I felt a strong pull to write this after seeing numerous articles, and quick quizzes circulating the internet that briefly list a few traits or ask a few questions before determining whether someone is in fact an empath or not.
Unfortunately it appears that a lot of these articles have been written by people who are either not empaths or they do not fully understand exactly what an empath is.
Frequently, empaths are being perceived and labeled all wrong, and it is not only becoming confusing for people to know if they are an empath or not, it is also disempowering and misleading as many of the words used do not accurately describe empaths. Instead they make empaths sound like they are barely capable of surviving as their high sensitivities prevent them from functioning in the world.
There seems to be mass confusion between whether someone is highly sensitive, easily overwhelmed, highly anxious, or whether they are an actual empath.
I have interacted with thousands of empaths and carried out in-depth research into the characteristics and traits of empaths, and, without any shadow of doubt, empaths have the strongest of characters, are extremely resilient, courageous, and brave warriors with backbones and nerves made of steel.
So it can become infuriating to see, time after time, empaths described as the complete opposite.
It may be tempting for some people to take a quiz and think that after answering 10-20 questions they will receive confirmation of their level of empath-ness, but there is one thing I could not be surer of:
If you are an empath, you will know it with every fiber of your being, and at some level you will always have known. No person or quiz will ever be required to reaffirm that inner knowing.
The descriptions that regularly define empaths read as though empaths are incapable of leaving their homes without placing numerous layers of protection around their energy-field to guard them from anything that might feel slightly harsh.
While it is true that many empaths are introverted and enjoy their alone time and use it as a means to recharge themselves, it is also true that empaths are constantly bombarded with energy emanating from everything that exists on Earth.
Empaths can feel the vibrations of life, and they are aware of oneness and know they are intricately connected to everything in the universe at all times. Therefore, this makes empaths incredibly tough creatures, not brittle, wishy-washy ones, whether they are alone or whether they are surrounded by thousands of people.
Empaths are continuously absorbing and processing energy. To do this and carry on with an open heart and mind is most definitely not for the weak-minded or hearted!
In a lot of information that is readily available, I rarely see mentioned the vital components that are definitive and inherent within every empath.
The most important descriptor often missed is that empaths have the natural ability to absorb energy and then read and understand it as clear as though they are reading a book.
Another essential—and often forgotten—element that defines empaths is their power to transmute negative energy and turn it positive without even being aware that they are doing it. Empaths are filters for energy. They consume the low-vibrational energy surrounding them and neutralize it so that the energy that emanates from them vibrates on a much higher frequency.
In many ways, empaths are like a human eco-system, as they go about their day inhaling toxic, murky, volatile vibrations and then exhale a calmer, clearer, and purer energy.
Aggressive, volatile, or traumatic conflicts can linger in an empath’s energy field for hours or days following turbulent event, and it can become emotionally and physically crippling for empaths at times. However, they do not wallow in it and hold onto that energy. They internalize, dissect, and discern it to look for the whys, whats, wheres, whens, hows, and whos, so they can reach the root of the conflict, transmute, and permanently dissolve any negative energy attached to it.
Empaths are often described as being porous, similar to a sponge as they ingest both mild and extreme emotions even though it can negatively alter and affect their own emotional and energetic state. They do this selflessly and relentlessly, as they are healers and know it is part of a deeper, collective purpose and why they are here on this planet at this exact time.
Some people appear to think empaths are purely just highly sensitive or overly emotional creatures, and although that may be part of it for some, it doesn’t even come close to explaining an empath’s overall existence and eclectic personality.
Empaths are powerful, not weak. Anyone describing empaths as snowflakes, or those who forget to mention an empath’s intuitive, telepathic, compassionate, extra-sensory super powers are in for a shock, as empaths are connecting from every corner of the world.
If empaths are snowflakes, beware—winter is coming.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Flickr/Wesley Eller
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina