And that's pretty amazing!
Not sure what that is? My definition of an empath is this: "Someone who can feel, inside their body, the emotional energies of other people, animals, spirits, plants, and objects, even those at a distance or in another time."
If that sounds just a wee bit too woo-woo, and you're not sure if it's you or not, here are 16 "odd" behaviors that usually indicate that you're an empath:
1. You’re a walking antenna for other people's emotions.
As an empath, you have a keen emotional radar, literally tuning into and feeling others’ emotional heart energies very intensely. Your 'feeling' sense is far more developed than most people’s (you might even possess the gift of clairsentient psychic ability).
This kind of empathy is a feeling distinct from just seeing other people's perspective or feeling compassion for people, which is the mental sense of understanding another's feelings. Empaths sense and relate to other people's energy and emotions at a much more intense level. Not surprisingly, because they feel others’ emotions so intensely, they tend to have healthier relationships and more pro-social values than other people.
2. You know in an instant whether the vibe in a crowded room is positive or negative.
Has this happened to you? You walk into the room at a party or networking event, and you immediately feel (not think or rationalize; actually feel) the energy of the group, whether it's positive or negative. If you sense it as positive, you likely join in with the socializing. If you sense it as negative, you may just decide to leave.
3. You get sudden strong instincts to cross the street.
A ball of fiery heat hits your back, around the level of your heart, like someone threw it there on target. You suddenly wonder if someone was killed at that spot along the sidewalk recently. But you don’t care to stick around to find out.
4. You're sensitive to feeling spirits.
You sense pockets of hot or cold emotionally-charged air in empty rooms. Maybe you feel ghosts or dis-incarnate entities that a clairvoyant psychic can see. If it makes you feel better, even MIT physicist Claude Swanson has documented the science behind your paranormal experiences.
5. You won’t buy a new home unless the house 'feels right' to you.
You feel the anger and chaotic energy of the people who used to argue, or even died, in that home, so you’re not about to buy it, no matter how perfect it otherwise appears. You’ll wait for the happy hippy yoga teacher down the block to put her home on the market.
6. You can feel graveyards nearby.
Even ancient ones long covered over. Or, a place where some horrible massacre has taken place, even centuries before. You feel the trauma energy as if it is present. How is this possible? Well, quantum physicists are now documenting how we can immediately feel impacted by energy that is non-local, meaning at a distance, not only in space but also in time!
7. You’re a tree hugger.
Nature has a pull on you. You feel emotion within a rock, tree, river or landscape. You gravitate toward particular ones which catch your attention, and can stay all day leaning up against that oak tree or quartz rock which feels so emotionally soothing to you. It’s as if Mother Nature invites you to leave your stress with her, and gives you back your sense of wholeness.
(By the way, you really aren’t crazy. Experiments have shown that plants let out a "scream" of terror when they feel they or another being are about to be harmed. One of my favorites is the one showing how a plant screamed when researchers dropped live shrimp into boiling water. Aaahhh!)
8. Politically, you’re considered 'a liberal.'
Being an empath, it seems clear why you might advocate for environmental causes, and social justice or equal opportunity more than others. You can’t simply ignore the pain of the social global collective, or rationalize it away from getting your heart-felt attention.
9. You can feel the emotional energy in a pillow.
Yes, I'm serious — even a pillow. All things hold the emotional energy of those who long-held that object, so you’ll feel the emotion within your spouse’s pillow, mother’s necklace, grandfather’s reading lamp. (One person I know can feel the difference in energy even between the base of the lamp or the lamp shade.)
Being an empath is likely one reason why, when our loved ones pass on, we sleep on their side of the bed, wear their old T-shirts, and have trouble throwing away their old reading glasses. We still feel them in those objects.
10. Eating meat throws you off.
You can feel the pain of the animals in the way they died. If they were happy until the moment they die, you taste a positive difference in the meat. But for you, you may decide that it’s easier on your heart (emotionally as well as physically) to simply go vegan.
11. You cry during commercials.
Of course you cry easily at movies, because you feel the emotional pain of the good actors in character. But even a 30-second commercial can leave you in tears. The thing with an empath is, as soon as someone else emits emotion (even an actor), you're filled with that same emotion. As the tears are welling up in them, they're simultaneously welling up in you, too.
But note: Someone who cries because they identify with the character in some way is not the same reaction as what's felt within an empath. When I’m with a client, I can feel the emotion behind their tears before I can even see any tears. As I do, my eyes water up at exactly the same time as my client’s eyes. Not after or in reaction to theirs. It's a subtle but important difference. Empaths are emotionally intuitive.
12. You sometimes feel irritable, anxious, depressed, or angry without a clear reason.
Or, you seem to experience panic out of the blue. But it doesn’t feel like it relates to your life, or at least it feels vastly disproportionate, which leaves you feeling confused.
What you don’t realize is that your radar is so good at tuning into others’ energies that you feel the collective energy of people all around the world. You may even get a strong feeling that something bad is about to happen, a day or two before a plane crash or a terrorist attack like in New York on 9/11.
13. You’re often told that you're just 'too sensitive.'
Or, possibly you've been told that you're a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). You're probably both. While an empath is sensitive to emotional energies, a Highly Sensitive Person is sensitive to many types of energies, and does react emotionally to being over-stimulated.
14. You’re a total introvert.
People confuse being an introvert with feeling shy or socially anxious. The Swiss psychotherapist, Carl Jung, defined an introvert as someone who gets their energy internally, from within. On the other hand, he defined extroverts as those who energize or get their energy externally from others.
I see introverts as evolved and aware people who attune to and draw their energy from their subtle energy self (that some call the soul or higher self) and which most others have yet to tangibly experience.
When they learn to balance their energy system, introverts can still be outgoing, warm, fun and highly social, particularly when surrounded by other people with similar energy. They tend to avoid the party (or leave early) when energy turns dramatic or negative.
15. You need more 'alone time' than most people.
Picking up others’ emotional energies, like a sponge, drains you. You feel like others actually suck the energy out of you. You just want to get away and be by yourself to reset your energy field and gain your sense of balance back. Solo time also helps you feel inspired and creative.
16. You are quirky and creative.
Maybe even a prodigy. Having a keen energy antenna not only leads you toward being an empath, but usually a cultural creative, as well. Whether painter, musician, mathematician, inventor, or social revolutionary, you feel inspiration pour in from beyond, and move you to do "weird" things that move society forward. Things that "normal" people don’t currently understand, and that seem to go against the grain.
If you find you resonate with many of the "odd" things on this list, then you probably are an empath.
If so, take that as a great thing, a gifted and creative way of being. And know that there are many skills you can learn to balance out your energy radar system and not feel so overwhelmed.
Want help understanding your empath nature? Visit ValerieVaran.com to learn more, buy her new book, "Living in a Quantum Reality: Using Quantum Physics and Psychology to Embrace Your Higher Consciousness," or or follow Valerie Varan LPC on Facebook.