6 Key Traits of an Empath

Written May 7, 2021,

By: Kathy Best, Intuitive Living Expert, Certified Nutritional Specialist

The term empath has been used for many years in metaphysical circles and the people who use it have a general idea of its meaning. As an empath and someone who has been on a journey of discovery, acceptance, and development, I found myself at somewhat of a loss to truly harness or improve my empathic abilities. I was recently gifted a book called, The Evolutionary Empath, by Stephanie Red Feather, Ph.D. which has given me more clarity, appreciation, and insight for who and what I am and how I can better manage my energy, power, and potential. It also initiated a strong urge to shed more light on this label, so this blog post is based on this book and my own experiences and understandings about being an empath.

Being an empath all of my life has been challenging to say the least. It can feel like a chronic illness, the darkest despair, or like the world is conspiring to bring you one s*** storm after another if you don’t know what you are and how to handle it. Looking back I can see how I made erroneous assumptions and jumped to false conclusions based on other people’s beliefs and judgements that really limited me and wounded my self-esteem. But if not for all of the struggles, challenges, and painful experiences I would not be the person I am today. It has taken too long, but I have come to love and appreciate that person, all of her faults, wounds, pain points, sensitivities, talents, gifts, skills, abilities and her deep desire to continue to grow, change, evolve, be of service, and become the best version of herself that she can imagine and strive to become. When you understand and embrace your truth and the light of your being there are far more benefits than deficits.

As mother Earth and the collective humanity are rapidly evolving into their fifth dimensional blueprint I wanted to do my part to help anchor the energy of the empath into the new consciousness of life being birthed during this decade. The creative capacities of all humanity are being amplified by the influx of cosmic energies bathing the planet since the beginning of 2020. The collective is becoming more conscious and more aware that our emotions and our words have the power to bring forth our strongest intentions into existence. Naming and defining something gifts it life and form. My desire is to help empaths deeply understand and claim their intrinsic nature and their vast power.

Before I establish what in empath truly is I’d like to briefly discuss what an empath is not. My hope is that by first clarifying what an empath is not I can help eliminate confusion and misunderstandings and set a clearer foundation to identify and define the true nature of an empath. An empath is not someone who has a strong sense of empathy for others. Every person on this planet has the capacity to empathize with others. It is an ability that can and should be developed. Empathy is sorely lacking in our world right now and would bring about more good than we can imagine if it was valued, appreciated, and nurtured. Empaths are not just overly sensitive or people who feel too much. Feelings are temporary and changing. Being an empath is not a skill you study and learn, although you can develop, cultivate, and refine it. It’s not a psychological, emotional, or energetic state that can be accessed on demand. Being an empath is not a gimmick or an illness although it has been labeled as such and can often feel like an illness when we don’t recognize it for what it is. Being an empath is not some “woo, woo” garbage, or a curse from Satan. Being an empath is not something you can turn on and off. You either are or you are not born an empath.

Being an empath is not easily defined, because there are so many aspects, intricacies and exceptions that cannot be intellectualized.  It is a state of being that is constant and undeniable. People from all ethnicities, religions, and beliefs can be and are empaths. You can try to deny it and suppress it, but you cannot change it or remove it. It is a vast part of who you are and it is also an extremely important and valuable gift. Being highly sensitive is a major element of the empath experience, but it is not the totality of it. Many empaths are drawn to pursue artistic endeavors, healing arts, or service oriented careers. It’s ultimately a soul choice that was made prior to incarnating on Earth. Whether you remember it or not, agree with it or not, it’s part of your mission or purpose in this lifetime. Empaths are here to help ground and anchor the heart-centered consciousness that will become the new normal for humanity. Below is a list of six traits that represent the foundation of an empath, but in no way encompass the totality of an empath.

Six Distinctive Empath Traits

  1. A significantly open energy field – which enables merging with and absorbing the energy from anything with a life force.
  2. An immensely open heart – which promotes compassion, forgiveness, generosity, and a strong desire to give more than is sustainable.
  3. An innate ability to perceive or retrieve information from any energy field – which facilitates accessing alternate dimensions, deep states of consciousness, and reading others’ motives or authenticity.
  4. A extremely sensitive nervous system – which incites overstimulation, overwhelm, and anxiety
  5. A desire to serve – which inspires careers in healthcare, social work, energy work, metaphysical studies, spiritual pursuits, environmental endeavors, animal protection, human rights, or any other field that engenders service to others.
  6. An intense desire for peace and harmony – which compels seeking out people, places, and environments that support and nurture our physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual bodies.

Here is a list of indications, aspects, and behaviors that are associated with being an empath. This list is in no way exhaustive and not all empaths have or experience all or even most of these. There are many others that aren’t listed here that could pertain to your specific experience, so don’t jump to conclusions if you don’t resonate with many of these statements. It’s really a matter of checking in with your internal compass and your body wisdom, (Learn how to connect with your body wisdom here.), when it comes to determining the validity of your identity.

  • Difficulty setting and maintaining boundaries
  • Codependent relationships
  • Losing autonomy in relationships
  • Taking on other’s habits, behaviors, and emotions in relationships
  • Difficulty saying no to anyone or anything
  • Trouble standing up for oneself
  • Challenging to maintain consistency
  • Feeling responsible for other’s emotions or happiness
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Strong desire to solve other’s problems
  • Struggle to love and accept oneself
  • Overpowering need for external validation
  • Mistaking other’s emotions for our own
  • Highly intuitive, but lack confidence or trust in oneself
  • Very moody or emotional, often labeled as overly dramatic, high strung, depressed, or bipolar
  • Dive into relationships too quickly and too deeply
  • Struggle with addictive personality and behaviors
  • Easily overwhelmed by noise, difficulties, information, choices, crowds, and emotions
  • Feeling like a misfit, detached from reality, aloof, or socially awkward
  • Extremely sensitive to drugs, alcohol, medications, and body/mind altering substances
  • Extreme reactions to drama, violence, harsh situations, chaos, and tragedy – real or fiction
  • Overstimulated by large crowds and public places, often feeling anxious, irritable, or exhausted
  • Very sensitive to smells, sounds, tastes, textures, colors, images
  • Make excellent therapists, healers, counselors, life coaches, nurses, clergy, medium
  • Extreme difficulty dealing with animal or human cruelty, violence, suffering
  • Taking on other’s trauma or injuries physically, emotionally and energetically
  • Easily distracted due to constant overstimulation and often labeled ADD or ADHD
  • Difficulty relaxing or being oneself around others, coming across as antisocial
  • Revitalized by nature and solitude
  • Running the gamut of emotions, often
  • Space out, daydream, or excessive sleeping to escape intensity or overwhelm
  • Require time alone or downtime after social events
  • Need regular time alone to decompress and recharge
  • Labeled as quiet, introverted, unstable, fragile, or loner due to our need for solitude and peace
  • Often experience paranormal or psychic events beginning in childhood
  • Uncanny ability to know something without knowing how
  • Sense trouble or conflict with loved ones regardless of physical distance
  • Strong ability to detect deception or insincerity
  • Animal lovers and can tune into needs, feelings or communicate with them
  • Can communicate with and feel the energy of anything with a life force – rocks, trees, plants, angels, elementals, water, earth, wind, fire, fish, worms, spiders, bees, etc.
  • Do not like confrontation, tend to shut down under intense interactions
  • Hypersensitive to the energy in our environment – furniture, color, smells, temperature, light
  • Beautifying our space and oneself is a form of harmony – decorating, dressing, arranging
  • Creative expression is a necessity – art, music, dance, crafts, writing, singing, design
  • Thrive in cooperative environments and shrink from competition
  • Often place other’s needs ahead of our own
  • Neglecting and devaluing our needs and oneself
  • Attract energy vampires, abusers, manipulators, narcissists, and bullies
  • Strong focus on other’s needs can lead to over-sacrificing, self-denial, and martyrdom
  • Uncomfortable being the center of attention, receiving compliments, being appreciated

Being an empath can feel like a burden and a punishment, when we don’t understand what’s going on, why we are the way we are, or have the wisdom and tools to manage and cultivate it. When we finally recognize, accept, and embrace our unique, exquisiteness it becomes the treasure and the gift it was meant to be. When we become conscious and aware of our tendencies, our needs, and our challenges we can create self-care routines, set boundaries, and standards that protect, enrich, and empower us to be the light of love, compassion, and connection we were sent her.  To find out more and discover some tools read my article, Are you Empathic? 10 Signs and Life Saving Tools. For more information on the power of our words and emotions read this article: The Creative Power of our Words and Emotions.

With deepest gratitude and love,

Kathy Best

Kathy Best is an Intuitive Living Expert, Certified Nutritional Specialist, and Spiritual Growth Coach. She left a 16 year career in accounting to pursue her passion in nutrition, wellness, and spiritual development. With over 17 years of research, study, and experience, Kathy works with men and women who know there must be more to life than what they’ve been led to believe and are ready to open their minds and hearts to new ways of doing life and of being happy, healthy, and successful. She combines her experience and knowledge in nutritional therapy, spiritual development, energy work, and intuitive & angelic guidance into individualized programs that help her clients reclaim their body, mind, spirit balance, develop their innate gifts, and tap into their unique genius so they can redefine themselves and recreate their lives into the happy, vibrant, fulfilling masterpieces they were meant to be.

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