Being an empath is when you are affected by other people's energies and vibrations, but it is also having an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it's not just limited to emotions. Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.
Empaths know when someone is lying or not, they can feel the difference, a lie feels different and they just know. How people speak, tone of voice, use of words, what they don't say, body language, shifts in energy, and vibrations are all picked up by an empath, no matter how slight the change.
You either are an empath or not. It's not a trait/skill that is learned. An empath is 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. If you have not fully stepped into your power, this can be confusing for an un-empowered empath to try and differentiate between their's and another's emotions.
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 need and crave solitude and quiet time away from everyday life, empaths need this to recharge their batteries. It is important to spend time in their own energy and to feel their own vibrations without the interruptions of another person's energy.
Being an empath doesn't just mean having a lot of compassion. In many ways, empaths don't have the normal filters other people do. They take in a lot of what's going on around them and are very sensitive to noise, smell, and excessive talking, and get easily frazzled with sensory overload. This means they are easily overwhelmed in crowds and can be exhausted after just short periods of time in social situations.
To find if you truly are an empath, here are some traits of an empath that you may resonate with:
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. It is also known as Claircognizance.
2. You can tell when you are being told a lie almost immediately:
If a family member or a close friend is telling you lies you just know it (although a lot of empaths try not to focus too much on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be a painful thing to learn). Or maybe you are in the situation of someone saying one thing but thinking/feeling something completely different.
Empaths are able to feel the person's true inner vibrations/feelings, and when their words do not match their inner vibration, it stands out like a sore thumb for an empath.
3. Being in public places can be overwhelming:
Places like supermarkets, stadiums, concerts, malls, fairgrounds, the movies, anywhere there are loads of people around, can fill the empath with an overwhelming sense of emotions coming at them from all directions and without room to breathe to even focus on trying to work out one emotion from another. It can be hard to recognise how you yourself are feeling when you are been hit by so many other feelings all at once.
4. 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 nearby, 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 a great distance. You may be in a good mood when suddenly you feel sad or angry for no apparent reason.
5. Taking on physical symptoms of another:
An empath will almost always develop the ailments of another person (colds, infections, headaches, muscle strain, body aches, and pains to name just a few) especially those they're closest to, it's sort of like going out in sympathy for another. It can be hard to distinguish your aches and pains from those of another, as they feel so real to an empath.
6. Negativity can be overwhelming:
Where others can tolerate raised voices, conflict, or anger, it sends you over the edge. You almost feel physically sick or in pain as a result of the negative energy around you. You crave peace, calm, and stillness.
7. Strong intuition:
You seem to know things without being told. You sense what needs to be done or what's about to happen. Your gut feelings nearly always prove to be correct. Learning to trust your intuition is so important for an empath.
8. Always looking out for others:
Anyone whose suffering, in need of a lift, in emotional pain, or being bullied in any form draws an empath's attention and compassion almost immediately, they simply can't help themselves when they see or feel someone in need.
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. Empaths need to learn to not take on board other people's problems as if they are their own.
10. The need for solitude:
An empath will get aggravated if they don't get their quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children. Empaths need that space to bring balance to themselves and to just be in their own energy and vibration for a change, this gives the empath time to recharge their batteries. This is vital to an empaths survival, as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
11. Empaths can feel what day of the week it is:
It May sound funny, but empaths almost feel what day of the week it is without knowing. Each day has a specific "feel" to it.
12. Finds routine, rules or control claustrophobic:
An empath will fight against it. Anything that takes away an empath's sense of freedom is extremely debilitating and can even have a poisoning effect on the moods of the imprisoned empath. They don't like to be bound to other people's rules and timetables.
13. Empaths are always looking for the answers and the knowledge to back it up:
To an empath having unanswered questions can be frustrating. Empaths need to have proof to back things up. The downside to this is an information overload and the possibility of endless hours of research if to do nothing else but to find peace of mind.
14. An empath always strives for the truth:
When an empath discovers and becomes more prevalent with his/her gifts and birthright anything untruthful feels plain wrong. If they feel someone has been wronged they will fight to have the truth brought to light.
If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath. You should try some meditation or just find some quiet time for yourself every day. Empaths find great healing from water and being out in nature, it brings us peace, so try and get some outside time every day if possible.