumship, etc.
#5 Being in Crowded Places Overwhelms You
You don’t like being in sporting events, malls, airports or other public places with crowds of people. You feel overly-excited and suffocated. You can’t wait to leave.
Important note – being in these crowded spaces is like being in a vortex of emotional chum. It takes real effort to remain calm and find your center.
#6 Downtime Doesn’t Feel Unproductive To You
One of the most fundamental characteristics of an empath is that you need time alone to recharge your batteries.
Whereas you get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with a stack of magazines and tea, this sort of downtime feels satisfying and necessary to you.
#7 You’re Often Told You’re “Too Sensitive”
Friends, partners, and family members will frequently say you are ”too sensitive.”
#8 It’s Unbearable To Watch Cruelty, Violence, or Tragedy on TV
Since you take on others’ feelings, watching movies where people or animals are being hurt or violent movies can feel unbearable to watch.
Note – exposure to violent and negative media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects beyond simple feelings of disapproval or pessimism.
British psychologist Dr. Graham Davey said:
”Viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe.”
Dr. Graham Davey later added:
”When you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.”
You have a deep sense of knowing that is unquestionable and unwavering that comes with pinpoint accuracy in its description.
In addition, you are capable of reading others without obvious cues and can describe what’s really going on beneath the surface.
#10 Excellent Listener
You won’t talk about yourselves much unless it’s to someone you really trust. You love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.
#11 People Feel Inclined To Offload Their Problems Onto You
Probably because you are a compassionate listener and have a difficulty telling people “no.”
#12 Love Of Animals And Nature
Being outdoors in nature is a must for you and pets are an essential part of your life.
#13 You Have A Need For Solitude
The background noise of another person’s energy is always palpable to you, even if no one is making noise or talking, that makes occasional solitude essential to your clearing and recharging your own batteries.
#14 You Can Tell When Someone Is Lying And Spot Fake People
You can easily see beyond masks and find the real intentions of a person. You also can tell when people are lying but you will not say anything about it.
#15 You’ve Been Known As The “Peacemaker” Among Your Family And Friends
Bad energy is particularly draining for you, therefore, you will do what you can to keep the peace. Additionally, since you are in tune with others’ emotions, you are probably a pretty good mediator as well.
The Dark Side Of Empathy
Unfortunately, empathy has some dark sides as well. Everyone thinks that the life of empaths is all butterflies and rainbows, that these people enjoy certain benefits, but it simply isn’t true.
The positive sides of empathy come together with other less good ones.
3 Negative Aspects of Being An Empath:
Empath individuals are generally deep thinkers. These people think a lot in order to solve problems and usually consider that the solution to a problem lies in the problem itself.
They are the kind of people who do not fall asleep at night until they find an answer to the question that worries them. Often, the problems they think about are not even theirs.
Empaths get exhausted much faster than ordinary people and they often act like a sponge: they absorb the emotions of others.
This ability helps them understand other people, however, at the end of the meeting, instead of letting go of these emotions, empaths tend to keep some of them inside.
In addition, the ability to empathize with another person so intensely, continuously self-improving by trying to transpose oneself into that state, and then make efforts to find a solution to others’ problems, involves a lot of energy.
It is also a lot more complicated than it sounds and it’s unlikely to happen without leaving any sequelae.