How To Explain That You’re An Empath To Someone Who Isn’t

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woman explaining that she is an empath

Are you an empath, a highly sensitive person (HSP), or both? When I tell people that I'm an empath, I'm often asked what that means.

If you're an empath, you have to learn how to explain what an empath is in a way non-empaths can understand.

By no means am I advocating explaining empaths or empathic superpowers to everyone. Instead, pick the people who are willing to listen and want to learn about you. Make sure you're selective of who you are sharing your truth.

RELATED: If You Have These 30 Traits, Consider Yourself An Empath

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) versus empaths.

Explaining what an empath is without discussing sensitivity is not possible. Empaths are also highly sensitive people.

So, if you're an empath, you're highly sensitive. But if you're an HSP, that doesn’t necessarily mean you're an empath.

HSPs' nervous systems are heightened, which means their senses are enhanced. The impact of this is that they can be overwhelmed by simply living in the world.

What are the characteristics of an empath?

In order to explain being an empath, you must first be clear about what an empath is.

According to Dr. Judith Orloff, there are several characteristics of being an empath, and there are also different types of empaths.

The general characteristics of an empath:

  • You can feel others' emotions.
  • Introversion is the dominant trait among empaths.
  • Empaths have a strong sense of intuition.
  • Alone time to recharge is vital for your well-being.
  • You can absorb and take on others' emotions.
  • Relationships can be extra challenging.
  • You can attract energy vampires.

You may not share all of these characteristics, but you can choose the ones that feel right.

Learning about yourself and embracing your strengths is an essential step if you're not sure who you are or what your strengths are. You can start by spending more time getting to know who you are and understanding what you need.

How you show up to the conversation and who you choose to share this information with all depends on how you feel. You have the ability to shift the energy in the conversation or allow others to shift you.

Before you begin to explain what an empath is, you must embrace it about yourself, first.

You don’t have to explain being an empath to everyone.

Not all non-empaths need to understand you. Ask yourself, "Is this person worthy of knowing me, my truth, and my empathic strength?"

But there are some questions to ponder: "Is this person really interested in getting to know me?"

Use your intuition to guide you if you're unsure.

Ask yourself, "Does it truly matter if this person understands me?"

If your answer is "no" to these questions, just let go of the need to explain yourself.

On the other hand, if this person is important to you and they really want to get to know you, the best way to start is by saying to them, "I am an empath. Do you know what that is?”

You can usually gauge by their answer if they are open to learning more. Their words, facial expressions, or even their energetic reaction will tell you a lot.

Next, pick a couple of the traits listed above. Tell them that because you're an empath, you can feel things deeply and can often feel and absorb others’ emotions.

So, you tend to need more time alone and usually are tired after large gatherings or parties.

Then, stop and wait to sense their reaction. If they don’t want to hear more or are not open, you'll be able to tell — this is one of your superpowers!

If they want to know more, keep the conversation going and answer any questions they may have.

RELATED: What It Means To Be An Empath — And How To Balance Your Energy

Be OK with their reaction.

You can only control what you say and do — you cannot control others. Even if you're intuitive and use your empathic abilities to sense what a person is feeling when you're in a conversation, you can’t control their reaction.

Understand that even though a person may be fascinated by you, they may not want to accept your explanation. Some individuals just might not or want to understand.

Know that the people that are meant to be in your life will be in your life. Those that are meant to stick around will stick around!

Although it may be difficult to accept, not everyone will like us. Be clear that you don’t need approval from others for who you are.

If you're explaining being an empath to gain approval, stop! Go back to learning about yourself, loving yourself, and embracing who you are.

Tell a story of how your empathic abilities have shown up in your life. 

On the other hand, if the person wants to understand but still doesn't based on your explanation, a personal story can help. You can think if a time when it helped you make a decision or supported you in your relationships.

Another option is to explain how you use your abilities in your work. As an empath, you are well-suited to work in occupations where you interact with people in small numbers.

Using stories can help non-empaths understand you as an empath.

Although there are key elements on how to explain being an empath, the approach you use is unique to you.

There are different types of empaths, although there are some key traits we share.

Not everyone is interested in learning about you and will not always be open to what you share. Everyone is entitled to be who they are.

Use your own stories — people tend to learn from stories.

So, know yourself first and feel good about your empathic abilities before you share this information with others.

You don’t need approval from others for who you are!

RELATED: Are Empaths Ever Happy? How To Find Happiness Despite All Those Emotions

Kavita Melwani is a certified empowerment coach, hypnotherapist, past-life regressionist, certified money marketing and soul coach, and a Reiki master. To schedule a clarity session, visit her website.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.