Empath is a term that you’ll find overlapping between the social sciences e.g. psychology, and the spiritual. Trying to understand the traits of an empath can be a little confusing due to how varied they can be from one person to the next. In this article, we are going to explore the empath definition and hopefully define empath in relation to the various empath traits. Before we begin, it’s important to understand that this is just a guideline view of empaths and as such, each empath’s experience may vary slightly to what we discuss within this article.
The definition of an empath may sound straightforward: an empath is someone who has the ability to feel the emotions/energy of another person or place. For example, an empath might be able to feel the negative energy of death in a hospital or feel the excitement that radiates from a child on Christmas Eve.
Being an empath is as much a gift as it is a curse. Turning these abilities off is impossible and ignoring them simply leads to more problems. What is an empath definition? Well, a simple way to understand being an empath is to consider what it means to be empathetic.
Describing the empath definition and how this relates to empathy is also somewhat complicated as there are varying types of empathy. Typically, the most commonly referred to is affective empathy. This is the ability to understand why someone feels any given emotion, to the point of mirroring it within yourself.
To give you an example, imagine your favorite character in a movie or TV show has just lost his mother, you may feel sad because you can connect to the character’s emotions. The empath definition is a deeper version of this same ability which allows a deeper understanding of emotion and extends to both energy levels and locations.
Traits of an Empath
Covering the empath definition only introduces us to the idea of empaths. So to explore the idea in more depth, we will take a look at some of the main traits that would suggest that someone is an empath.
This will allow us to understand what this person is capable of and what they typically experience on a day to day basis. Again, it’s important to understand that these won’t apply to all empaths and so should just be viewed as a basic guide.
Sensitive to Other People’s Emotions
Of course one of the very first traits you’d encounter in an empath would be emotional sensitivity. People who aren’t empaths can be emotionally sensitive. This means that they will contract emotions from other people similar to a virus.
For example, if they witness someone having fun then they may find a smile spreading across their face while seeing someone cry could make them feel blue. Many people who believe themselves to be empaths are in fact simply emotionally sensitive. This is one reason why the empath definition is so difficult to pin down.
Crowds Can Be Intense
Very few people enjoy being stuck in crowds but for empaths, it is hell! Have you ever tried to concentrate in a crowded area where multiple discussions are taking place? Every time your mind gets back on track, a word or phrase from one conversation will distract you, then another, and then another.
A similar effect is experienced by empaths but on an emotional level. Even if everyone in the crowd was silent, the empath would find themselves feeling multiple emotions at once which seem to fluctuate across the entire span of human emotion.
Empaths Enjoy Isolation
The empath definition rarely takes into consideration the reasoning behind certain personality traits or behaviors experiences by an empath. Isolation can seem scary for many people: Being left alone with your own thoughts and only yourself as the company, can lead to negative emotional spirals.
However, the empath definition would likely suggest to you that empaths can benefit greatly from some alone time. This is often mistaken for anxiety and introverted or even asocial behavior.
In truth, it’s a chance for them to recover from experiencing so many emotions and in turn allows them to explore their own emotions for a moment rather than others. Empaths typically learn to control their ability over time and find that less and less time in isolation is necessary.
Read People like a Book
We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover but as we explore the empath definition and empath traits further, we find that such people are capable of doing just that. Due to an empath’s ability to connect with other people’s emotions, they can get a sense of what sort of person they are.
For example, they could feel someone’s happiness at a funeral or anger/contempt at a wedding. When emotions don’t match up to the situation, this gives empaths an insight into any given person. As such, by trusting their gut instinct they can make snap judgments about a person and be right more often than not.
Watching the News is Tough
For most of us, watching the news is a chance to catch up in the goings on in the world. For an empath, however, it’s akin to watching a horror movie. The simple act of turning on the news forces them to experience a range of emotions from the most extreme circumstances.
The news typically reports either incredibly positive or incredibly negative events and as such, it can create a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for empaths. Again, this is something that an empath will learn to control but certainly during their early development, it is something that they would automatically go out of their way to avoid. This adds more variance to the empath definition.