Updated: Apr 10
An empath gets intuitive information through their sense of feeling. Every one of our physical senses has an intuitive/psychic sense associated with it, these psychic senses are what is known as ESP, or extra-sensory perception. When a person has one or more of these intuitive gifts, this means that they are able to receive information through that sense that is typically outside the normal physical human range.
These psychic senses include:
Clairvoyance: The psychic gift of sight
Clairaudience: The psychic gift of hearing
Clairgustance: The psychic gift of taste
Clairalience: The psychic gift of smell
Clairsentience: The psychic gift of feeling (both emotionally and physically)
And there is one more psychic sense, that of claircognizance, this is the intuitive ability of just knowing. There’s no physical sense or sensation connected to claircognizance.
If you are an empath, it means that you have the intuitive gift of clairsentience. If you possess one of the intuitive gifts listed above, then it is very likely that you have other intuitive gifts as well, or that with a little practice, you could open other psychic gifts associated with your other physical senses. Most of the empaths I have worked with have found that they possess more than 1 psychic sense.
Most folks who are empathic don’t know that they are intuitively gifted. So, below, I’ve listed some tell-tale signs that you are indeed an empath.
1. You take on emotions as though they are your own.
This is really the foundation of being an empath; for an empath, they don’t just empathize and imagine what others might feel, they can feel those sensations in their own body as though those feelings are their own. Empaths will know immediately what kind of mood a person is in; we are excellent at “reading” people. The down side of this is that our mood may change dramatically, seemingly for no reason, based on who we have been around. Once a highly sensitive person has identified themselves as an empath, it is helpful to seek out information and assistance as to how to direct these sensations so that the empath does not feel overwhelmed and confused by them.
2. You not only take on emotions of other people, you also internalize the “vibe” of a place as well.
Most folks find that ambience is important, but to an empath it is essential. Not only is atmosphere important, but the overall “vibe” of a crowd is also important to a clairsentient. In general, most empaths don’t prefer to be in large groups, and a crowded place can feel exhausting. Going into a party, for example, a clairsentience may feel all of the expectations of the people gathered there, or in a crowded bar, they may feel like they have to be on-guard because the vibe of the place feels so chaotic. Most empaths find that the most comfortable social setting is in small groups or hanging out 1-1 with someone. If they are going to a large gathering, it’s important that the overall vibe of the place and group is uplifting.
3. You know when someone is lying.
An empath is a living, breathing, lie-detector. They feel all the feels, including lies.
4. People (even total strangers) naturally feel comfortable sharing personal stories with you... And often do so without asking permission.
For an empath, it would be commonplace to walk in to a grocery store just to grab a few things quickly, and then suddenly, over the rutabagas, a total stranger starts to tell you their life story. For the empath, they might be thinking, “How did we even get into this conversation?” Because of sign #10, they may have a difficult time knowing how to end the conversation quickly and respectfully, and may end up disregarding their own needs (like being short on time, or being low on energy). Basically, folks instinctively know that empaths are natural healers. Folks don’t typically intend to invade the empaths space, or to be disrespectful of their time; most just think that they are speaking with a really nice person and are having a great conversation. In some cases, the listening empath may be able to be helpful, in others, it may be a cathartic experience for the stranger, who will walk away feeling great, while the empath leaves feeling drained. In the latter, the empath is holding on to someone else’s baggage, and may be compromising their own well-being in doing so. What’s really important here is that the empath is self-aware and respectful of their own needs, and detach from any feelings of obligation. Putting your own needs first is the most compassionate thing we can do; we can’t serve from an empty cup. There are tools that an empath can learn so that they are able to hold space for others without taking on another person’s emotions and energy, and most empaths would find it helpful to seek out such information and training.
5. You are not just emotionally sensitive; you are physically sensitive as well.
Many empaths are not just sensitive to emotions, they are also highly sensitive to the environment. Many must be very conscious about what foods are helpful and what foods to avoid; they may find that they have little to no tolerance for pollutants, chemicals, and preservatives. Their skin is often also sensitive to textures and temperature, and may breakout easily if they come in contact with something harsh or irritating. The nervous system of an empath is naturally sensitive, and so empaths must manage their stress levels and reduce/eliminate toxic situations. Failure to do so can create anxiety, depression, digestive issues, and skin issues, among other mental and physical imbalances and dis-ease.
6. Graphic violence on TV, movies, or the news can feel very overwhelming to you.
When any person has an emotion, the brain does not know the difference between an emotion that is related to something fictional or something that is really happening. Because an empath’s nervous system is so sensitive and they process emotions through their whole being, we can become overwhelmed easily by graphic violence on TV shows and in movies, even if the event is fictious. Most empaths would do well to limit their exposure to these types of images, stories and headlines.
7. Alone time is sacred and necessary for your health and well-being.
It’s important for an empath to have time to reconnect with themselves. For an empath, their home is truly a sanctuary where they can discharge and recharge. For this reason, many empaths may need more time alone then what is usual, and most find that nature is a refuge for them.
8. You have an instinct to help those in need, near and far, and find it heart-wrenching to look the other way.
Even situations across the globe can leave an empath’s heart bleeding. An empath does not need to be face to face with a being who is suffering for their clairsentient ability to kick in. Because they feel things more deeply, the urgency to help is imprinted more deeply into their consciousness, and ignoring suffering is much more difficult. If an empath comes in contact with a situation that they are not able to assist with, it can often be quite difficult for an empath to shake it off.
9. You may struggle with setting boundaries in a balanced way.
Because empaths feel other’s feelings as though they are their own, feeling other’s disappointment, disapproval, and judgements, especially when it is about the empath, is not just uncomfortable, it can feel threatening to survival; put simply, when other’s feel bad, they feel bad. So, it can become imperative for the empath to keep those around them as happy and comfortable as possible, so that the empath can also stay happy and comfortable. This can cause the “disease to please,” AKA being a people pleaser, difficulty saying “no” to requests that aren’t in their best interests to agree to, and co-dependent relationships. Another boundary that can be confusing is discerning what emotions are theirs and what emotions belong to someone else. At times, a frustrated and resentful empath can go to the opposite extreme and become very hardened; their boundaries become walls. If this happens, this is a sign that some deep healing needs to take place, and most likely the empath could benefit from some outside resource such as, a good therapist, coach, mentor, teacher, or spiritual advisor. Most empaths find it helpful to learn both energetic as well as communicative boundaries, so that they can have effective filters instead of walls.
10. You have often felt “different” for much of your life.
Many empaths feel rather lonely. They may be surrounded by people who love them, and whom the empath loves in return; the empath might even be rather social, but deep down there’s a feeling that few, if anyone, knows or understands them. Since the empath can feel the insanity that has infiltrated global consciousness on such a deep level, humanity as a whole can often feel very alienating. Many intuitive folks have learned not to share their extra-sensory experiences, or have even dismissed their experiences altogether and have learned how to suppress their gifts, sometimes even making themselves believe that their experiences weren’t “real.” When there is a vital part of who we are that we feel we must hide, deny, or forget about altogether, we fracture off a part of ourselves, and one way this can affect us is as a feeling of not being accepted or truly understood. It is not uncommon that when an empath finds even just one person whom they feel accepted and understood by, that they may start remembering extra-sensory experiences that they had previously relegated to the nether realms of their memory.
There is a growing number of people who are waking up to their intuitive abilities. The concept that these individuals are one of the few is an illusion. We are many. We are the seers, the healers, and sages. As this shifting world is going through this transition into a new age, experiencing death throws and birthing pains all at the same time, I am comforted by the notion of “If you can feel it, you can heal it.” If this is true, then I can think of no spiritual warrior better suited for this task then that of the empowered empath.
About the Author:
Gullveig has empowered hundreds of energetically & psychically sensitive individuals reveal and define for themselves who their inner Spiritual Badass is. Her work focuses on love and acceptance of the whole self and empowering clients and students to transform an existence that can feel mundane to one that is magical.